Cinematic Lighting 101 | How to Use Hard Light

Cinematic Lighting 101 | How to Use Hard Light

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Being able to use hard light with deliberation is an essential skill for every cinematographer, and can be a technique that is difficult to master. Director of Photography Megan Stacey guides us through 2 cinematic scenes using hard light, while also covering 4 important factors to consider, when using hard light to achieve a cinematic look.

Hard light is a quality of light that comes from a small relative source and has strong, defined shadows. These features allow you to creatively shape the light; creating interesting shadows and patterns. In addition, using haze creates atmospheric shafts of light. Using hard light allows you to create cinematic depth and visual interest in your images.

The four concepts Megan discusses in this video include light direction, light quality, light shape, and the utilization of haze. Megan uses these factors in two different scenes that explore stylistic lighting accomplished with both household items, and film set standards.

After learning how to effectively use hard light, you’ll have another essential tool for creating your own cinematic frames. Soft light is not always the desired look for an image. In addition, you’ll learn how to improvise on set, and use limited resources to set your work apart.

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