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how lighting affects both still and moving images to create a particular mood or send a specific message successfully


Lighting is an essential element in production. Proper lighting has some advantages and functions that this essay will seek to explore. Other than the uses of lighting in media production, this essay will seek to establish the relationship between proper lighting and some genres in the film production industry. It will establish how lighting affects both still and moving images to create a particular mood or send a specific message successfully.

The film production industry has seen a lot of changes in lighting, with technology offering major improvements. Both photography and cinematography heavily rely on lighting to bring about the best. Proper lighting tells a story very well the different modes such as low-key and high-key lighting and the contrasts are well combined to evoke a certain feeling in the viewer. When properly combined, it meets its objective. Other than other elements of film production such as sound editing, and storyboarding, lighting is an essential skill for every filmmaker. Without the necessary skills in lighting, a filmmaker will not be able to tell the story.

The iron of the filmmaking industry is that there is a decline in the excess use of light. This is because most producers want to tell the story in the most realistic way possible. Due to this, they tend to ensure they use minimal artificial light to give room for natural light to make the story as real as possible. Other than this, there are reports of actors developing eye complications when excess light is used. This necessitated the need to reduce the amount of lighting used during film shooting to avoid straining the actors’ eyesight and causing migraines while they are on set. Digital cinematography is solving this problem because it allows the filmmakers to achieve a lot of the lighting effects after shooting through editing, without necessarily having to do it on set.

Functional Purpose of Lighting

There are several functions of lighting, and it is an indispensable part of filmmaking. As mentioned before, lighting helps to evoke emotions in the audience; it is used to create suspense and curiosity in the film. When lighting is appropriately used to hide a character in a film, it creates anxiety in the audience, and they become so glued to the film that they can get the whole story. Proper use of lighting makes the audience so engrossed in the film that they feel like part of the characters’ lives. This is one of the purposes of lighting: to get the audience involved in the story and evoke emotion.

Lighting is also used to promote realism. When light is appropriately incorporated into the film, it makes the film seem so real and thus makes it relatable and exciting to the audience. This is why filmmakers are currently minimizing the use of excess light to allow natural light to tell the story in the most realistic way possible. However, this doesn’t mean the use of lighting is going to decline to non-existent. This is because no matter how developed and technical the filming equipment is, it cannot replace the marvelous job done by lighting. Lighting brings life to the images and scenes. It makes the scene so beautiful and aesthetic that the audience is drawn to want more that can be provided by the film.

In Peter Lenkov’s Hawaii Five-o, light is appropriately used to illustrate the joy and romance in Kono Kalakaua’s wedding. Despite the fact that they may be in imminent danger, the producer ensures the viewer remains hopeful by keeping the scene well-lit. The light shines on everyone attending the wedding bringing with it a touch of the authenticity of a film; it highlights the beauty, perspective, and orientation of the location and the characters. Proper lighting is the catch behind this scene. It created the mood and controlled the story better than any other cinematographic elements.

Several types of lighting are used in film production. This essay will discuss a few of them, especially in the specific genres they are commonly used. Most of the lighting in film production is artificial. Artificial lighting is light that is not natural, i.e. the sun, the moon, the stars. It is human-made light for example from light bulbs, floodlights, torches, flashlights, etc. Some production sites do not have access to natural light hence the need to enlist the use of artificial light. Studios, rooms, etc. need to be well-lit, for films to be successful. Using artificial light involves some items that work together to provide just the required amount of light for the scene.

As discussed, the purpose of lighting is not only to create a clear image but also to create more. One of the significant uses of lighting in film production is to modify the ambiance of the scene and ensure the main character is well lit making flattering and more beautiful images of themselves compared to when the shoot is not modified. The character will always look different on set depending on the lighting; this is makeup and other factors notwithstanding. There are various camera angles that when combined with proper lighting will give a perfect shot at the character. These include; eye level, high angle, and low angle.

Eye Level

This angle is mostly used in comedies where the drama needs to be enhanced. This is mainly used in corporate video production, and it offers the most flattering enhancements compared to any other angle. With every single day of experience, the lighting skills of filmmakers increase such that it becomes an instinct. Based on the location and the needs of the shoot, they can make a sound judgment on which technique to use. If one wants to enhance the performance of their crew, they ought to ensure their lighting is perfect. Eye-level angles are great when capturing intimate conversations where the viewer needs to be compelled to be part of the conversation to follow the story. Adam Sztykiel’s “Undateable” is a clear epitome of proper lighting in comedy. The lead character Danny accompanies a lot of his humor with facial expressions, this is common in comedy and for the audience to follow, and eye-level angles enhance this by capturing both the words and the facial expression, making it even more comic.

High Angle

Proper eye-level angles give a shot an aesthetic touch that is wild and mind-blowing. It makes a scene genuine and involving. To achieve this, the filmmaker needs to ensure the camera is at a slightly elevated level. They shoot the scene from above this. This angle is great because is prone to less distraction and the effects of lighting. It also allows for an all-around complete shot of the scene to be taken, capturing and covering an extensive and detailed section of the surroundings. However, this angle is believed to bring out more of the weakness in the character. It has the magical effect of stripping the character of their power. Peter Lenkov’s Hawaii Five-O utilizes this angle very much. It gives the viewer the opportunity to view the beautiful scenery of the location in which the series is shot. This technique draws the viewer so much into the film as the beauty of the island is unimaginable and when captured at a high level makes the whole series addictive.

Low Angle

Just like the name, a low camera angle is basically when the camera is placed at a lower level than the character being filmed. This angle yields opposite results from the high-level shots. It elevates the characters and makes them appear large and pronounced. It gives the character power and dominance. It is essential when the filmmaker wants to illustrate aggression and dominance. It merely brings that out.

The best combination of high, low, and eye-level angles of cameras is seen in Courtney Kemp’s Power. This scene is in a building where Angela has just been named the head of the criminal defense in New York City. She happens to be at the same party with a man who she has a weakness for. To show triumph over her deep affection for the man and now she is in control of her feelings, she is placed at a higher angle and the man at a lower angle. These angles give Angela tremendous power while the lighting gives the viewer a chance to see through the character’s souls, with both of them seeming unsure of what the future holds for both them after being honored on this occasion.

Out of the above camera angles discussed, eye level is the best when it comes to utilizing light and gives the best flattering images in film production. Eye-level extensively utilizes directional and diffused lighting to ensure there are crisp edge-perfect images well shot. Most filmmakers use this to enhance the beauty of the actors further and make their faces more pronounced and illuminated. Proper lighting in both indoor and outdoor scenes creates a perfect shot when the filmmaker is experienced and knows how to handle different contrasts.

Lighting is also used to illustrate scenes in the background. For example, when shooting a scene in a crowded and not-so-well-lit scenario, e.g. in a nightclub, or dimly lit streets. The lighting encompasses a lot of shadowing to make the viewer even keener on what is happening. The shadows cast and the minimized light allows the viewer to get into the shoes of the lead character in the scene. This way, they can view the environment through the eyes of the main character in the scene. This makes that particular point in the movie critical and personal for the viewers as they try to keep up and also try to avoid being carried away by the film.

In as much as the use of light and shadows makes the film as realistic as possible, they are two of the most addictive elements of film production. When using them, the filmmaker is at risk of being carried away with the many effects it has to offer hence overusing them or failing to strike a functional and purposeful balance for their use. This is one of the problems encountered by filmmakers, especially those who are least experienced. It is essential to ensure the use of shadows and special lighting is crucial and necessary in the particular scene. This is to avoid overcasting the two on the object hence failing to match the action and the script. It is too subtle and well-balanced. If it doesn’t make sense in the scene or doesn’t make the location make sense then avoid it. These two always blend when less of each is applied in the filmmaking process. A lot of it dilutes the scene. The best illustration is in Peter Lenkov’s Hawaii Five 0 where the elite task force is tracking down a ritualist through a recorded packed Halloween party video. The filmmaker allows the audience to figure out who the potential victim is while letting the ritualist killer remain a mystery. This increases the viewer’s curiosity to know who it is and they are compelled to comb through the light and shadows in a bid to find clues.

When working with lights and shadows, one needs to ensure one can determine all the sources of their lighting. This way, they can choose how to control the landing and the effects of the shadows. After determining the origin of the light, they need to determine which position the source of light cast lighter on the object hence more shadow. However, this only applies to artificial light because it can be controlled. When using natural light it is impossible to adjust the source of light to achieve the intended focus. This means either the position of the character being filmed is adjusted, or artificial light is utilized instead.

The filmmaker ought to understand how to deal with the various types of shadows and whether they are necessary or not. There are two types of shadows namely; cast shadow and core shadow. Core shadows are very dark. Core shadows are mainly because the object being filmed completely blocks the light. Then there is the cast shadow. This occurs due to partial blockage of light by the object being shot. A cast shadow is usually cast in the same direction where the source of light is illuminating. Shadows can deal with using color to create the required illusion. Color does a perfect job illustrating the exact intended message by the filmmaker. Other than color, the filmmaker can choose to achieve the best results by the use of gradient. This is also one of the most effective ways of dealing with shadows. It is used to create some variations in the depth of the darkness being cast by the shadow. These various elements add a scenic touch to the shot and make it so real, giving life to the film. Gradient allows for different shades of darkness to be manipulated.

Lighting is also used in various ways to highlight products in advertising. Making advertisements requires proper mastery of lighting techniques to come up with an advertisement that will serve its marketing and commercial purposes. For an advertisement to sell the product, it has to be well made, not just from the editing but also from the first stage, which is filming. As much as most advertisements last just for a few minutes, they take so much time to film to ensure the video is well shot. Lighting is one of the most important parts of making a television commercial. It is all about perfection. The three-point lighting technique plays a significant role in ensuring the video shot is perfect. It involves the filming crew having to move the various sources of light from position to position to ensure the character being filmed is well-lit, and the light is focused correctly in the essential parts. One of the best television commercials that utilize lighting is done by Pepsi. This company ensures the energy its drink promises is displayed in the advertisement. Its commercials are always well lit full of light and energy that after viewing, the audience is usually thirsty for a bottle of Pepsi.

While shooting a commercial, every shot matters and the lighting is done from one shot to another without fail. This ensures the illumination creates the correct illusion needed to sell the message. To solve this and make the work of the film crew more comfortable, the filmmaker ought to rehearse how to set up their work before shooting, this way they can learn how to minimize the amount of work needed to make it work. Shooting a commercial requires making sure all objects are visible and attractive. It needs to capture the attention of the viewers effortlessly. This means a lot of artificial light since natural light alone cannot achieve this effect. It is ironic that to make a commercial or any shoot natural, a lot of artificial light needs to be used. It creates better contrasts and compliments the work of the video camera.

The contrast between advertising and any other film is essential because it assists in changing the mood according to the script. The video editing transitions may do a good job ensuring the video runs from shot to shot, and the storyboard too may do a good job ensuring the scenes flow with the script, but only lighting will bring in the mood. Proper lighting can fluctuate the mood of the viewer in a short time. This means the intended effect of a particular scene can only be met with appropriate lighting.

Artistic purposes of Lighting

Light has several artistic purposes in the filmmaking process. When talking about the artistic purposes of lighting, it is all about using light to bring out a symbolic meaning. This is all about utilizing the ability of light to express something. Whether it’s an emotion or just for beauty. For a film to be complete, there is a need to be creative and use light to enhance beauty and creativity.

There are different ways lighting can be used artistically. This section will give an in-depth exploration of each one of them and seek to explain why lighting for this purpose is not just to illuminate but also to illustrate. Lighting in this section is more of sending the message that it is to shade light. For art and illumination, there are three categories of lighting all under Three Point Lighting. Other than this, there is low-key, and high-key lighting will be discussed among other uses of light such as the use of shadow, the ‘Rembrandt’ effect, modeling of light, up light, and spotlighting.

Three Point Lighting

Three-point lighting is a form of artistic lighting where objects are illuminated very well from three different angles, in contrast to their environment. This is to give the viewer a better chance at understanding the environment in which their favorite character is in and the effect it has on their next move. This type of lighting is meant to ensure the viewer follows the film very well and they are not distracted. This includes ensuring an emotion comes out as it is supposed to. Lighting ought to bring out the right emotion when it is sad, and if the lighting is not well done, it may send an entirely different message like happiness. This may lead to the viewer failing to follow the film.

When the viewer is distracted by the different messages sent by the poor lighting which is different from proper lighting, they tend to get bored. This is because the confusion tends to breed boredom since the film will make less sense. Artistic lighting is thus meant to ensure the message and the mood match hence totally capturing the attention of the viewer. It is an art used to keep the viewer glued and enthusiastic about what is going to happen next. Three-point lighting mainly focuses on the character. It illuminates them and brings the drama out of them. It captures essential scenes such as conversations and ensures the viewer feels like they are part of the act.

There are three categories of Three-Point Lighting; Key Lighting, Fill Lighting, and Back Lighting. This section will discuss the three to give a better understanding of how they function and the effect they have on a scene and the character.

Key Lighting

Just like it’s called, its primary purpose is to bring out the main character in the particular scene. In this case, essential lighting is meant to ensure the main character in a scene is the main point of focus for the viewers. The principal character is illuminated in the best way possible to make their message paramount in the scene. It is mainly meant to prioritize the key actor in the particular scene more than anything else.

To achieve key lighting, the source of light is usually placed close to the camera and then directed to the character or object being filmed. This method of lighting allows the filmmaker to capture every emotion displayed by the character. They can capture every second of the action very well, and this is one of the reasons key lighting is critical in film production and shooting. Without key lighting, the viewers are likely to be left out of the conversation making it impossible to follow the story. Every emotion whether blank or extreme ought to be captured for the story to be told even without words. It is fundamental in ensuring that the story is told to the very best. In as much as key lighting is important, it is one of the lighting categories where the filmmakers have to be cautious about making sure they do not strain the actor’s eyes.

Fill Lighting

Fill lighting is also one of the important elements of lighting. It is still in the three-point lighting category. In as much as key lighting does a good job illuminating the scene and the actors, there are still some parts it doesn’t wholly illuminate. The purpose of fill lighting just like its name is to ensure the parts that were overlooked have been lit up. It is like filling up the blanks. The blanks, in this case, are the shadows that are formed in the course of the shooting due to errors and oversights in the lighting. Fill lighting lights up these shadows and ensures the character has been adequately lit according to the requirements of the directors and producers.

Fill lighting is usually categorized as a secondary lighting strategy since it works to complement what has already been done. Using fill lighting during film production requires one to have a unique set of lighting skills because it can either make or mess up the film. One needs to know just the right amount of light to shed onto an object. Interestingly, too much fill lighting is bound to create even more shadows rather than do away with the shadows which is the initial purpose. However, there are some ways fill lighting can be controlled to ensure it is just in the required amounts. First is the use of dimmers which assists in ensuring that the light is illuminated from fill lighting is not more than it is necessary. There are also other means of reducing the intensity of fill lighting such as the use of filters or neutral density gels. If the scene is in a flexible place, then moving away from the equipment for fill lighting from the character being filmed will efficiently reduce the effects of too much fill lighting.

Back Lighting

Its name gives away its purpose. Backlighting is lightly placed behind the character or object being filmed. Rear lighting is essential because there are times when the object being filmed becomes so much a part of the environment that when viewed, the viewer may not give it the attention it ought to. This necessitates backlighting because the issue originates from a lack of balance in contrast. With backlighting, the character being filmed is made to stand out through proper illumination.

The working mechanism of backlighting is to influence the movement of the cameras to facilitate the isolation of the character being filmed from the environment, which happens to be a distraction and to ensure that the character is the main focal point in the scene. Just like other three-point lighting techniques, backlighting can be too much at times, making it a distraction instead of eliminating it. Like fill lighting, dimmers, neutral density gels, and filters come in handy. Other than this, the camera angles and lighting sources can be changed to ensure the distribution of light is even. The essence of backlighting is to ensure the film is more dimensional and to enhance detail in the whole scene. It is imperative to enlist backlighting while filming.

Without backlighting, there is a significant chance that the film will be very dull and less dimensional. Other than that, there will be some dark shadows cast on the character, watering down the quality of the video. Backlighting ensures that every detail required to enhance the scene is captured and makes it appealing to view. Peter Lenkov in Hawaii Five 0 shows how backlighting can be essential in creating tension. He utilizes it when Detective Danny Williams and his partner overpower the men who protect the man who killed his brother. When he appears from the dark staircase, light is focused on one side, and a spotlight is focused on Marco Reyes. This brings tension as the viewer is trying to comb through the unlit sections to determine who is armed and is likely to kill the other between these two men.

Low-key Lighting

Low-key lighting is one of the most popular lighting techniques used in film production. Low-key lighting is used to bring out the drama by focusing light on the key characters, objects, and laces in the scene. This light is used to establish a relationship between the objects, the actors, and the environment. With low-key lighting, the viewer can relate to the environment of the scene and its relationship with the people in it. As its name suggests, low-key lighting is a lighting technique that involves the use of the least amount of light possible.

The shadows in low-key lighting are so prominent and can be seen. This kind of lighting is mostly used in situations such as when the character is in danger such as in a lone deserted alley in the middle of the night. Other than this, it can be used in a horror movie where the character is probably in a not-so-well-lit house, and the sound accompanied by poor lighting is used to make the scene so surreal that it makes the viewer feel what the character in the scene feels, afraid. The use of low-key lighting is mostly utilized when demonstrating sadness, somber moods, anger, despair, and such.

Even in still photography, low-key lighting is used when shooting photographs that are supposed to bring out a particular emotion. When images are duller and less light, the feeling of being lost or anxiety is evoked in the viewer. It makes them interested in knowing the story. The viewer tends to stare at such images long to understand them better. This is the same concept used when filmmakers are shooting scenes that need to capture the mind of the viewer completely.  Low-key lighting plays a huge role in controlling the mood of the viewer.

High-Key Lighting

Just like the name suggests it is all about the light.A  lot of light and more of it. With high-key lighting, a lot of white is used, and bright colors are enlisted in the whole filming process. This kind of lighting requires a lot of skill. This is because when overused or underused, it waters down the authenticity of the scene altogether. High-key lighting is mostly used in scenes such as flashbacks, where the filmmaker has to show there is a difference between the scenes to avoid confusing the viewer. Other than this, high-key lighting is used in scenes that are all about joy, hope, celebration, and positive emotions.

When filming scenes that require high-key lighting, the filmmaker ensures they avoid dark colors and middle-level tones. They ensure complete exposure and add an artistic touch with great balance to ensure even the viewer is celebrating with the characters. The dark colors are however not completely overlooked, but their use is minimized to avoid too much unnecessary overhyping of the scene. To achieve this type of lighting, the lighting technicians ensure they perfectly set up the cameras and the lighting equipment. High-key lighting uses the three-point lighting technique by placing the key light next to the camera and the fill light opposite the key light then the backlights are made to face the wall more than they illuminate the main character. This way, they can achieve a perfect high-key lighting setup. Other than having an ideal setup, the contrast ratio ought to be well set to ensure every essential detail of the scene is captured in the right way.   Slumdog Millionaire is the best illustration of high-key lighting. The romantic scenes when the two main characters meet are well-lit to illustrate the romance, the love, and the hope that the two have held on to for a long time. It brings out a sense of realism such that the scene grows onto the viewer. They become so engrossed that the audience celebrates with the characters.

Rembrandt Effect

The Rembrandt effect in filming is filming a scene while focusing light on one side of the object being filmed. It is best used in three-dimensional characters and is one of the best lighting effects in filming. This effect creates tension, builds up anxiety in the viewer, and makes them anticipate something mind-blowing. The Rembrandt effect is usually utilized in film genres such as horror movies because they involve a lot of surprises and in most cases in a bad way. To achieve this, a reflector is used to shade a lot of light on one side of the character being filmed which means a dark shadow will be cast on the other side. The setup for a Rembrandt effect is done in the following way; Key light is placed at a slightly high and elevated angle but in a position that focuses light on one side of the object. The fill light is placed at a position that is half the height of the object being filmed. This creates a triangle-like shape under the eye of the character being filmed. The mixture of shadow and some light creates something called a Chiaroscuro which gives the face a particular aesthetic touch that makes the scene very real.

Modeling of light

A modeling light is a light set up where light is set up in the filming area, and it remains on even when the flash is activated. This setup is used to allow the photographer asses the areas that the setup has highlighted and those areas where shadows will be cast if flash is used. To achieve this, some equipment ought to be used, such as viewfinders, flashguns, etc. Fundamentally, a modeling light is a set you use to assist the photographer or filmmaker in understanding where the light will shine and where the shadows will be cast so they can fix the errors before they embark on actual filming.


Just like its name, spotlighting is shedding light on a character using a spotlight. Light from a spotlight spreads to cover a wide area of the scene, and the parallel rays supply enough light to the object being focused on. There are different types of spotlighting equipment categorized according to their cost. Some are very expensive and hence are not always used by upcoming filmmakers since they cost too much for them. However, there are pocket-friendly spotlights such as the openly faced spotlight. The cost difference in spotlights is the lens technology being used. The Fresnel technology is the most expensive when it comes to spotlights hence an openly faced spotlight is the least costly because it doesn’t have these particular lenses. These together with other lighting equipment provide good lighting especially when the scene requires light rays to be focused on a particular object while the rest of the environment remains dark. This technology is mostly used in surreal scenes in darkness, where the character being filmed is navigating through the darkness.

Lighting Accessories

There are several other lighting accessories other than filters, gels, and reflectors, which make film production easy. These include:

Scrims– A scrim is an accessory used to reduce the amount of light being shed on the character without affecting the whole lighting setup.

Sandbags- These are used to ensure the lighting equipment set up is stable and the fact that there are a lot of activities going on on the scene there is a possibility of the crew stumbling over them. These help to prevent this.

Cookies– are used to create the illusion of light traveling through a tree with many leaves. These are metal-like structures with holes bored through them.

Barn doors– These are equipment used to prevent stray light from wandering into a section of the set that it is not required.

Relationship Between Lighting and Genre

Different media productions require different lighting techniques to achieve the desired results. The same amount of lighting and techniques cannot be used in different genres because there is a certain emotional response the filmmakers want to elicit from the viewer, and this can only be achieved when the lighting is done correctly. This section will look into a few of them to determine the differences and isolate which techniques are applied to which genres and why 


Horror films are associated with gory images and scary scenes with a lot of violence. When a filmmaker is working on a horror film, they will minimize the use of bright colors, smooth sounds, and music but most importantly light. They will, however, use a lot of shadows and dark shades to bring out the fear of something terrible potentially happening. A good example is the recently released horror film Get Out. This film speaks fear from the word go. When it begins, the music is subtle, and it sounds like a warning, that the character should seek safety. This section puts much emphasis on lighting.

The first scene is on a lonely deserted street in the middle of the night. It is so still, and the security lights cast a lot of shadows onto the characters and the environment. The viewer is drawn into fearing that there is imminent danger and to their surprise there is. A man dressed in black, dark colors, kidnaps a black man dressed in dark colors. The use of shadows makes the viewer anxious when watching it; one is always trying to look through the many shadows to see if there is anything that may pose a danger to their character. It makes the viewer so engrossed in the film, and they even wish to be on the scene to save their character who by now, the viewer identifies with very intimately.

Lighting is everything there is in this genre. Other than using shadows to bring out the curiosity and tension in the viewer, a lot of the action happens in darkness. Routine activities such as exercises are done at night. This makes the film capture the viewer’s minds so much that they want to watch every step the lead character takes. It makes the viewer want to lead the character since the lighting has built up tension and concern in the audience and they are worried for the character in real life when it is just a film, and the actor is not in any real danger. This is what makes a film sell. Lighting determines whether a film is good or bad.

Film Noir

Film Noir highly utilizes low-key lighting. Noir is a French word that means black. This genre is mostly about bringing up the tension. It thus involves the selective use of contrast where the filmmaker deliberately prevents the viewer from accessing some detail in the film to raise their curiosity. This genre consists of a lot of atmospheric effects and shadows that make the moment so tense to the viewer.

Music Videos

Various music videos have different messages hence different moods. A music video can bring about a somber mood, party mood, romance, or joy. As much as the lyrics may be all about love, it is impossible to tell the story without proper lighting. First is the fact that lighting determines the attention of the viewer, where there is a lot of light in the exact direction the viewer will focus on. Other than this, lighting makes the video vixens more beautiful rather than how the producer wants them to appear. To ensure the lyrics make sense, the lighting has to be perfect.

The different modes of lighting in music videos can be illustrated in the following three music videos. First is Faded by Kanye West. The lyrics are somehow a message by a desperate lover, who lost love such that they are still in denial like it never existed. The producer of this video creates the mood using low lighting. The character in the song is in a dimly lit room, and it creates a sense of loneliness and despair as they make the dramatic moves in the room. If I Die Young by the band, Perry is a different soft rock genre that is a cocktail of emotions. To achieve that, the producer sheds enough light on the main character who is floating on a boat in a river. However, the wider view of the area brings out the despair. There are various trees hence shadows where the boat is likely to sail with the main character. It speaks of the fears and uncertainties of what the viewer anticipates for the future. Pound the Alarm by Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, is all about fun and love and happiness. Shot under the bright sun of Puerto Rico, a lot of light, color, and energy makes the video very lively and even brightens the mood of the viewer.


To do a nice interview, it is advised that the lighting focuses on one side of the face and the camera angle should be both high level and eye level. This makes the audience pay keen attention to the interviewee, and they can grasp the information they are disseminating. Other than this, it prevents distractions and ensures the audience focuses on the necessary. It also allows the audience to try and relate to what the interviewee is talking about.


Lighting is a significant aspect when shooting a comedy. First, a comic scene ought to be lively no matter how dark the humor is. Poor lighting can make the audience entirely miss the joke. In as much as low-key lighting has been proven to elicit positive emotions, it cannot be immensely used in comic situations.  Large amounts of low-key lighting can only be used when the mood sought is fear or sadness. In comedy, the lighting needs to be high-key; all three-point lighting techniques ought to be used to ensure every gesture, body language, and facial expression is captured. This will ensure that the message being sent both by actions and by words is sent. Film and light technicians have identified that the light design supersedes the plot in evoking a psychological response from the viewers.


Other than the discussed functional purposes of lighting, there are other reasons why filmmakers should consider incorporating light in any film production. First is the fact that failure to light the scenes well enough during the shooting means the film editors have to spend a lot of time editing the film. This is time-consuming and might delay the project. When a project is delayed beyond the investors’ expectations, it may cause them to withdraw their funding. Apart from having a potential effect on the financing of the project, when the editing process is so tedious, the crew might decide not to finish the project since it is draining. It is thus essential to consider lighting from the initial stages of filmmaking to make the rest of it easy.

Poor lighting also means a change of mood and poor message reception. This means when lighting is not correctly done for example in a comic scene, viewers don’t get the joke, and the film is meaningless. Poor lighting also dilutes the quality of the project. When a producer gives a low-quality project, they may forfeit their future chances of ever getting investors to invest in their work. This means they ought to utilize the benefits of proper lighting very much to ensure they make the most out of it.

As mentioned, the use of lighting in the initial stages of filmmaking saves time when it comes to editing. Other than the editing process, it makes the shooting period shorter, too. As much as there is plenty of natural light to use, it is not always bright throughout the day. During midday when the sun is over the head, the film crew can enjoy the large natural light, however, when the sun is not as bright, which is just a few hours past midday or before, it doesn’t mean the filming process is over until the sun is bright again. Artificial lighting comes in to ensure the shooting continues even with less natural light so that the crew can complete the project in time.

The location also plays a significant role in filmmaking. A good example is Pascal Lamorisses’s The Red Balloon. The locations and the use of black and white, and grey themes make the film a cinematic masterpiece that is catchy and interesting. Lighting is the dominant effect in this film since the sound is not utilized a lot. Despite that, it sold very well.


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Lowell R – Matters of Light & Depth: Creating Memorable Images for Video, Film, & Stills through Lighting (Lowell Light Mfg. Co, 1999) ISBN 9781879174030

Pre-Production Techniques for the Creative Media Industry. Accessed February 4, 2018, from

Malkiewicz K – Film Lighting: Talks with Hollywood’s Cinematographers and Gaffer (Touchstone, 2012) ISBN 9781439169063

Stradling L – Production Management for TV and Film (Methuen Drama, 2010) ISBN 9781408121801



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