by | Feb 14, 2020 | Production, Trending | 0 comments


by | Feb 14, 2020 | Production, Trending | 0 comments

Production team members often use specific terms to describe light position and purpose. If you’d like to be more familiar and comfortable with lighting on set, you’ll need to learn how to describe lighting. Here’s some of the basics so you can communicate and learn with more clarity:

The key light is the most intense light source affecting the subject. This light will dictate the most prominent highlights and shadows. 

The fill light illuminates or softens shadows.

A side light is placed to the side of a subject, often to highlight an edge.

An edge light or “kicker” is similar to a side light, but it is usually positioned at a diagonal and more behind the subject.

A hair light is often positioned directly above the subject. With portraits, this light creates a flattering highlight on hair. 

A back light is positioned behind the subject, often creating an outline, spotlight effect, or flare.

A background light is typically positioned away from the subject, towards the background.

Lights are often described in terms of their relation to the subject. If there is one key light and two fills, one fill may be called “Top Fill” (above the subject) and one may be called “Front Fill” (in front of the subject). These terms facilitate communication during a shoot when light position or settings need to be adjusted.

For more information on lighting setup, styles, and techniques, check out our Lighting section in the Fundamentals.