Today I want to discuss how important lighting is.
It is good to have a couple of studio lights to have more control over your lighting. If you are just getting started, you don’t have to buy a ton of gear, use what you have! If you only have a couple home lights, you can still get good lighting.
First, point the light at the subject you are filming and see if it looks good. There are high chances that the shadows will be falling harshly because most home lights or studio lights are small. The smaller the light source is, the sharper the shadows are. That is why the shadows of the sun are very sharp, and the shadows of the sun behind clouds are blurry. To make your lamp a bigger light source, grab a piece of paper and tape it to the lamp, and you will get softer shadows.
The second thing is to place the light source correctly. When making movies they place lights in many positions to achieve different looks. However, there are positions that can be challenging to deal with, like placing your light in front of the camera. The audience cannot see shadows in this case, which does not improve the picture. This type of lighting is called flat lighting.
What you want to do instead, is to place the light a little higher and to the side of the camera. This is the most common light position, and it looks much better on people’s faces. You can make this effect more dramatic by adjusting the light, so only one side of the person’s face is lit. This kind of lighting is called split lighting and it is used in movies very frequently.
Most of the time people use 3 lights in portrait photography: a fill, a key, and a backlight. The key light is your main light source. A fill light fills in the shadows of your subject. And a backlight is used to light up your subject from the back, which creates an outline around it.
If you want to make your CGI look better, you should also pay attention lighting.
For example, if you are using fire, the light from that CGI fire should be hitting objects in your scene, as a real fire does. For that, use lights that flicker, or wave your hands in front of one of them.
Another example, if you want to film during daytime and later want it to look like a night scene, then don’t film in bright and harsh sunlight unless you want to create a “moon effect”.