Copying Roger Deakins' Lighting Style in Your Videos

Lighting your videos — or even cinematic-style portraits — can be a complex affair, with so many different lighting setups available to you. One potential solution is to take cues from brilliant cinematographers.

If you aren't sure who Roger Deakins is, he is an English cinematographer and Director of Photography and you could put forward a strong case for him being one of the greatest of all time. He is the cinematographer behind the likes of Blade Runner 2049, No Country for Old Men, 1917, Skyfall, Prisoners, and many more of the best films of the past 50 years. He creates stunning and memorable aesthetics and if you can siphon off 1% of his ability, you'll be much better off.

In this video, Matti Haapoja attempts to replicate how Deakins sometimes lights his scene. The bulk of the technique borrowed here is cove lighting, but what particularly grabs me is the uplighting effect. Like most people, I usually gravitate toward lighting above the subject, to the side, pointing down, but it might be time to try the light at a lower height pointing up. The results are undeniably cinematic and have a completely different feel with just this simple tweak. What do you think of Deakins' lighting setup?

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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