Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey

Introduction to backlight


From:

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Introduction to backlight

One of my favorite types of light to work with is backlight. You may be more familiar with it as a hair light, but it's also known as a kicker or rim light. These are all different names for slight variations of a light that illuminates a subject from behind. Rather than the more common frontal placement for lights on our subject. The primary and most important use of back lighting is to help separate your subject from the background by giving them a nice well defined edge of light that helps to visually carve them out from the scene behind them. Kind of like adding a line or stroke to a picture for an illustration.
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  1. 15m 59s
    1. Seven tips for better managing your crew NEW
      3m 13s
    2. Get it all on paper first NEW
      2m 6s
    3. Learn to delegate NEW
      2m 12s
    4. Hiring is half the work NEW
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    5. Understand how each person likes to work NEW
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    6. Feed them good food NEW
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    7. Learn to speak their language NEW
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    8. Goodbye NEW
      1m 35s
  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
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  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
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    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
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    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
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  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
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    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
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    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
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    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
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  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
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  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
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  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
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    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
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  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
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    2. Working with monopods
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  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
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    3. Dealing with lens fog
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    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
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    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s
  25. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  26. 15m 5s
    1. Taking 10 pounds off your subject
      4m 1s
    2. Dealing with nose shadows
      3m 3s
    3. Lighting different skin tones
      2m 55s
    4. Putting makeup on your subject
      5m 6s
  27. 10m 4s
    1. Types of cookies
      4m 6s
    2. Making your own custom cookies
      2m 47s
    3. Controlling the look of a cookie
      3m 11s
  28. 18m 11s
    1. Introduction to shooting sports footage
      1m 15s
    2. Getting good coverage for your sport shoot
      5m 55s
    3. Camerawork for shooting sports videos
      5m 4s
    4. Gear to bring on your sports shoot
      4m 52s
    5. Wrapping up
      1m 5s
  29. 8m 34s
    1. Tips for using bounce light
      8m 34s
  30. 21m 43s
    1. Video portrait intro
      1m 51s
    2. Video portrait camera work
      13m 32s
    3. Considerations for a video portrait interview
      4m 11s
    4. Bonus: Finished video portrait
      2m 9s
  31. 9m 48s
    1. Shooting at 24p
      3m 2s
    2. Using depth of field
      1m 37s
    3. Lighting for a film look
      1m 18s
    4. Using filters
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    5. Getting a film look with software
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  32. 38m 57s
    1. Introduction to professional car rigs
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    2. Attaching a side mount rig
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    3. Mounting a speed rail rig
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    4. Hood suction mount
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    5. Car rig safety tips
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  33. 14m 3s
    1. Manipulating the size of people
      6m 12s
    2. Manipulating the size of buildings
      2m 59s
    3. Making crowds look more crowded
      4m 52s
  34. 12m 32s
    1. Introduction to lighting cars
      5m 13s
    2. Lighting the car from outside
      3m 10s
    3. Lighting the car from inside
      4m 9s
  35. 13m 46s
    1. Packing your gear for air travel
      6m 8s
    2. What to do at the airport
      4m 39s
    3. Getting on the plane
      2m 59s
  36. 15m 53s
    1. Why you should hire an editor
      1m 29s
    2. Working with editors during pre-production
      3m 33s
    3. Working with editors during shooting
      4m 3s
    4. Working with editors after your shoot
      4m 18s
    5. Final tips on working with editors
      2m 30s
  37. 7m 46s
    1. Tips on avoiding scam film festivals
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  38. 5m 22s
    1. 36. Four common budgeting mistakes
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  39. 12m 13s
    1. 10 Filmmaking Lessons...I Learned the Hard Way
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  40. 9m 38s
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  41. 18m 56s
    1. Tips on boosting your production value
      1m 46s
    2. Shooting with a shallow depth of field
      1m 36s
    3. Great audio and sound design
      2m 44s
    4. Keep your shots steady
      2m 32s
    5. Keep your camera moving
      2m 29s
    6. Location, location, location
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    7. Adding appropriate titles and FX
      1m 56s
    8. Hiring a colorist
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  42. 11m 19s
    1. Positioning yourself for the interview
      2m 29s
    2. Settings for camera and audio
      5m 57s
    3. Using a second camera
      2m 53s
  43. 8m 5s
    1. Tips on shooting an interview with one camera
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    2. Faking reverse shots and cutaways
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  44. 8m 58s
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  45. 4m 35s
    1. Adjusting SMPTE color bars
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  46. 11m 32s
    1. Introduction to shooting discreetly
      1m 1s
    2. Scouting locations for a stealth shoot
      1m 47s
    3. Traveling and shooting low profile
      1m 25s
    4. Recording audio discreetly
      1m 25s
    5. Using discreet cameras and camerawork
      2m 22s
    6. Running interference
      1m 24s
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      1m 13s
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      55s
  47. 5m 44s
    1. Five things you can do when your production stalls out
      5m 44s
  48. 10m 44s
    1. Why to use an Interrotron
      3m 50s
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      2m 50s
  49. 6m 3s
    1. Five ways to achieve shallow depth of field
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  50. 9m 41s
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  51. 16m 23s
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    2. Do your homework
      2m 39s
    3. Test the gear out
      4m 13s
    4. Get the best rate on your rental
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    5. Getting all the manuals
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      2m 48s
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  52. 4m 36s
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  53. 3m 49s
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  54. 3m 0s
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      3m 0s
  55. 14m 0s
    1. 10 Tips for Shooting Live Events
      14m 0s
  56. 15m 22s
    1. Understanding the challenges of shooting live events
      3m 21s
    2. Shooting for the cut
      5m 20s
    3. Getting neutral shots and cutaways
      3m 51s
    4. Bonus: Final edited video
      2m 50s
  57. 14m 2s
    1. Tips for recording audio at live events
      1m 51s
    2. Plugging into a mixing board
      5m 52s
    3. Mic'ing the instruments
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    4. Mic'ing the speakers
      1m 55s
    5. Using a shotgun mic
      2m 38s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pro Video Tips
11h 47m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated May 12, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

Subject:
Video
Author:
Anthony Q. Artis

Introduction to backlight

One of my favorite types of light to work with is backlight. You may be more familiar with it as a hair light, but it's also known as a kicker or rim light. These are all different names for slight variations of a light that illuminates a subject from behind. Rather than the more common frontal placement for lights on our subject. The primary and most important use of back lighting is to help separate your subject from the background by giving them a nice well defined edge of light that helps to visually carve them out from the scene behind them. Kind of like adding a line or stroke to a picture for an illustration.

Traditional photography and video advice has always recommend that you generally keep your back to the sun or main light source so the light can fall on the subject's face. And, that's generally good advice for amateur image makers. However, backlighting completely throws that novice rule out of a sunlit window. One of the things that comes with experience is learning how and when to break the rules and still make it look good. That's why I like back lighting so much. It's kind of like the anti hero of video lighting. It's a rule breaker that gets results.

If Lady Gaga were a film light. She'd be a backlight. So let's dive in and talk about the different types of backlights, exposure strategies, and some common problems to look out for.

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