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Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Lesson 2 of 14

The Qualities of Light

Bill Megalos

Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

2. The Qualities of Light


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:17:28
2 The Qualities of Light Duration:48:08
3 Hard Light vs. Soft Light Duration:22:54
4 Three Point Lighting Duration:12:17
6 Basic Light Safety & Gear Duration:11:48
7 Lighting a Subject Duration:15:36
8 Lighting a Room in Daylight Duration:12:55
10 Creating Drama with Light Duration:38:03
11 Lighting at Dusk Duration:18:23
12 Lighting in the Shade Duration:21:04
14 Lighting for Night Duration:11:30

Lesson Info

The Qualities of Light

In order to analyze lighting and to say what it is theirs every kind of every bit of light you ever see can be described in four qualities alright for different aspect of lighting if you can if you can name these floor you can recreate it you can figure out what it is so what's one quality of life maybe the word quality is going to throw you off what were you say uh the intensity intensity thank you that's the first one I would have chosen to how bright the light iss okay over here when I stood over here the light was brighter on this side than it is on this side but they're still is light on the side okay so that's that's one way of about you know I say I like the way that looks how did why does it look like that? Well it's brighter on this side then brighter on that okay intensity good. We're one one down three to go uh you okay? Can we use the word color? All right? Okay good. That would have been just just to make it easy he was a little more we could we'll talk about you a little ...

bit in here but really well talk about color yeah? What color is the light on me now? White it's white are I see our eyes are very, very good at att at interpreting color and actually ignoring color because right now I'm gonna walk over there I'm gonna walk over there, okay? We're the reason I'm walking over here this is white light well, what color is this light it's yellow it's a little bit yellow but it's yellow compared to that right? What color is this like? This is white light as well if these if these lights weren't on this would be white light as well right we are eye sees but I mean when you see this light on my hand here you say that's white light but it's a warmer white lights in this cool like so so color has a lot of emotional effect and and so color is yeah that's number two that's really important? Okay number three what's another what's another one in color temperature we'll talk about color temperature a little bit later right now I would talk about color right now I'm looking at your shirts you've got a maroon shirt on that that shirt is being hit by white light but what's bouncing back is that shirt is absorbing everything but that color magenta it's absorbing the green it's absorbing yellow and it's sending back so so really color temperature will talk about a little later, but right now I'm talking about color so there that lights in our eyes right now we're looking over here that this is this we're calling this blue we're calling this white that's that's like a warmer white we're calling that yellow that back wall is maybe purple light okay what's another quality of like direct and indirect I like those terms so I want to I don't know what you tell me what you mean by him and maybe well maybe I'll come up with a different turn well sometimes ah a room like this one is litte directly where the light is shining on the subject and other times the perimeter of the room is lit and the light reflects off the walls and hits the subject okay, so you're saying reflected light in direct light yeah diffuse okay, well, I prefer that okay let's talk about that I'm gonna call this it's hard to I've never come up with a word I really love for this I'm going to call it the quality of the light but but the parameters are are on it hard or soft we call it hard or soft and you called it focus or defused okay what is the light that's hitting me right now? Is this hard? This is hard, lighter soft light why why do you think it's hard? Because I see like a reflection pretty hard reflection that because I'm bald okay that's not what we're actually it's his funny what you're saying look at the light that's on the front of me okay that's soft but this is soft light okay why do we know it's soft like the shadows they're very diffused if I see if I put my hand here you can't see the shadows of my hand on here even if I put if I put something bigger you know if I put this this bigger square thing here you're not saying three shadows were very diffused they're not very hard they have very soft edges whereas if you look on the floor here if you look on the floor the shadow that's made by this from here from that light back there that backlight what is that that's a hard light that's the hard light you're talking about the light this here from the front is very diffused and it's soft but this light is a hard light you can see how hard the edges on the floor there okay well we will show those in much more quality good we're getting through this really fast what's the last one can anyone take a guess on the last one? No saturation would be with color direct direction thank you. Wow you guys were great. Okay, okay fantastic. I just want to show you it's interesting the order you got them and I think it's the same order that I wrote them down and all right, give yourselves an extra point let's, talk about these just a little bit. I'm going to show you what we're talking about this learning to see here. Let's, let's. Go look at a bunch of slides next and we're gonna analyze the lighting in all these in all these photographs. Um, but, uh, intensity. For now, we'll just use brighter, darker whatever color will talk, it will use the color quality hardened soft. Um, I think we'll get a feeling for that. Basically, I don't think I really need to show you this yet with pulling out a light. But if I were to put a light here and we were to turn off these lights and it was a hard light, the shadows on my nose, if it was coming from over here, you can follow the shadows here to know exactly where the light is coming from. But the shadows would be very hard shadows where's right now, they're not hard shadows. There were quite soft if I were to look at if you stay looking forward, ok, if you could stay looking forward. So right now I'm looking on shot, and I'm going to move this camera over here this way. I don't have to move any lights. You can see that the light that's coming from this backlight up here on may is hitting him on this angle and you can see that it's making a hard shadow on his nose turn your turn your turn your head just a little bit can you see see the shadows growing as he's turning his head that way that's ah hard shadow right whereas if I just blocked this light for a second well there's only hard light on him okay so but where is if if on the other hand is that okay okay on the other hand if you look at me there's no hard light on me now so all the shadows on my nose are even if I come forward they're soft right it's nothing hard like that okay so so we're going to be able to figure out the direction by following the shadows the other place we can see the direction is if we look in somebody's eye right if the um if I move right over to here and I'm only lit by here you should only see a little catch light in my eye in this upper corner right you shouldn't see anything from over here right and mayo and one of the other one over there from that light so if I block that land on me he should only see the cat's light here um when we talk about direction let's use this let's use the clock okay. Okay so so when we when we look at light were going to say where's the light coming from you guys are going to come up with the direction of it okay um let's make sure that this let's see that let's see if this is bright enough for you guys to see without darkening the room okay so this is ahh furniture a shot of furniture for a catalogue all right um whenever you shooting product shots you really want to make the product look good um one of the things I've learned in shooting furniture is that you really have to get the camera back as far as you can so you can shoot on a long lens otherwise the furniture kind of gets distorted like it would with a wide angle but in a really situation this might not be as lit is this it might have more contrast there might be more shadow here right but where is wei talk about um we'll just go we'll talk about this a little bit later but there's a there's a term that we use in lighting both in photography and in film lighting called a she life does anyone know what the key light is? Anyone heard that term before it's like I mean like it's where you think the light is coming from you never you never really it's very rare that you see something with just one light yes, sometimes we do but when there's a key light it's the light that you think it's coming from so where would you say and usually it's the brightest light where would you say the key light is coming from in this talking about this using this direction well the chandelier is one of the objects this for sale in here it would make sense it would make sense that it be lit from the chandelier if you were doing a nighttime scene but this is kind of supposed to be more of a daytime scene so there would be light coming in from outside you know it's not just uh so where is the key light what's the brightest light where do you think the main light is coming from? Very close yeah three may be a little bit higher than three maybe two thirty or something it's a little bit higher you can see you can follow those shadows off of the off of the chairs by looking so it's coming from over here it's coming really from the side isn't it it's not coming from the front at all right it's coming from the side because it's hitting this it's hitting this chair but not the back of the chair it's hitting this corner of this chair but not the front of this chair there's another light hitting that but that's the main light that would be the brightest light in there right does ever to see that and let's talk about some of the other things what's what's the so that would be an intensity that would be the brightest uh what would the color on that light be white maybe a slightly warm slightly warm okay the direction we talked at the quality of it is it hard or soft it's soft the reason you see cem cem blacker shadows over here is because that's very close to the to the source teo what's classing the shadow as you get through but it's pretty soft yeah go ahead what about the top of the shelf to the right the shadow going to the right yeah this is this down there ok so what's that from that's from another light that's from a film like right on the field like that that's the same light that is that is lighting the backs of these chairs if that light wasn't there these chairs would be black you wouldn't get to see the work on the show you wouldn't get to see the bow or anything like that so yeah thats right so there's another there's another light that's probably a little bit harder than this light but it's not is bright this is the brighter one where is that coming from the direction like well where is it coming from? You follow that line up nine or ten I would say closer to ten all right it's over here on the side but you notice that in order to build contrast into this I didn't like this from the front if I let it from the front a lot of these shadows would be gone I want to keep the three dimensionality of it and the further there's something called on access right on access off exits the accesses the relationship between the camera and the subject right now if I'm standing in front of alex's camera right here I'm totally on access all right if I were the light from behind alex's camera the lighting would be very flat because it would cover all the shadows it would take away the shadows but if I move over and if I start coming over to where the light is no longer directly overhead I'm starting to get much more three dimensional quality as the light comes more from the side it's showing much more through because of the shadows they're giving me that so I want to show the volume of these pieces I want to show that they look good but I also want to show I want to have them feel texture and the texture the texture comes from the shadows all right if I light it all from the front very soft then I'm getting rid of the shadows when do we like things very soft from the front let's be more specific when do we really like things? Soft big sources from the front portrait portrait of specifically people specifically more specific than a certain type of person anchors that's one yeah, usually, but let's go even more specific. The older someone is the women. If you ever say if you ever look at a few ever looking any fashion photography, everybody is always lit very much directly right from the front there's no shadows in it. They don't want to see any wrinkles. They want any you know let's, look at the next one. So here. What are the lights again? We'll use these four things. Nine o'clock, nine o'clock. Well, we didn't really talk about how far back this light is coming. Are you talking about which play are you talking about? The light that's on the, uh left side. The right side of their color. Let's, talk about the wait. Okay, so this like it's here? All right. Well, I don't think it's coming from nine o'clock that's not what I see. I see you're okay. We're talking let's talk about this. The back light that's blue, right? We'll talk about that one after let's talk about the main light. The front like that's on them. Where is that coming from? Does anyone know? Maybes five I think it's coming from this side I'm looking I'm trying to look at the uh I'm trying maybe not that low I don't know it's like I'm looking at these these glasses the shadows from the glasses maybe it's actually coming from a little higher maybe it's coming from like like two o'clock teo I look at that look at that you see the little pin on your eye I think it's coming from a little bit higher there but but but you can definitely split it but it's a fairly soft light right it's hard to tell it's soft it's hard to tell and this this light from outside is blue right all right that's a color temperature thing that we'll talk about when we get through these slides we'll talk about that a little bit okay but this light is definitely brighter than this life right the back light is brighter you can see his blue on her hair hey where's this light coming from on what little describe it the sun okay it is coming from the sun are light two o'clock what time of day is this? I think if we turned off the lights in here we got you could I see it looks different from when your off access maybe get a little bit closer to access for you guys because I see it gets a little bit little bright when it gets off access close toe the sun going down so maybe at sunset there's, no question, it's on. So how do we know it's, sunset, the color, the color? Yeah, we've we've learned this from our life, that the color gets the sun gets warm when it gets close to the horizon, or in the morning, the angle and the angle, and, yeah, the angle. So we know that it's, the sun there's, no question that we know it's a son. How do we know? It's the sun, the shadows throughout satire, you can see the hard sun shadow there on her nose, but because of that, we know we can just follow this nose.

Class Description

Young filmmakers are often taught to de-prioritize lighting. They are told that lighting takes too much time, money, and expertise to have any profound effect on their work. Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain with Bill Megalos changes that.

In Lighting for Film, Bill will show you how to light technically, instinctually, and cinematically. You will learn how to light for both interior and exterior work and how the simplest lighting techniques can produce the most dramatic effects. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Produce story-altering lighting effects with minimal equipment
  • Light for both of interior and exterior content
  • Choose instruments that suit your budget and filming goals

Bill will teach professional lighting techniques you can use on your own or with a crew that defy the everyday budget and common-wisdom of filmmakers having to tell a story "in the dark."


a Creativelive Student

This is a wonderful class with a very knowledgeable and experienced instructor. It starts with the principles you need to understand and then walks you through the process of actually doing the work on set. You can see what it takes to accomplish the work. I will be watching this over and over to let it all soak in. Thank you Bill for putting this together.

Joe Stevens

Great class, learned a lot. Would highly recommend!

Abel Riojas

great class! i've struggled with proper lighting and he broke it down in a matter of minutes. very simple and easy to understand. i would recommend this to someone that is still trying to find their "voice"