How to Use 3-point Lighting

Three-point lighting

If microphones are essential to the quality of your podcast, lighting is essential for video. If you’re doing quick and informal clips, you may be able to get away with your handheld camera or iPhone and use the available light.

Sometimes you want something more professional-looking, such as studio-based interviews and pieces to camera. For this you will need some ‘continuous lighting’. This means studio lights that stay on all the time, as opposed to flash lighting used in still photography. You will need a minimum of two lights – and ideally three. You can get these from a good photographic shop, or have a look on eBay. You can even buy continuous lighting on Amazon.

For a professional studio look, use three-point lighting, arranged as shown in the diagram. Your main or ‘key’ light is the primary lighting source for your subject. The second light is to fill in the shadows, and should be used with a diffuser. The third light is above and slightly behind your subject’s head, and separates him or her from the background with a halo of light. You will see this technique used on any TV show with talking-head punditry – look out for it.

Here are a few example of interviews shot using three-point lighting.

Find out more about producing online video in Chapter 8 of Get Up to Speed with Online Marketing.

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