Lesson 4 (Three Class Periods)

LIGHTS, camera, action – Lighting a Set

In this lesson, students will learn how to effectively light a set, as well as use natural light and single camera lighting. Students will also learn the different types of lighting, including three-point lighting, which will be utilized on the news set.


The Lighting Triangle – School Video News (Handout)

Video: Three Point Lighting 

Key light (the main light from the front) which is usually off to one side or the other
Fill light (usually a less bright light off to the other side of the key light)
Hair light/Rim light (really tiny light pointing high and behind the talent to give highlights off of the hair and shoulders)

Three-point lighting

Objectives/Knowledge Retained

Students will learn how to set-up lighting and use different lighting techniques while on the news set, as well as on location shooting. Students will also learn the different kinds of “moods” lighting can create.

Materials/Resources Needed:

One to three cameras
Key light, fill light and back light
Different objects for light diffusion (a stocking, diffusion paper, clear paper)

Activity (Day 1, 2 and 3)

Activity One: As a group, students will learn how to light a set with three-point lighting.

Activity Two: Students will divide into groups of three or four and experiment with different lighting techniques. The group will shoot footage using natural lighting (no camera light), shoot a scene with only the camera light, and shoot a scene with diffused lighting using any technique they choose (paper, diffusion paper, a stocking). The scene footage will stay the same and each group will analyze the differences in lighting. What works? What doesn’t work? What mood does the lighting convey? 

Anticipatory Set (Day 1)
Show several videos showing examples of lighting in a broadcast news setting. Show a clip from the evening news of an anchor in a news room, show a clip using only the camera light (you could use a show like COPS for an example), and if possible, show a clip using natural light (an outdoor scene). Ask students if they notice a difference between the lighting.


Students will understand the different types of lighting, how lighting is used, as well as how it affects talent and the scene.

Input (Take-home assignment, Day 1)

Students will watch any news broadcast they choose and list the forms of lighting used (to the best of their knowledge). Students will write how the lighting affects the news set, what the general “feel” is on the news set because of lighting; as well as discuss what types of lighting are used in on-location shoots. How did the lighting impact the story, or do students even notice how lighting affects the story. This will be due next class period and could be used as a grade.

Model (Day 1 and 2)

The teacher will show students how to set-up three point lighting, as well as demonstrate the different types of lighting (natural light, camera light, diffusion).

Check for Understanding (Day 2)

After explaining and showing examples of three point lighting, have students divide into groups of three to four and set up the three point lighting technique. Activity Two can also be used.

Guided Practice (Day 2)

See Check for Understanding


Students will review videos shot for Activity Two. Did the lighting work for each shoot? What was good about the lighting? What could be improved? Reiterate the importance of good lighting and how lighting can create a mood.

Independent Practice/Enrichment

Have students watch a television show and explore lighting techniques and the differences between news broadcast and a show. Good examples are Lost, CSI and Law and Order. What impact does lighting have on these television shows? Have students research the different techniques and encourage students to contact the lighting director and see what types of techniques he/she uses for the show and why.

Integration into live broadcast

Lighting will always play an integral part in the studio, as well as on-location interviews/stories.


Additional MaterialResources and suggested reading