Lighting 101: Understanding Light Quality

Lighting 101: Understanding Light Quality

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There are many places light can come from. Some lights are soft and some are hard. Being able to shape your light, whether it’s soft or hard, will make you more versatile on set. Additionally, knowing what to do in order to make a light harder or softer will help you create the most out of any light source. Today on 4 Minute Film School, we discuss the different ways of softening your light and compare the way each technique will affect the look of your lighting.

In this video, Matt from the A-Team outlines the differences between hard light and soft light. He also goes over the different ways you can soften your light. First, he goes over what diffusion is and what it can do to your light. Next, he goes over how to bounce your light and why that makes it softer. Lastly, he shows techniques for mixing different softening approaches.

The main techniques used in this video are softening light, and mixing light qualities. Softening light refers to any technique that makes your light source create softer shadow falloff and creates less hot spots in reflection. The two main ways to soften a light is to diffuse it or bounce it. Mixing light qualities means mixing soft light and hard light. Each one by itself can make a scene look flat or too harsh. Having a balance will add amazing shape and dimensionality to your images.

There are so many types of lights out there, and it can be hard to keep them straight. But a lot of them do the same job when it comes to light quality. Understanding what makes a fixture produce hard light or soft light will help inform your lighting decisions in the future. The more you know about the tools at your disposal, the better you will be able to use those tools to tell your story.

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