Tag Archives: 3 Simple rules

3 Simple Rules for Filming Without Lights (Exterior)

11 Jan

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I often get asked about lighting techniques for Film and TV. Whether you’re lighting a simple interview for a TV documentary or organising a big lighting set-up for a film or TV drama, I will eventually have articles on here to explain all the techniques you’ll need to employ…

However, for now I want to start with the basics, some of the fundamentals of good lighting.

The first thing I want to talk about is shooting using Available Light. Available light is the ambient light that is exists in any given situation. In other words shooting in available light is when you don’t add any of your own film lights. (“Pretty obvious” I hear you say, “Thanks for that great pearl of wisdom there Chris!“).

So, if there’s enough light around without needing to rig any of your own lights, it should be pretty simple, just pick camera up and start filming right?!… Wrong!

Occasionally I have laps of concentration and end up inadvertently watching Daytime TV (it happens OK?!)… and the number of times I see examples of how not to shoot in available light is unbelievable! Bleached out images of presenters, dark shadows of the camera operator and mic shadows mysteriously drifting in and out of shot, not to mention unintentional lens flares all over the place (remember, this isn’t Star Trek and we’re not shooting Anamorphic!).

So… let’s get to it! Here are my 3 Simple Rules for Shooting With Available Light….

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