One of the most common mistakes in amateur filmmaking is capturing footage of a backlit subject. Often this happens while panning, when a brightly lit background enters the frame. Everything in the foreground suddenly turns dark as the camcorder?s metering system measures the bright sky o rlight streaming in through an open window.
There are three basic ways to combat backlighting
- Use a reflector or video lights to add illumination to the subject
- Lock your exposure on your subjects so they don?t silhouette when the camera pans to a backlit scene. Avoid this lighting all together.
- Reflectors and video lights are helpful in backlit situations where you want to balance the background with the subject.
A common scenario is one in which you place the camera on alow angle and shoot upward at the subject with a beautiful ?fluffy-cloud sky? in the background. You want to capture both the sky and the subject.
To do so, you?ll need to add enough light to your model, with reflectors or video lights, so that both the sky and the subjecthave about the same level of exposure.
If you don?t care about preserving detail in the background,such as when filming in front of an open window, use yourcamcorder?s exposure compensation control to lock in theexposure on the subject. Your model will remain adequately exposed,but the background will ?blow out??in other words, become bright white with no detail.
You may have thought that option three, avoid backlighting all together, was a flippant suggestion. Actually it?s not. Once you understand what causes backlighting?when the backgroundis much brighter than the subject?you?ll find that simply changing your camera position to avoid it is the easiest solution of all.
Last update: 07:54 PM Wednesday, October 19, 2005