Video Lighting Basics – Three Point Lighting

Domainvestors Television begins filming next month and I thought this would be a good time to start sharing some of the things I’ve been learning about video production over the last few months.

I’ll be the first to admit – I’m no video pro…but I do plan on shooting a very professional production! Lighting is one of those “make or break” elements of video production. One of the most popular ways to light a scene is by using “Three Point Lighting.”

Three point lighting is a great way to create broadcast-quality video…of course a good camera is essential for taking advantage of the great light! Below are the three different lights that comprise basic three-point lighting:

  1. Key Light – this is, as it sounds, the key to good lighting! The key light is the brightest light and will be placed at a 45 degree angle from the camera.
  2. Fill Light – the fill light is also at a 45 degree angle from the camera but opposite the key light. The fill light should be less bright than the key as it is meant to fill-in shadows.
  3. Backlight – This light is placed in the back and used to light the shoulders and head of the subject.

Next time you see a sporting event – find a news crew and you’ll see they oftentimes use three-point lighting. This technique is the basis for lighting in many modern television studios and with great HD video cameras in the $1,000-range there is not reason you can’t provide the same quality that the pro’s do!

Below is a great video about three point lighting that will help explain exactly how to setup the lights and take your videos to the next level!

I’ll be sharing more tips and techniques over the next few weeks as a lot of my focus is on the television show. My goal is to pass-along everything I learn to all of you!

So stay-tuned and feel free to make a request with any specific topics you are looking to learn more about. I’ll be posting a HD-Camera buying guide very soon as I just finished picking the camera that will be used to shoot the show!

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Jake December 29, 2009, 6:46 pm


    That’s really exciting. I can’t wait to see the finished project!

  • PPC Ian December 29, 2009, 11:48 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this tip. I’m shooting to add some videos to my websites in 2010 (a new frontier for me) and these tips will really help me out. I’m also very much looking forward to your TV show.
    All the best,

    • Morgan December 30, 2009, 10:13 am

      Thanks @Ian – much appreciated! Let me know if you have any questions along the way!

  • marko December 30, 2009, 4:42 am

    very interesting ,but it is sometimes a matter of opinion as art is.
    i would suggest one light could be used with white cardboard behind the light or subject to introduce a diffused light source .
    style changes, once it was a no no to pan ,zoom in out and take shots of shoulder, no floor fixtures and at non horizontal angles,but this is seen on crime thrillers all the time ,the wire ,comes to mind.
    ps. i was a cameraman for the bbc

    • Morgan December 30, 2009, 10:13 am

      Thanks @Marko! Excellent point – in this case I’d like it to look as much like a typical broadcast television interview. Looking forward to sharing the first episode with you and getting your feedback!


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