Five Lighting Techniques Used to Create Emotion in Film

Five Lighting Techniques Used to Create Emotion in Film

Five Lighting Techniques Used to Create Emotion in Film

A grip in the film industry focuses on capturing the vision of the Director using techniques that set the emotion in a scene with the lighting alone. Grip lighting techniques can achieve a real lighting effect, focus on actor or prop, creating hopeful or hopeless tones to set the mood, and so much more. Below you will learn about some grip lighting techniques they use in film to create emotion.  There are many techniques used by grips to set the emotion and scene of a film. Each technique accomplishes something unique, and some techniques rely on or work with others for additional effects. Here are 5 of the most used grip lighting techniques in the film industry to create mood and emotion.

Natural Lighting

Okay so the first one is hardly a technique. Natural lighting is exactly as it sounds. It is the natural illuminate of the scene’s location. Keep in mind, this lighting changes every hour of the day. If you are planning to film at a location, you will generally want to scout it out first to plan for lighting. Natural lighting uses other techniques and tools to enhance and set moods for scenes, that is why planning accordingly is so important.

Fill Lighting

Other lighting (key light primarily) will create shadows. A fill light will cancel those shadows out. It works by being placed opposite of the key light, with a weaker light, to remove the shadows created. Fill lighting doesn't cast a shadow or create characteristics of its own.

Key Lighting

As the primary source of light for most scenes, the key light is the most direct and intense lighting technique. Its primary function is to highlight the actor, subject, or focal point of the scene. It creates a dramatic mood, and often is accompanied by fill lighting.


Backlights give the three-dimensional feel to the frame. As the name implies, it hits the focus point, which is typically an object or actor, from the back. The lighting is placed higher than the camera's subject of focus. Backlights give more depth and shape.

Bounce Lighting

Bounce Lighting is a technique that is used with other lighting methods to create an area of light that is more evenly spread. This lighting technique will bolster any film lighting technique. It is done by using whiteboards or white cards to bounce light for indirect lighting on a frame. It is ideal for soft light, fill light, top side or even backlighting.

There are other types of lighting techniques, and so many more secrets of the film industry that all rely on grip lighting to set the scene, mood, and frame's focus.  Contact Tiki Grip Electric for all your lighting and grip equipment needs today.

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