September 13, 2015

lighting breakdown blog
How much can we change a shot with lighting?



I challenged myself to get two completely different looks without moving the camera. The first one is purely lit by the sun, and the second is after dark, once we’ve set up some lights.



skyluxWestcott Skylux LED  skyluxWestcott Skylux LED
scrimWestcott Scrim Jim scrimWestcott Scrim Jim
fast flagsWestcott Fast Flags 24×36 fast flagsWestcott Fast Flags 24×36
c-standKupo C-Stand Kit cstandKupo C-Stand
lightstandLightweight Light Stand lightstandLightweight Light Stand
swivelManfrotto Swivel Head swivelManfrotto Swivel Head
reflector5-in-1 Reflector (43″) reflector5-in-1 Reflector (43″)


NATURAL LIGHT:natual light

This setup was largely down to finding the right location at the right time. It just happened to be a bright, sunny day, with the sun in the (almost) perfect place to come through the front window as a keylight. All I had to do was add some diffusion, and block the back two windows. Subtracting light is just as important as adding it! Camera was set to ISO 160, f/3.2, 1/48th.

natural diagram



Here the blinds are closed, providing the streaks of lights often used in Film Noir (some say for their relation to the bars of a jail cell). At the back is a Westcott Skylux, pointed at the background, but carefully positioned so the character remains in silhouette while sitting on the chair. The key light is placed about 10ft high without any diffusion to simulate the studio lighting that would have been used to film something like Sunset Blvd or Double Indemnity. Although not shown on the diagram, I did also setup a flag to prevent the keylight spilling through the middle window. Camera was set to ISO 320, f/2.8, 1/48th.

lit diagram





A photo posted by Simon Cade (@cadevisuals) on



Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Justin Eunson

    Simon Cade is great and I look forward to his videos every week. I look up to him and he is just a great filmmaker. I hope to be as good as you one day. I’m 11 years old. Keep up the great work Simon!! Also this video is great.