Environmental Lighting 

 In a realistic setting the lighting must enhance the environmental effect or atmosphere that the scene and staging suggests. The lighting must appear to the camera to be natural.

Walls should be shaded to darken toward the top, the shading usually starts about shoulder height. A wall with an outside window (in daylight) is usually darker than the others.

A lamp placed outside a window and above head height can give the appearance of sunlight as it casts shadows over the walls.

Backings such as flats painted with a scene or blue to represent sky should be evenly lit.  More realism can be added by casting shadows from a branch of a tree etc.
Backings beyond internal doorways are shaded and lit slightly brighter than the main room to suggest distance.

Ceilings are not normally built on studio sets.
on location care should be taken to ensure that the ceiling if it is to be seen is neither under lit or over lit.


 Practical  lamps
Wall lamps, table lamps candles, torches and sometimes fireplaces should be seen to be illuminating their immediate surroundings. Since these forms of lighting would have no effect against the level of light required for television it is necessary to 'cheat' by supplementing these with studio lamps.

Slight changes in colour temperature may suggest different times of day. Greater changes will suggest firelight, moonlight etc.
Moonlight can be simulated with blue gel over the lamps and the hard edge of spot lamps to suggest shafts of light from windows.
Firelight can be achieved with amber gelled lamps positioned low and pointing up.  Have assistants move sticks with rows of cloth strips hanging from them in front of the lamps to create the flickering effect.

Contrast ratio
Remember to keep the contrast ratio to within the limits that the television system can reproduce.  The usual maximum is a ratio of three to one between the subjects Key and the background.
Avoid large areas of white or black in the backgrounds unless the director intends to only shoot close-ups against them.

© R.H.Bannister. 1981

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