Understanding Various Kinds of Lighting Fixtures in Film

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A good lighting technician or gaffer must understand the various kinds of lighting fixtures in film. I have worked with different kinds and categories of lighting fixtures and lamp heads over the years. As a result, I understand not only how light interact with each other but also what best to combine to give a desired picture. My classification of lighting fixtures is first based on the quality and texture of the output and the number of source emitting the light. According to the quality and texture of the output we have LEDS, HMIs, Tungsten Lights, etc. For the purpose of this post, we would look at classification of fixtures according to the number of sources emitted from the light.

Various kinds of lighting fixtures

1. Single Sourced Lights

Single sourced lights like the name imply are lighting fixtures that have a single source of light emitting from a fixture. They are lights with only one point of light coming from the fixture. A good example is the Aputure 1200D.

A single sourced LED light

Single source lights are mostly hard light known for creating hard clearly defined shadows especially when they aren’t diffused. They can be lights can be LEDs, HMI or even Tungsten lamp heads.

2. Multi-source Lights

Multi-sourced lights on the other hand are the very opposite of single sourced lights. They are fixtures with that emit multiple sources of light. A very good example is the Aputure Amaran Mat Light

Multi-Source Light

Most times, multi-source lights cast multiple shadows on the subject when looked closely especially when they aren’t diffused. As a remedy, most of these fixtures are made with lighting modifiers like a diffusion cloth and even a crate. Once these lighting modifiers are attached to the lighting fixture, we have a more single source look. Also, another way to eliminate multiple shadows is by pointing the light away from the subject/object into a bounce card, white ceiling, or even a reflector.

A diffused multi-source light

3. Tube Lights

Tube Lights or stick lights as I love to call them are normally long narrow tubes housed in a frosted body. They offer soft, even illumination that can enhance the look and feel of your visual content. Most times, tube lights contain a series of LEDs which are arranged in rows along the length of the tube.

Tube lights

In addition, tube lights are used for multiple purposes in film because of how flexible they are. They are mostly used as practical lights within the frame. Over the years various lighting brands have manufactured different kinds and sizes of tube lights for different pocket sizes and production demand.

Tube lights in a scene

Finally, We have successfully learned about one major classification of lighting fixtures in film. Subsequently, we would learn about the other classification of lighting fixtures in detail. Kindly drop your comments and question too. Let’s know what you think.