Let there Be Lighting

Lights Before Camera or Action

You need to learn the basics of lighting. If you are going to be a independent film mogul someday. Lighting will separate your project from that of others who just grab a camera, go out and shoot a movie. What they end up with will look like a home movie while your film, after you have learned the basics of lighting, will look professional.
I could give you a long tutorial on it. Explaining every little detail or I could offer this quick animated tutorial.

Why animated?

Why not. Haven’t we learned some great things while watching cartoons.


Okay, there you have the basics. Just try to remember that you should
always focus on lighting before you think about the camera and or the actual shooting of your film.

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Film Lighting

Let us begin with the basics. The heart and soul of motion picture lighting is called 3 point lighting. It is how you light the main character or characters. This is universal. It has been the standard from the early days of film making. The exception to the rule is Film Noir. In this form of film making lighting is mostly 2 point lighting or sometimes even one light. Film noir depends upon shadows to set the tone and mood of each scene. The last film noir that most of you have seen is the Movie Sin City.

First up is a basic tutorial on 3 point lighting.

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Next up is a look at advanced lighting for film making.

Now we will explore how to achieve good lighting on a low to micro budget. We will not be spending more than two hundred and fifty dollars. I am going to first show you a video of the basic 3 piece soft box set that can be gotten on Ebay for under 250. Try to get one with the jib arm, they always come in handy.

Next up is the lighting that I use. They are clamp lights. I love them for the basic 3 point lighting set up. You might want to buy some color gels (more about them later) or something to diffuse the light such as basic parchment paper. You will need to get a bunch of s clamps to make sure you can hold the lights in place, you do not want them to fall, CFL bulbs cost a lot.  Also when transporting the lights gets some of those rubbermaid containers and store the bulbs inside to protect them.

For the last part of our lighting tutorial we will look at work lights. I have seen them used and have a set myself for an emergency. Some low budget filmmakers love them. If you use them I would use poster board to reflect the light rather than using them as direct light. These bad boys are powerful. After this video I will tell you were you an go to get cheap clamp lights and work lights.

Okay if you want to pick up your own clamp lights or cheap work lights shipped to your home you can order them at Walmart. Hey they usually ship for 97 cents (cheaper than the drive) and it takes about three days to arrive. I found some clamp lights for about 7 bucks there and the 500 watt work lights for about 12 dollars. Also you can get so cool little battery powered led lights there for tight spaces. I am talking about Walmart because they are so far the cheapest I have found for these items. As far as CFL bulbs go I would check Amazon. Thank you and look for a second lighting tutorial in the future.


Here is as bonus work light tutorial.

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