What Is Frontal Lighting?

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In filmmaking, frontal lighting is basically having one light that comes from, or near, the camera and shines forward. Discover how frontal lighting is used to hide wrinkles on a person's face 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

My name is Jared Drake and I'm going to talk to you about frontal lighting. Frontal lighting is basically having one light that comes from the camera or near the camera and it shines forward. Typically it's a very easy light to setup, especially for interviews and you throw the light up quickly, it should be a soft light and what you try to do is you try to get what they call the butterfly effect under the nose. If you do it right, you'll see a little shadow right down here, a very soft shadow beneath the nose. And what it does is it makes the face very flat so you don't have a lot of harsh lines, you don't see wrinkles, you don't see pock marks, whatever, I don't know. It's a very flattering light, a lot of actresses require that they have some type of front light so they look pretty. Along with your front light you can also have a key light, a fill light and a back light. They can all work together. And your front light should probably be a fairly diffused light. You don't want too harsh of a front light. It's going to create some very direct shadows, very harsh shadows. If you're throwing up a front light to just create like a nice cast onto your subject, get a soft box or bounce it off an umbrella or some type of balance board so that you have a soft light on your subject.


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