Two filmmakers chasing the dream of producing their first feature film...
...and financing it solely through winning video contests.

How do you get your movie to look like a movie? Most people can't afford lights, and even when they can, setting up a light and blasting your subject will rarely get you good results.

Most every filmmaker is familiar with the 3 point lighting setup that involves a "key" (or main source of light), a "fill" (to fill in the shadows) and a "back light" (or "hair light") coming from behind.

Courtesy Mediacollege.com

Most amateur filmmakers know this setup, but for lack of resources, or laziness, or any number of reasons they neglect ONE of those lights:

The Back Light.

The most underrated of all lights, the back light is the ONE light that makes every movie LOOK like a movie. Here is a great example:

Courtesy 3drender.com

The left apple has a main light and a fill light, but no back light. It's flat and dull.

The right apple, however, POPS from the background.

90% of all amateur film looks like the apple on the left, but there no reason why your movie can't pop the way the right apple does, even with the lights available to you in your house.

Before we owned professional lights, we made do with the lamps in our living room. This is from a short called "All I Want for Christmas is to be Featured on YouTube":

The back lighting is subtle, but it outlines my shoulders and hair which makes a world of difference in creating a more cinematic shot. Here's an extreme example of back lighting from one of our contest videos:

Believe it or not, this short was also made BEFORE we owned a professional lighting kit. There was a window behind me and all I had to do was stand in its light to get this awesome, dramatic shot.

There are numerous other examples I could find... but my point is that Back Lights are amazing for creating pro footage. They can take the form of lamps, professional lights, or recessed spotlights on your ceiling... they just need to be behind your subject.

I'd write more... but I have to get back to work on our latest vid. Peace!


Prince Gomolvilas said...

Hey, Will, this is a great post. You are so schooling me in the things my DP won't tell me!

Will Blank said...

Glad I could help. Awesome.

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