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· lighting,reflector,filmmaking,natural lighting,cinematographers

shape lightING LIGHT

As I have said in other posts lighting is pretty much the most important part of cinematography. Lighting can convey feelings, help to set a tone, it is one of a cinematographers most effective tools to convey a message to an audience.

In cinematography, everything boils down to light. As cinematographers, we literally cannot survive without it. Both inside and outside of the studio, one of the most important you should have on hand is a reflector. It can be used to bounce, diffuse, or flag natural and artificial light. Once you pick it up, you are likely to never put it down.

the 5 in 1 reflector

5 in 1 Reflectors are one of the most effective, versatile and cheap tools that every filmmaker should have in their bag. Its like adding another light to your kit.

Most reflector have 5 different materials to shape light:


Reflects bounces light that hits it, very useful to add fill light to a subject or to bounce a light of to give a large soft source, gives a natural look to your lighting.

(Ex.) White and Silver reflector


The silver side has a highly reflective material, it reflects even more light that the white side which is very useful when light supply is limited, light is slightly harsher from which can look like artificial lighting.


Using the gold side can give you a warm light that is similar to a sunset. It is similar to the silver side so pay attention to the intensity of your source light and the distance from the reflector to your subject.


This material is white opaque fabric which lets light pass through it. It can be used to diffuse light when you have a hard source of light like the sun or LED panel, this results in a nice large light source which wraps around your subject.


This material helps to take away light from your scene, it is often referred to negative fill. This is especially interesting as sometimes you might think that you scene has enough light but that is lacks contrast, this black material while help you to re-introduce contrast.It can also be used as a flag to shape light adding interest to your frame.

Negative fill (Nofilm school)

Flagging (Cinematography database)

Reflectors are so versatile, useful and simple that professional videographers deploy them even in high-rent productions. At any level reflector are being used to shape light, It is an obligatory part your kit. Below, there are several tutorials on how to harness light and shape it, also examples of other materials you can use, asides a reflector.

tutorial time


Basic 5-1 reflector

Amazon US / UK 

5 in 1 with tripod mount

Amazon US / UK

Large reflector

Amazon US / UK

Diffusion material

Amazon US / UK

Styrofoam Board

Amazon US / UK

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