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Tired of the Boring Old Three Point Lighting? An Alternative Setup To The Rescue

Tired of the Boring Old Three Point Lighting? An Alternative Setup To The Rescue

The headshot, the interview, the portrait lighting we all have to film time and time again . . . it can get quite boring, and often my instincts tell me that you just can’t light by a standard formula. Lighting Techniques should be fluid.

Three Point Lighting Rule Be Gone

The best cinematographers don’t follow a formula. They trust their eye and rely on years of “rules” which they followed long enough until it was time to break them.

Nothing is better then seeing a master give the middle finger to the “rules” and create awesome stuff. It lets me know that above all we need to trust our instincts, trust our eye, and have our own opinion.

Watch below to learn an alternative method to the boring old three point lighting technique and then keep reading:

Tired of the Boring Old Three Point Lighting technique? Try the following lighting setup!Tweet: Tired of the boring old Three-Point Lighting Technique? Try the following lighting setup! @BLFSchool

So as you noticed you can get a wonderful contrast on the face by having your fill light on the SAME side as your key light.

Also, negative fill is something you should be experimenting with since taking light away is just as much a necessity and a science as adding light. Check out Bruce Logan’s interview, Part2@12:20 where he discusses negative fill for more on that.

Don’t forget, highlights and blown out windows in the background, though you need to be careful to keep it tasteful, is completely acceptable and can look gorgeous.

Three Point Lighting Be Gone

Three Point Lighting Be Gone

This method is more natural since all the light is coming from the one “source” and at the same time there is a natural fall off of light and wrap around effect that is happening. Even though there are two lighting fixtures doing the job I consider this one “point”. The second would be the hair light.

So although three-point lighting is the dominant method out there, don’t be afraid to shake things up by trying alternative methods – maybe you’ll come up with something ground breaking! Trust your eye and let that guide you, not some stinking boring “rule”.


P.S. CineSummit 2014 is in the works and will come quickly! So if you’re not on this email list make sure to do so to get notified when registration opens up.

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12 Responses to Tired of the Boring Old Three Point Lighting? An Alternative Setup To The Rescue

  1. jose says:

    awesome tutorial, man.

  2. Yosef Adest says:

    I loved this tutorial, wow! I am a professional videographer with years of experience and this is the first time that negative fill has come onto my radar (always filling in the gaps of being self taught!).. Beautiful setup here, I love the final result, and some great tips.. Thanks so much as always, Aviv, your videos and interviews are AMAZING!!

    • coachaviv says:

      Yosef, once you start taking away light, “cutting light,” you open up a whole new level man. Show us what you got!

  3. Shmuel says:

    Really great lighting. It looks f!@#$% amazing, Aviv.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. David says:

    I have never really liked traditional 3 point lighting. I have been using a similar light set up with out the negative fill. The negative is a nice addition. It adds a nice flavor. Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. Alex says:

    Great. Thank you for all the hard work and enthusiasm!


  6. Sylvester Ravi says:

    Thx a lot ….

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