I am going to research the physical aspects of lighting and the different types.

What I am going to research:


  • Different types of lighting
  • Different effects and techniques of lighting


Types of Lighting:

Three-point lighting, made up of three lights, a key light, a fill light and back light. The key light usually points to the main character or object in the shot. The key light is the brightest light. The second light is the fill light which is a softer and is often placed opposite they key light, you could alternatively use a reflector instead. Then there is the back light that is placed behind the person or object to separate them from the back ground, and enhances depth in the shot, which could be artificial or natural light.

High key lighting is when you use a high proportion of fill light to key light, it creates a bright and more even light. High key lighting is often used in comedies and musicals to enhance liveliness or in dramatic scenes in dramas to show the intensity of the situation.

When you use a low proportion of fill light to key light it’s called low key lighting. The less key light used the more shadows created, this works well in mysteries and horrors, to create a darker effect.

Most films use a combination of the two, depending on the scene. A western could use a combination of the two, the outside of a saloon could use high key lighting and then as show someone walking into the saloon and in the saloon the lighting is low key to create a darker sense in the room.

Sometimes another light is added which is a four-point lighting setup. It is the same setup as the three-point lighting setup, but there is an extra light which is used to illuminate the background area of the set. The extra light also adds distance between the person or object and the background, and creates a sense of depth to the shot.

Techniques and effects of lighting:

Top lighting, which is when the upper areas of a subject are lit by a source above them, this could be used to remove shadowing, and create the look of  a bright sunny day.

Under lighting, when the areas of the subject are lit from underneath. It can be used to make the face look disfigured, and is commonly used in horrors and thrillers, because it creates a sense on mystery.

Back lighting, creates a silhouette around the subject, also used to make the subject look mysterious because you usually will only see the out line of them no actual features, and is commonly used in horror films.

Lighting (no date) Available at: 27 September 2016)

Shanovitz (2014) Lighting in film Available at: (Accessed: 27 September 2016)

KriscoartProductions (2016) CINEMATIC LIGHTING: 3 Point Lights Available at: (Accessed: 4 October 2016)