Lighting…….achieving good shadows

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    • #37644

      Hi, I have been reading a lot about three point lighting, and have seen many videos. I want to produce a dramatic effect in a video, where half of my subjects face is visible, while the other half is engulfed in shadow. The problem I run into, is that my pre-edited video does not have that high contrast between shadow and light, what I mean is that while one side of my subjects face is in light, the other side is still somewhat visible and grayish instead of black (what i want to achieve is a high contrast ratio). Is this something that is achieved before editing the video? Or is it a matter of adjusting the levels, in a video editing program? I would really like to know, so I can achieve the best contrast, without having to sacrifice too much quality.

      If you have no idea what I’m talking about here is a link of what I want to achieve (look at about the 2:20 mark)

    • #166876
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      You can get what your are looking for just by ditching the fill. Key light it harsh from the side, not 3/4 in front then backlight it harsh like the video you show above. You can always play with brightness and contrast in post too.

    • #166877

      three things about light: Quality, Quantity, Direction.

      Quality= color temp and also size of the light source relative to the subject.

      E.g. the sun is huge, but it is very far from us so it becomes a point (specular) light source and has a very HARD light effect (sharp edged, dark shadows).

      Cloudy/overcast the clouds are huge (relative to us) and close to us (relative to the sun) and therefore have a Soft Diffused lighteffect on us.


      Your camera sensor can only capture a limited range of the light that is available before it displays solid black or solid white. Any image detials have to fall within that range.

      So to answer your question:

      You have decided on a direction…(side lighting)

      You want hard shadows…

      that dictates both the size of the light source and the brightness.. you want a small light source placed further away from your subject, and bright enough that the highlight edge of your subject is properly exposed, but the falloff faded to black in the shadow side of your subject.


      A bright (preferably 3 or more stops brighter than any ambient light), small (spotlight, gridded or snooted), lightsource (ie, a halogen spotlight) places as far from the subject and to the side of the subject.

      use manual exposure to get it right.

    • #166878

      You might be getting light reflecting off the walls, causing an unintensional fill light. Try hanging some black cloth or black posterboard onlightstands near the shadow side ofyour subject. Position them so they block light from reaching the shadow side of the subject.


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