5 Top Tips for Lighting
on a Low Budget

By Chris Thomas

1) Recce

Your DoP and director need to visit each location you are utilising at the appropriate time of day for the shoot. Checking available light sources and reflective surfaces is important to planning your lighting.

2) Cast a Shadow

Lighting is as much about shadow as it is illumination, this where both atmosphere and relief is created. Hard direct Light creates strong shadows, soft diffused lights almost no shadow.

3) Conceal

Make sure you have heatproof material such as ‘black wrap’ and aluminium flags for shaping the light and blocking unnecessary ‘spill’

4) Reflect 

Bouncing light off different types of reflective surface will give a lot more control and texture than just pointing lights directly at the subject and set. There are many purpose built reflector such as the Lastolite range and even Balloons used to redirect large lights such as the Sun.

5) Know your limits 

Lighting requires power and most domestic and small industrial supplies have a load limit. Your gaffer or lighting tech needs to know how much can be safely plugged in and err on the side of caution. You don’t need lights going pop or worse blowing an un-reachable fuse-box in the middle of your lovely shot.


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