Lighting - 3 Point System
A basic lighting setup for Stop Motion animation should include at least 2
lamps to light up your scene and reduce or avoid shadows.
However you should ideally have up to
4 light sources or lamps. But don't be put off, 2 will work
quiet well. If you are using 4 lamps then they are categorised
- A Back light -
to illuminate the subject from behind.
- A Background light
- to illuminate the background of a shot.
- A Key light - the
main light source illuminating your subject or
- A Fill light - to
illuminate or fill in shadows and reduce contrast.
The use of four lights is
called three-point lighting. But you said four lights or
lamps..I know but the background light is not counted really as
it does not illuminate your subject but more the backdrop to
your characters or subject.
The combination of the four lights placed in
the right position, with the correct intensity and with the
right quality will create an excellent effect.
Firstly the "Key Light" is the main light that
you will use for your brickfilms. It important that your key
light is not too hard or too soft. By this we mean too bright or
too dull (soft). If your light is very bright you can tone it
greaseproof paper (also known as cooking paper / wax paper).
We will talk more about this in our "brickfilm lighting
tutorial" in the tutorial section.
This is the main
light. It is usually the strongest and
has the greatest influence on the look
of the scene. It is placed to one side
of the camera/subject at anything from
15 to 45 degrees so that this side is
nicely lit and the other side has some
This is the secondary
light and is placed on the opposite side
of the key light. It is used to fill the
shadows created by the key. The fill is
usually be softer in tone and less
bright than the key. To achieve this
effect, you could move the light further
away or use greaseproof paper.
The back light is
placed behind the subject and lights it
from the rear. Rather than providing
direct lighting (like the key and fill),
its purpose is to provide definition and
subtle highlights around the subject's
outlines. This helps separate the
subject from the background and provide
a three-dimensional look.
The fourth light will be called the
background light and can be used to illuminate the
background of the set.
Daylight is an alternative to artificial lights. However, the
problem with relying on sunlight is that the sun moves in the
sky throughout the day. Shadows will move on your set following
the path of the sun. Clouds and other objects in the path of
your light will cause unexpected shadows that you may or may not
notice until after you have finished shooting your footage. If
you do shoot by sunlight, be sure to work in the middle of the
day when the sun's position in the sky remains fairly
There are problems that you will encounter when lighting
brickfilms that you would not normally encounter when filming
people or other larger subjects and they are caused by their
small size and their high reflectivity.
Even when using the 3 point lighting system described you still
may get white spots on you characters or bricks because they are
so shiny and reflective. However if you do encounter this then
either move your lights back from the characters or use more
greaseproof paper. Experimentation is the only way you will get
it right in time as every bodies setup will be invariably