Three point lighting – A complete guide for your next YouTube video.

To create a professional YouTube video, you need proper lighting equipment in addition to your camera, external microphone, and story. You can elevate the look of your YouTube videos even further with the appropriate three-point lighting when you’re ready to start your channel.

What is the 3-point lighting system?

For professional video and still photography, three-point lighting is the standard setup. Three different light sources are used at three different locations in a three-point lighting setup. It is possible to create different moods with light and shadow by varying the size, distance, intensity, and angle of these light sources. 

Light sources are positioned from three distinct angles to provide illumination of a subject in a scene using three-point lighting. Backlight, fill light, and key light are the three light sources.

Three point lighting

What is Key Light used for?

A lighting setup with three points consists of this primary light source and its brightest counterpart. It determines the overall exposure of the scene. In order to give depth to a subject’s face, filmmakers place this leading light at a 45-degree angle relative to the camera. This creates shadows on the subject’s opposite side and highlights the subject’s features. A scene’s mood is determined by its primary light. An appropriately bright, atmospherically upbeat image can be enhanced using this effect and a low-key image (low contrasts, deep shadows, and a moody image).

What does Fill Light do?

In addition to the leading light, there is a second light: it may be a reflector, a bounce card, a wall, or anything else that reflects more light onto the subject and fills in the shadows. The fill light is typically less bright than the key light, and cinematographers can adjust how much to dim or lighten it to alter the overall feel of the shot. Dark fill lights with a high fill ratio produce a film noir-style shadow, whereas a brighter light with a lower, more even balance gives the subject a more balanced look. In addition to the leading light, there is usually a second light, a reflector, a bounce card, or a wall that brings additional light back onto the subject to fill in its shadows. Fill lights determine a scene’s mood, along with key lights.

What does Back Light do?

This third light source, also known as a “rim light” or “hair light”, is located on the back of the camera and shines on the subject from behind, completing the lighting setup. By pushing the issue away from the background, the light from their heads creates the illusion of depth. In most cases, backlights need to be placed directly behind the subject or high enough so that they are out of the scene, opposite the key light, pointing down at the back of the subject.

A three-point lighting setup does not follow any specific formula. A cinematographer or photographer may use this technique depending on the scene, the subject matter, and the overall mood they want to convey. Use your imagination. 

Place your lights

When you’re filming indoors, you’ll have to be intentional about lighting and where you place it. Shadows cast by overhead lighting can ruin a face, so try to avoid them. A window that lets in natural light is a better alternative. If you want the right amount of light, you can use a couple of large lamps.

Preparation of the light sources depends on the effect you wish to achieve in your finished video. How would you like the face to be lit? Is it softer or firmer? Tell us in the comment section below.


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