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Videography and Photography Lighting - Hard and Soft Light

with Nicole Michaelis

This video introduces the topic of Hard and Soft Light for Videography and Photography Lighting, or coherence.

Transcript: Videography and Photography Lighting - Hard and Soft Light

Hi, I'm Leann Bello with About.com Gadgets.

Introduction to Videography and Photography Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for communicating your visual ideas. Knowing the essential qualities of light and how to use them can help you to convey a particular mood, tell a story, document an event, or simply make your home videos look better.

Qualities of Lighting

One of the most essential qualities of light is whether it is hard or soft light. This video will show you the difference between the two types of light and how to create them.

What is Hard Lighting?

Hard light is what you naturally see on bright sunny days. It comes directly from one source.
Because it hits the object from just one direction, hard light leaves many areas unlit, creating dramatic shadows.
Details in the subject, whether living or inanimate, are brought into high relief.
Movies from the early days of cinema, especially films noir, used hard light. Look for the shadows in these films.

Videography and Photography Hard Lighting Technique:

You can create hard light with a bare bulb or any single source of light, like the light from a window on a sunny day. The closer the light is to the subject, the harder the light will be; the harder the light, the sharper your shadow edges will look. This strong shadow edges are an essential characteristic of hard lighting and they are what gives it its dramatic appeal.
But this strong play between shadow and light can sometimes be distracting or unpleasant.
Another way to minimize this shadow is by employing fill light. Fill light is a softer light source aimed at the shadowed areas of your subject. The fill light can be achieved by bouncing the light of your main source using a reflecting surface. Place the bounce board at the opposite side of your main light source, aiming it towards the shadows in your subject. You can now increase the amount of fill light you want for your subject by moving the bounceboard closer or farther away. The closer to the subject, the more fill light it will get. This lets you change the overall contrast of your image.

What is Soft Lighting?

Soft light is what you naturally have on overcast days or in department stores with overhead fluorscents. This type of light wraps around the object uniformly and reduces the severity of the shadows.
Soft light can be more flattering in portraiture, as it reduces the detail level in the face, making it easier to hide imperfections.

Videography and Photography Soft Lighting Technique:

To create soft light, you have to diffuse or scatter the light coming from your source. You can achieve this in two ways:
1. Place a diffusing material in front of the light
or
2. Bounce the light off of a reflective surface.

Diffusion paper, spun glass, or sheer fabrics can be placed in front of the light. These supplies are manufactured for professional photographers and cinematographers, but the same principle may be applied at home with a little ingenuity. However, you must be careful not to place any paper or fabric directly on a light, as this is a fire hazard.
Paper lanterns. Are a convenient way to soften the light of incandescent bulbs for videography, or in your home.
Bounce boards, umbrellas, and bouncing off a surface like a wall or ceiling will also create soft light. A light with a diffusion in front has the advantage that Light has an advantage that it is easier to manipulate than soft light created with diffusion.
An easy way to make a room look good for home videos is to place sheer, light curtains over windows on sunny days. It creates soft, flattering light

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