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Studio Lighting Design: Determining the Placement of Lights

In studio lighting design, each fixture plays a specific role, centered around the subject to be filmed. The positioning is based on horizontal or vertical alignments, with the final adjustments made during the installation and calibration of the studio lights to achieve the desired video effect. Since all studio lighting effects are designed relative to the camera, the lighting setup should be coordinated with the camera’s position. This blog post explores how to determine the placement of studio lights.

Key Light

The key light is the closest to the camera, projecting light directly from behind the camera to the subject. Typically, this light is positioned 4.1 to 5.2 meters from the background and 1.5 to 2 meters from the camera. Common studio key lights often use soft LED panel lights for film and TV, calculated based on the room’s size, usually one light every 1.5 to 2 meters.

Fill Light

Fill light complements the key light by illuminating areas that the key light does not cover and eliminating shadows created by it. The placement is generally 0.8 to 1 meter behind or in front of the key light and 3.3 to 4.2 meters from the background. It is advisable to use soft LED panel lights for fill lighting.

Top Light

Top light is positioned above the subject, with the fixture typically no less than 2.5 meters from the ground to avoid the light becoming visible in the shot. The light projects downward in a direction perpendicular to the camera, usually 2.3 to 2.8 meters from the key light and 1.8 to 2.4 meters from the background. Large LED panel lights are recommended for top lighting in studio setups.

Back Light

Backlight shines directly towards the camera from behind the subject, about 1.2 to 1.6 meters from the background. LED spotlights are often chosen for their strong illumination and long throw, primarily to enhance the depth and three-dimensionality of the studio lighting and the subjects, thus improving the shot quality.

Background Light

Background lights are used to brighten the studio backdrop, typically positioned 0.6 to 0.8 meters from the background. Large LED panel lights are usually selected to ensure even lighting across the backdrop, with lights spaced 1.5 to 2 meters apart.

Once each fixture is installed, professional lighting engineers adjust and fine-tune the lights to optimize video quality through continuous calibration.

Hi, I'm Bing Bai, the author of this post.
I have been in the field of LED film and studio lighting for more than 9 years. If you would like to learn more about our products or lighting solutions, feel free to let me know.

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