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Learn how to light scenes and interviews for documentaries.

Recording of live webinar broadcast on 19th May 2021

If you want to film well crafted sequences and interviews for documentary, then you need to understand how to light your subjects well.

I've been working in documentary and specialist factual, drama and commercials for over 30 years and I've encountered many different scenarios, all of which needed lighting. And lighting can range from simply using available light or a single fill light, to having a generator, gaffer, crew and 20 or more lighting units, and everything in between.


I've learned that almost all set ups have the same basic techniques in common and once you understand what these are, you can be confident to tackle most situations.


So, in this tutorial, I'll teach you the simple, basic techniques that you can use almost anywhere and put into practice immediately.

Using photographs, diagrams and clips from documentaries I've filmed, I'll talk through specific lighting setups, where the lights were placed and how each scene was achieved.


At the end of this class you'll come away with a much deeper understanding of lighting, some top tips and new skills that you can use straight away.

What you'll learn

  • How to see and understand light
  • How to use hard & soft lights
  • How to control and shape your light
  • How to use colour temperature to your advantage
  • How to light a documentary scene
  • How to light an interview
  • Which lights to use and where to place them
  • Dealing with reflections
  • How to analyse a scene and reproduce it for your own setups


Avg. Time

1 - Learning to see light

  • Why we need to light
  • What is "interview lighting"?
  • Learning to "see" light
  • Seeing what's around us

10 minutes

2 - How to light

  • Hard light & soft light
  • Controlling light
  • 3 point lighting
  • Interview lighting
  • Rembrandt lighting
  • Using colour
  • Creating a mood or a look
  • Dealing with reflections
  • Constructing an interview setup
  • Interview examples
  • Q&A

60 minutes