Lighting For Drama

In drama the vital tip for lighting is to light from behind the 180 degree line. When you light from the front the subjects become very flat against the background, you can add some backlight but the dominant key light works much more effectively when starting from behind the subject. Obviously by crossing the 180 degree line with lights you then need to consider the framing of the shot and make sure equipment isn’t visible. By placing the lighting behind it adds depth and instantly creates something moody and stylisation, once the backlight/key has been established you can then introduced fill light as appropriate. The best way to think about lighting for drama is using wide shots for dramatic lighting, and close ups for the quality of light.

001 Kino

Building upon this lighting system further you can introduce softer fill light. In this scenario we opted to switch the Kinoflo Diva for Dedos as the Diva is better suited as a softer fill light. The Dedos are great key lights as they are hard and focusable, in additional their intensity can be easily be controlled with the slider. The following demonstrates the change in light, with the Dedos acting as key/back light and the Divas keeping very dim for subtle fill to keep detail in the subjects faces.

002 Kino Dedo



When changing for a close up the quality of light on the face is much more important than the dramatic requirements for a wider shot. Rather than having to make do with the existing lighting setup you can cheat the shot by replicating the same light sources with a different combination of lights. The Kinoflo Diva is beautiful for wrapping around a subjects face and making their faces come to life, personally I could quite happily function off this light alone in combination with Dedos for all future projects.

003 Close Up

The difference between the Kinoflo Diva and Dedo lights are obvious, they each have their own aesthetic look and primary function. Up until now I always had a conflict between the Dedo and ARRI lights as both share the same primary function, having spent some time working with the Dedos today I can safely conclude they are the better light. The ARRIs come across almost primitive, they are very theatrical and chunky, I think in the past they may have been useful but the modern day cameras don’t need them. Dedos are much more lightweight, controllable and produce a better quality of light than the ARRIs. In addition I have now been introduced to the dichroic filters for the Dedos, this is a glass element that is inserted in front of the lens to change the colour temperature to daylight. The main benefit is a clearer and more effective method than gels. Below shows the difference between a Dedo light and a Dedo light with a dichroic filter.


Lighting On Location

We took the lighting away from the studio to an example location of the issues faced with windows, glass, reflections, daylight and existing lights. We set ourselves the task of setting up an interview shot in front of a window. The first issue was composing the shot so we could remove any glare off the glass, by framing up diagonally it meant the reflection wasn’t head on to the camera. We then introduced some scenery for depth before moving onto lighting, in this scenario it was a potted plant in the background between the subject and the glass.

004 Location


We introduced the Dedo as a strong backlight, placing it the other side of the glass for the best angle and keeping it out of the frame. We then used a Kinoflo on the inside of the face at daylight temperature (matching the room), wrapping nicely around the subjects face. Below shows the effect of introducing the lights.

DSC00154Natural Light

DSC00153Dedo backlight from left of frame

DSC00152Dedo backlight and Kinoflo key light from right of frame


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