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3 de May de 2024


Lighting is considered one of the key pieces in cinema. In Locationow we tell you about one of the most common techniques in cinema lighting: three-point lighting.

Lighting is essential when creating images in an audiovisual production and is so important that it makes the difference between amateur and professional videos. Directors use film lighting techniques creatively at will in order to create emotions in viewers and tell stories in a unique way.

In the following article we are going to talk about three-point cinema lighting, which uses three points of light: main light, fill light and backlight, for videos, films, photographs and digitally created images for characters or objects that are static. Take note, because this technique of film lighting can be considered as the basis for much of lighting knowledge.


Below, we explain the function of each:

1. Key light.

The main function of this film lighting technique is to provide the most powerful and brightest light to the subject, be it an actor or an object. According to theory, the subject should be positioned at 45° to it, and above the camera, which produces more modelling and brings out the textures of the subject better.

It will set the tone for the rest of the lights, which will serve to fill, attenuate or complement the effect that this main light is producing.

2.  Fill light

As the name suggests, this particular film lighting technique serves to ‘fill in’ the rest of the scene,to avoid dark spots, eliminate extraneous shadows and provide even illumination.

Its purpose is to soften the shadows produced by the main light, but not to eliminate them completely. It is considered a diffused light source and should be placed at about 90 degrees to the axis that forms the key light with the subject. Correctly placed fill light provides a sense of gradual transition from the illuminated areas to the shadow areas, giving a greater sense of three-dimensionality.

If the intensity of the key light and the fill light is the same, the contrast will hardly be noticeable. The idea is to modulate the distance from each other to achieve the desired effect.

3. Back light </h3>

This film lighting technique is also called highlight light, or hair light, (in this case, when lighting people). As the name suggests, its function is to highlight the subject, adding illumination to the subject.

Most commonly, this film lighting technique is positioned behind, above the subject and facing the camera.

It is perfect for separating the subject from the background and adding depth, emphasising the silhouette.

Now it’s time to experiment! Three-point lighting is a simple concept and quite easy to understand, but like everything else, this film lighting technique requires practice and, above all, creativity to make a scene convey emotions to the viewer.

If you have already placed the 3 points of light explained above in their corresponding places, with the distance and intensity that you have chosen, just press play and record. The result will surely be better than you expected!

Locationow specialises in everything you need for your location production. We are location managers, offering tailor-made services for any budget and scale. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are happy to help you in your production process! If you want to read more content like this, keep browsing our blog and don’t forget to follow us on social media.

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