Beyond Three-Point Lighting: Part 02

(Cinematic Lighting Lesson 06)

Summary: In Part 01 we covered side lighting and cross-key lighting as alternatives to using the (overused) three-point lighting method. In Part 02, we’ll show you key-side fill and the “Robert Richardson.”

Length: 5:05 minutes

Video Lesson

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Three-point lighting is a great place to start but it isn’t where you should end. In Part 01 we gave you a quick overview of what three-point lighting is and then we showed you cross-key lighting as well as side lighting. In this video, I’m going to give you two more approaches: the key-sde fill and the “Robert Richardson Lighting.”

Key-Side Fill

Key-side fill (LC106)

The key-side fill is one of my personal favorites for lighting a scene for two reasons: it feels more natural than the three-point method and it is easier to employ on set, allowing me to light faster. What’s not to like in a method that gives great results and is fast?

Key-side fill: separate lights, behind the scenes (LC106)

As the name suggests…

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Lighting Diagrams

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Tools We Used

How To Cinematically Light A Corporate Video (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 20)
How To Light Quickly (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 19)
Lighting For Extreme Frame Rates (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 21)
12 Crucial Questions Before Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 15)
3 Strategies For Lighting Your Night Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 14)
5 Essential Strategies To Lighting Day Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 12)
10 Tips To Lighting Day Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 13)
How To Light A Small Commercial (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 23)
Where To Begin Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 18)
15 replies
  1. withinadecade
    withinadecade says:

    Hi there, great videos – thanks. Where do you get your large diffusion from?
    What would one be searching for to buy to create the same large source soft light.
    Many thanks

  2. Jacobs
    Jacobs says:

    Thanks for your videos, really helpful!
    how do you behave when you cant’ use far side key and place the camera on the “shadowy” side of the set.
    I had to place the key light on the left behind the camera in the dialogue scene and it was awful!!!

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      There are times when the room size or the background limit where you can place the camera or the lights. If you can’t change locations or move things around within a small space, another option is to change to a “beauty” lighting set-up where the light is a little higher and closer to the camera. We show how to do this in Tricks of the Trade #1: Lighting Faces. The tricky thing, though, is that with narrative shoots, changing the lighting change change the mood of the scene. This is when location scouting ahead is so important so you can experiment and come up with a lighting scheme that fits the mood of the scene and the space.


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