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5 Practical Cinematic Lighting Tutorials

Caleb Ward

Learn the basics of practical cinematic lighting with these five awesome video tutorials.

The quickest way to make your footage look more cinematic is to simply spend a little extra time lighting your scene. Even just one light will make a big difference for making your entire film look better. So if you’re in the mood for some creative inspiration, check out these 5 simple lighting tutorials. All of them are easy to understand and, by implementing the techniques listed in the videos, you can quickly make your films look much better.

5 Common Lighting Patterns for a Key Light

Created By: SLR Lounge

This video created by SLR Lounge outlines five basic lighting setups using a single light. The video outlines where the lights need to be placed, along with the overall tone certain lighting setups give off.

Film Lighting Tips and Techniques: Filmmaking Cinematography 101

Created By: TWilson Media

This video outlines a simple lighting setup using two soft boxes and practical light coming from a lamp. While this video is rather basic, it does outline a few nice workflow tips for creating more cinematic lighting including:

  • No plain white walls.
  • Background lights are for interest, not attention.
  • Place key light on the opposite side of the camera (AKA a Reverse Key).

Awesome Directors Project: Cinematic Lighting Tutorial

Created By: Indy Mogul

This fun tutorial by Indy Mogul shows us how to use filters and mixed lighting to create stylistic effects for horror and sci-fi films. The setups in the video are really simple, but they show the power of a two light setup.

Videography Tutorial: Lighting for Video

Created By: Lights Film School

In this tutorial by Lights Film School, we take a look at how to simulate sunlight through a window. While your budget may not be large enough to rent out a sound stage, this same effect can be achieved with lights coming through a window outside of a building.

Great Cinematography with Only One Light!

Created By: Film Riot

Film Riot is amazing. All of their videos are incredibly helpful. In this video tutorial, Ryan Connolly shares a few lighting setups that can be achieved with only a single light source. The result is a few very dramatic lighting setups that can add a cinematic look to your video quickly and easily.

Want to see even more lighting techniques? Well, here you go:

  1. Filmmaking Tips: Lighting With LED Panels
  2. Add Drama to Your Lighting Setup with Negative Fill
  3. Lighting for Film & Video: LED vs Tungsten

Know of any other great lighting tutorials? Illuminate us in the comments below!