Lighting for Filmmakers

Lighting Tips and Tricks for independent filmmakers!

  • Co-sponsored by the University of Washington’s Experimental College
  • The fall dates for this class will be scheduled soon.
  • Where: University of Washington campus in Seattle.
  • Tuition: $99 for general public; $95 for UW students (plus $10 reg. fee)
  • Sign up now using the Take Class link below.

General Public: $99 tuition 

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University of Washington students: $95 tuition  

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lighting-class1In this enjoyable hands-on class, you’ll learn how to use professional lighting techniques to add polish and professionalism to your films and videos. You’ll learn lighting theory and get practical hands-on experience setting up lights for different effects. You’ll learn all about:

  • buying lights on a budget: how to buy film lights affordably, without breaking the bank
  • types of film lights, and how to use them
  • how to film indoors 
  • how to film outdoors, in sunlight or cloudy conditions 
  • lighting for mood and genre
  • how to light commercials
  • how to light documentary interviews
  • how to light action scenes in movies
  • how to light dramas
  • how to light film-noir style
  • how to light romantic comedies
  • how to use lighting to enhance the depth of field in your shots
  • how to light a green screen 
  • how to use focusable lights
  • ways to avoid common lighting problems and mistakes
  • and much more.

Whether you’re making home movies for the fun of it…making promotional videos or commercials for your business …making videos to upload to popular websites… or making your own movies to submit to film festivals… the information in this class can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your movies and videos.

Day-5-Michael-lightingQuestions and answers

Question: Is this a hands-on class or a theory class?
Answer: It’s both. Students will learn about lighting theory, and will also have an opportunity to set up the lights in class and see the results recorded using a high quality prosumer camcorder.

Question: How is this class different from the Crash Course in Filmmaking course?
Answer: In that class, we talk about lighting during one meeting (and also cover a lot of information about camera angles, audio, visual storytelling, and more. In this workshop. we’ll have the whole day to actually move lights around and film scenes in different kinds of lighting. About 10 percent of the information overlaps; the rest is unique to this class.

Question: Can we bring our own camcorders to class?
Answer: You don’t need to have a camcorder to benefit from the class, but if you have one you’d like to use, feel free to bring it.

Question: What if I have a cheap camcorder? Will I still be able to get nice lighting results?
Answer: The quality of your camcorder is less important that your knowledge of lighting. Even if you’re filming with a cell phone camera, your video footage will look better if it’s properly lit.

Day-8-MichaelStudent comments on our film and lighting classes:

The lighting class was great. I went into it knowing zero… I loved the hands-on time and seeing difference it made to light things more professionally. I can honestly say your class made a huge difference in my films. M.P., Seattle

Thanks for the class Nils. It was well organized and I liked that you brought in models and that we got to practice the stuff you were showing us. The class is a good public service. J.R., Seattle

Thanks for all the tips, and for demonstrating the safe way to set up lighting. R.W., Seattle

I wish I’d taken your class before I started filming! My footage looks so much better now that I know how to set up lights correctly. IW.O., Bothell

I loved the part about depth of field.. my movies are looking one hundred percent more professional. Karen E, Seattle

It was fun taking your class then going out to P.A. on two movies… in the first one, the guy was using a high def camcorder, very high tech and expensive, but getting terrible footage. In the second one, the director had a cheaper camcorder, it was standard def, but he got beautiful footage. I could see him setting things up exactly like you showed us in class. It really is all about lighting. Thanks for all of the tips. Chris W., Tacoma

Thanks for showing us how to make a low budget movie look great. H.T., Seattle

You took me from doing amateurish films to making the kind of movies I had been trying to. Thank you for all of your help. Jerry W. Kent