What Is Key Lighting?

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Key lighting is the main lighting source that is used in filmmaking. Learn about the importance of the ratio between key lights and fill lights with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jared Drake and I'm a going to talk to you about key lighting. Key light is your main light source. It is this light on me right now. The ratio between your key light and your fill light is an important ratio because it defines how harsh and how moody you want your scene to feel. It establishes the tone. A lot of times a nice diffused key light is really nice because it kind of wraps around shadows. There is not really harsh shadows. There is a very soft very nice natural light that is easy to shoot. To get a diffused key light you can use a soft box which is a big box the light goes in to and just defuses every where. You can use a keno flow which is kind of a fluorescent light. It's very soft, how it projects or you can bounce your key light off a white board or some type of bounce or maybe just a white wall that the light will bounce off the wall and kind of come in and fill in the shadows nicely. It all depends on what you want. The key light is where you first light and everything else, your fill lights, your back lights and everything else evolves off of that.

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