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Basic 3 point Lighting

Basic Key to Lighting

Complex Lighting

Low Key Lighting

Matching existing Lighting

Shooting an interview

Pack shot




Lighting an Interview

Interviews are used in documentaries, TV programs and even in feature films sometimes.

Lighting an interview is like lighting a person in a normal shot. It has all the lights a normal shot has. A background light to light the background, a backlight or two to put a light edge around the subject, to help separate it from the background and help draw the figure. A key light coming from above and one side normally to give the subject shape and texture, and fill light to fill the shadows which controls the contrast of the scene.


The exposure is the result of the Key plus the Fill light, and the backlight and background lights are balanced with this.

So for example if the Key light is 80 Lux the Fill 20 Lux the exposure will be for the Key plus the Fill 80 + 20 = 100 Lux.

The lighting contrast of the scene with be the Fill plus the Key to the Fill alone so in this case, 100: 20 = 5:1, this is useful as it is a way for a cameraperson to repeat the same lighting at a later date.


If the background is dark a background light is used and this can be at the same level as the exposure or less, according to taste. If the background is close the fill light may be enough and no background light maybe needed.


Backlights or kickers can be at the same or even 2 or 3 stops over the exposure level, depending on the subject’s clothes or hair. Dark hair and clothes may require a strong backlight.


The key light is the story light, the light that tell the story, so even in interviews the DOP may make it look light the Key light is natural from a table lamp or window.

By adjusting the areas lit the interview can be high key or low key. With SoftyLite the snoot and egg crates allow the light to be controlled.

This does not affect exposure.

Image gallery

softy lite interview lighting
Light the background

softy lite interview lighting
A light adds highlights to the hair and helps separate the subject from the background

softy lite interview lighting
The fill light lightens the shadows and controls the lighting contrast

softy lite interview lighting
The key light completes the lighting set up, giving the subject shape and texture

softy lite interview lighting
Adding a snoot narrows the angle of illumination

softy lite interview lighting
Use of the snoot limites the light area

softy lite interview lighting
Controlling the areas lit makes for a darker look

softy lite interview lighting
Subject and lights


softy lite interview lighting

Download free Lighting Plan PSD file to plan your shooting...

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