Lighting and Greenscreens

In today’s lesson, we learned about ‘three-point lighting’, we had covered this before in the past with our Maya Basic’s unit, but are returning to it in terms of photography and film. We discuss the setup, what equipment you can use to affect the lighting, and considerations to take place before filming with greenscreens.

What are the lights:

here we goooo
Figure 1: Diagram of a basic three-point lighting setup, including camera angles and light intensities. Source here
  1. Key Light: This is the main light source in the shot
  2. Fill Light: A dimmer light source that’s opposite to the key light, this is to highlight the detail on objects and to fill shadows.
  3. Back Light: This lights the back of the character or object to separate them from the background. This makes it easier to separate them from the background in post.

Other ways to light your subject:

Lighting Aids:

You can put coloured gels or materials over your lights, which can overlap to create different coloured lighting, when using greenscreens this can make post-production easier as there won’t be any need to colour-correct your scene, as it should already match the planned environment you’ll be adding in.

Figure 2: Image of lighting gels / aids. Source here


These include mirrors, silver, golden or white foil sheets, or any sort of reflective material, they can be used to manipulate the direction of light by using these as a surface for it to bounce off of, and redirect to where it is needed in the shot. You can also use it to prevent silhouettes when using bright back lights.

Figure 3: Image of a variety of reflectors that can be used when filming. Source here

Barn doors:

 These are light modifiers that can shape and direct the path of light with the use of its four hinged doors around the light source, the set up of the door can be changed to affect the shape of size of the light that is being shone.

Figure 4: Image of a lighting set up with barn doors. Source here


This is what you can use to dim the light source, whether it be manually or using a piece of material in front to create a brighter or softer lighting condition and or to spread it out and not have it focus on one place.

Figure 5: Picture of LED lighting, making it easier to alter the intensity of light. Source here

Working with the Greenscreens:

What to keep in mind:

  • Shadows: We have to keep in mind that no shadows are being projected onto the greenscreen when recording, as it will add another shade of green for you to separately get rid of in post production.
  • Creases in the curtain: You must avoid creases to ensure that there are no variations in the green, as the creases would cause shadows, to avoid this you can use weights to hold down the screen.
  • Evenly lit: You must make sure the greenscreen is as evenly lit as possible to keep the shade of green pure, this will make keying things easier in post.
  • Lighting Plan: This is a diagram of the set up you will need to efficiently light up the set.

In the studio, we went through how to remove shadows from the green using the lighting, below are the pictures taken in this time.

Below is a video test to test if we had shadows showing:

And here are some pictures of our final lighting setup results:

Figure 6: First shot without final setup.
Figure 7: Second shot, with an almost profile shot

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