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Create Cinematic Depth with Simple Light

Published on

Cinematography & Filmmaking

Beginners, Cinematic, Lighting

Give more cinematic depth to your shots with this very simple light tutorial. This technique is used every Hollywood production, documentary or interview.

Lighting a film scene is pretty tricky. As it’s a creative job you can hardly find any rules. But there’re lots of tips you can follow to achieve a certain emotion or new dimension. In this video we’ll have a look at how we can create more depth in our video.

We think that videos are 3D, but infact it’s a flat 2D object. Therefore we use different techniques to add depth to the video and make it seem like a 3 demensional medium. Depth separates the elements in your shot. In other words, a difference between two object. That could be a certain color difference, or the position in a scene. But also in exposore.

With already one simple light source we can make one object brighter as the other. That could be a great beginning. But those two elements will still be pretty flat. Each element must have a gradient of expsore. Just like a 3D object, there has to fall a shadow over the subject.

Johannes Vermeer was a pioneer with this technique with his famous painting “the girl with a pearl earing”. If we understand what he did there, we can easily recreate that in our videos.
It all comes down to having different layers of exposure. And that can be brought even further if we look at another famous painter; Pieter De Hooch. He’s known for having bright rooms in his background, like an open door.

Combining these techniques will give us a very cinematic look with lots of depth. And if you pay attention to it next time you go to the movies, you will see it’s being use so often.

This tutorial video was featured on No Film School. Renée wrote a great article around this lighting technique.

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