Key Tips You MUST Consider When Backlighting Your Subject

May 10th, 2021  |  by amaliehluthra

Key tips for backlighting:

Backlighting is an essential part of filmmaking. You must learn how to backlight your subject on set correctly and utilise the effect to the best of your ability; backlighting is a skill in itself.

Using backlighting correctly can ensure you achieve that cinematic feel to your shot and elevate the quality of your film production to the highest level. And, it doesn’t have to be expensive at all.

A correctly placed backlight and the perfect shot composition will enable you to capture a crisp shot with the perfect backlight.

In today’s article, we will look at the key tips you must consider when backlighting your subject to achieve a concise picture.

Let’s check them out below.

Key Tips You MUST Consider When Backlighting Your Subject

Here’s the list you’ve been waiting for. Our breakdown of the Key Tips You MUST Consider When Backlighting Your Subject.

Create separation

This is essential. When you have your background similar shade to your subject, it can all blend into one. Creating a contrast between the two creates separation, whether it’s distance, colour, or contrasts to help create a distinct picture.

If not, you’ll find that you can have an image that kind of blends into one and leave a terrible blur. You want to keep a crisp picture.

Use a backlight when using the 3-point setup.

Yeah, this points to a simple one, but incredibly effective. This will complement your side or fill lights with the key light creating a great picture. It’s mainly used in the low key setup, but you can implement this with the high key lighting setup.

It gives you an even spread of light, one that will create depth to the image and crispen up the detail. The low key will allow you to create an atmosphere, build tension and achieve depth within the shot.

The quality of light is integral!

This is essential and echoes a similar point from why you must create separation between the subject and light. Poor quality light can cause the picture to become overexposed and sometimes just grainy.

That’s not what you want. You want to achieve a crisp, clear picture, and that doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands on a lighting setup. You can find great quality lights at a low cost all over the web (of course, within reason. Make sure they’re safe).

Read the reviews and choose one that’s affordable but will provide you with a high-quality light source.

Create tension and drama with it

Using a backlight can create tension and drama within the scene. The perfect partner uses the low key lighting setup to ensure you capture a scene with light contrast that’s sharp and deep.

If you have a dramatic scene or a pivotal scene, you need to convey specific information - the backlit shot will do wonders of drawing in the audience with gripping visuals.

A great technique used in horrors and action films.


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