You’ve bought the expensive video camera; you have your interview subject, now what comes next? The location appears to have good lighting, so does that mean you don’t need any extra lighting?
Lighting brings productions to a more professional looking level, so it’s definitely necessary if you are shooting an interview. Without using artificial lighting, your interview could look very poorly done (even though it was shot on an expensive video camera). So why waste hours of shooting time when you can hardly make out the outline of your subject’s face?
When it comes to lighting, Three Point Lighting is one of the basics. It’s the easiest to set up, and doesn’t take that much time and sweat.
As you might have guessed, there are three lights being used. Now the lights can be the same wattage and bulb size, what actually makes them differ is the position you place them in during the interview. Don’t try turning all three lights on at the same moment. You should turn them on one by one, starting with the Key Light.
- The Key light is the dominant light source, as it illuminates the subject. It should be placed at about a 45-degree angle above and to either the right or left of the subject’s face. You will soon notice that shadows appear on your subject’s nose and neck giving them a three-dimensional look. Don’t worry this is actually a good thing, this means you have set up the Key light properly. Now it’s the job of the second light to fix that problem.
- The Fill Lights’ job is to fill in the shadows created by the Key Light. The Fill Light is placed on the opposite side of the Key Light. The Fill Light should be on a similar level to the subject/camera. You may have to play a little with the fill light as in where it should be positioned exactly, as it is the direct reaction to the key light. The fill light should be about two or three stops dimmer than the key. You can achieve this by either moving back the light or by using a diffuser.
- Last but definitely not least is the Backlight. And as its name suggests, it is positioned in the background –aimed towards the back of the subject (head and shoulders). It’s the final light that completes the whole set up. Its main job is to separate the subject from the background. It produces a sense of distance between the subject and the background, giving it a sort of third dimensional look on screen. And if you have a nice background to work with, you can also aim the back light at that. The back light should be at least as bright as the Key Light and in some situations often brighter.
When all three lights are properly put together, you will have a very natural three dimensional looking shot. And if used properly you could look like you have shot like a pro (even if you aren’t one yet).
KEY Points on 3 Point Lighting