Lighting Techniques: Filming for Dramatic Effect – with DP Art Adams

I personally love filming with dramatic lighting and love learning the lighting techniques that can achieve that cinematic and moody feel. If it was up to me, my latest cooking show project which I filmed would have been lit dramatically 🙂 (Of course I wouldn’t get hired again!)

High Quality Cinematography Under High Pressure

One of the most demanding and competitive markets to be filming in is high-end commercials; it just may be the ultimate test for a DP or a Cinematographer (and heck all the way down the line to gaffer, grip, camera operator etc). A LOT of money is riding on the shoot . . . and you MUST be on your game.

Not only do you have to be on your game but you have to be fast and consistent. You won’t last very long if you are a master at lighting and creating a cinematic image one day and the next day the results are average and you didn’t get all the coverage that was needed because you didn’t have enough time to figure it out.

So to learn how to film, light, trouble shoot and problem solve from Director of Photography Art Adams who shoots tons of top brand commercials is an amazing opportunity! He has shot for just about every major brand name you can think of . . . Apple, Sony, Canon, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and the list goes on!

**Read below to discover about our upcoming ALL CINEMATOGRAPHY event where Art Adams will be one of the presenters

Lighting Techniques Broken Down Shot by Shot 

In this interview we take one of his awesome commercials and dissect it shot by shot. (You can see images of the shots we discussed below)

Art discusses some slick techniques on how to use kino flo’s, stacking gels and cookies to create unique lighting effects and plenty more of course.

This is really the kind of information that comes with apprenticing under a highly skilled cinematographer (the secret to learning how to film fast).   shooters who would like to create work at this level this is pure Gold!

Want to Learn More About Film Lighting?

I’m very excited to let everybody know that Big League Film School is putting together an ALL Cinematography Event with some amazing presenters like Art Adams who will help put us all on the fast track to amazing cinematography skills. Details will come shortly and I think you will be blown away when you hear the details. To make sure you don’t miss it enter your email below to be notified with all the juicy details!

Interview With Art Adams

Shots That Were Broken Down

Art combined several gels and cookies to create the light and shadows on this night exterior shot

Art Adams Shot2

Dramatic lighting – Night Interior shot. Exposing only certain areas in the frame

Art Adams Shot3

Film lighting with single Kino Flo and very cool lighting technique used here

Art Adams Shot4

Creating shadows and angling light for dramatic effect

Art showed us a large amount of the lighting techniques he used in order to achive the dramatic lighting that we saw here. It’s great to learn how to light video in this manner and get such a detailed breakdown of what lights were used and where the lights were placed to create the cinematic look.

You can check out Art Adams awesome work on his website and also the 2 blogs where he writes great articles at:

Art Adams Website

ProVideo Coalition







  • Udoh Micah Jeremiah

    I really Love Adams work and the effort he has put to help upcoming cinematographers. I am a Nigerian and i am looking forward to been tutored by one of American best cinematographers like Adams,how can that be possible. Or are there any film academy that the price are not much?cos most of the one i have seen,when converted to Naira(Nigerian)currency its between 2million and 3million. Thats a lot of money especially for someone like me who is from the low class.

  • Bob

    DO you offer courses in cinematography

    • coachaviv

      Bob, at the moment we have two cinematography Summits which you can purchase. Each have many sessions by cinematographers and each session is close to an hour long with several much more than an hour. You can visit to learn more or email me at [email protected]. Thanks!