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Guide to film studio lighting

Film studio lighting is essential to all filmmaking endeavors because it creates the desired mood and ambiance as well as a sense of purpose for the audience. You'll need to master some of the fundamental lighting methods and types of lighting used in filmmaking if you want to work as a cinematographer, director, writer, or any other creative member of a film team. In this post, we will cover the following topics to help you learn more about it.

  1. What lighting techniques are used in film studios?
  2. How to set it up?
  3. What type of studio lights can you use for filmmaking?
  4. How to light up the film scenes properly?

COLBOR CL60 studio light for filming is used to set up the lighting for the fitness scene.

Film studio lighting techniques: 12 commonly used types

Lighting in cinematography and movies is quite similar to lighting in photography. Many of these techniques may be familiar to you, especially if you've done any studio photography in the past, but it's important to understand how they can uniquely aid filmmakers in generating diverse moods and atmospheres in every scene.

It's also worth noting that because these techniques aren't black and white, many of them can take the shape of other cinema lighting techniques. What important is that you understand what each is excellent for and can use them to achieve your cinematic goals. The various forms of film studio lighting are as follows:

  • Key lighting
  • Fill
  • Back
  • Side lighting
  • Practical light
  • Hard
  • Soft lighting
  • Bounce
  • High key
  • Low key
  • Motivated
  • Ambient

In the former post we have talked about the aforementioned lighting techniques and told how to achieve them. Read the article Guide to filming LED lights: Basics, lighting types & using issue if you want to know more.

Film studio lighting setup: 3-point lighting is basic but effective

There are multiple lighting setup options, but through time, one has proven to be extremely popular: the three-point basic lighting setup. The three points of lighting consist of the main light, back light, and fill light. This setup makes it easy to draw attention to the main character or subject of a scene and helps distinguish the characters from their surroundings.

Let's take a brief look at how it looks:

  • Key light: Direct your major and brightest source of light to one side of the performer, casting a little shadow on the other side of their face.
  • Fill: Place a second light on the opposite side of the performer to reduce any harsh shadows cast by the key light.
  • Back: The third light should be placed behind the performer to assist clarify and accent their features and contours.

This is one of the cornerstones of light for filming video. After you've mastered it, you'll be able to explore and finally master any lighting setting.

What type of film studio lighting equipment can you get at COLBOR?

Light bulbs and fixtures are necessary items for setting up film studio lighting. There are various types of film lighting equipment for you to choose from, including Tungsten, Fluorescent, HMI and LED lights, etc. As a company that aims to provide professional studio lights, COLBOR has introduced several models of lighting equipment featuring different power outputs.

Table: Quick view on specs

COLBOR has bi-color, daylight, and RGB studio lights for filming. Below we list some key specs you may concern about. If you want to know more details, Click Here to check their features.

Video light





≥ 97

≥ 97

≥ 97

Color Temperature

CL60: 2700K-6500K;

CL60M: 5600K;

CL60R: 2700K-6500K

CL100X: 2700K-6500K;

CL100XM: 5600K



Beam Angle

≈∠ 120° Reflector ≈∠ 15°

≈∠ 120° Reflector ≈∠ 15°

≈∠ 120° (With Standard Reflector 55°)



≥ 100W

100W (Constant Power)

Rated Power

80W (Max)

120W (Max Power)


Light Dimension(mm)








How to use film lighting in a studio properly?

While preparing lighting for a certain scene, you need consider numerous misé en scene factors such as framing, composition, camera motions, and so on. This will assist you in producing professional-looking film. Apart from learning all of the many film lighting techniques and setups, here's a quick round of tips on studio lighting for film photography.

Make it dark

If you want to know how much of an impact your different lighting sources will have. You must completely darken out all windows and other light sources. Any light spilling into the frame will have an effect on your shot. By removing them save the ones you're working with, you may get a much greater sense of the lighting influence.

Select the best angle of film studio lighting for your image

The angle at which the lighting for short films strikes your subject influences how the audience perceives it. A sidelight will give a person's face dimension and substance. In contrast, a frontal light makes faces look flat and boring. In that situation, lighting will aid to distinguish your topic from the backdrop. The height of the light will also have an effect on your photograph. Can an overhead light, for example, cast harsh shadows on the subject's face? An underlit subject, on the other hand, will look strange or eerie.

Adjust the color temperature to reflect the mood of the scene

The color temperature of the scene is an important cinematography factor. The color temperature scale ranges from "warm" light (represented by red, orange, and yellow) to "cool" light (represented by blue).
Assume you're filming a scenario in which the protagonists are standing in front of a neon light café sign. In such situation, you could wish to pair it with a bright red or magenta. Assume the characters are in front of a computer screen. In such scenario, use a bluish-green color adjustment to accentuate that on the character's face.

Decide proper light quality: Soft VS hard lighting

When it comes to light quality, there are two topics to discuss: soft and hard lighting. You've learned about each sort of film light, but do you know what they'll do to your footage?

Hard lighting falls directly on the subject, resulting in a very high contrast and powerful image. Since hard cinematic lighting readily directs and shapes, it is widely utilized for backlighting in film.

Soft film lighting, on the other hand, fades gradually from lighter to darker places. It's frequently used to fill in or make attractive images of the subject's face. Soft light covers a surface or subject more evenly than harsh light because the bounced or diverted beams of light are not parallel.

Understanding the difference between harsh and soft movie lighting is critical for your ability to effectively set up film studio lighting.