April 29, 2017

3 Basic Techniques for Lighting Different Surfaces

Learning these three basic lighting concepts is important for working with different surfaces.

One of the reasons why lighting is such a complicated art form is because not everything can be lit the same way. Even if the overall look you're going for is similar, you have to take several things into account, like what kind of surface your subject is. In this video, director/cinematographer Matthew Rosen of KINETEK explains how light interacts with three different surfaces, reflective, transparent, and neutral, as well as how you can ensure a proper exposure every time.

If you're an experienced DP, you're probably are well aware of how different surfaces respond to both direct light and reflected light. If this is all new to you, perfect! This video explains a lighting concept that often gets overlooked by not only content creators, but students of film as well. Seriously, who really wants to click on a topic that seems so dry? But just because theory can get a little boring, it doesn't change the fact that these basic principles of light are essential learning for those who want to get their skills to a more professional level. 

There are obviously many other lessons to learn about lighting surfaces, but this is a great first step in understanding a crucial concept.      

Your Comment

9 Comments

This is most helpfull. Thank you No film school.

May 1, 2017 at 2:57AM

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May 2, 2017 at 5:21AM

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June 2, 2017 at 8:30AM, Edited June 2, 8:31AM

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Many transparent surfaces—a bottle, for instance—are also reflective, so you’ll need to utilize the technique above for them as well. But if you JUST light the reflected area, you’ll still fall short of properly lighting a transparent/reflective object like a glass bottle.
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