What is Overhead Lighting

Horace He

Last Updated: August 7, 2023

What is Overhead Lighting

Overhead lighting is a lighting setup where the light source is positioned above the subject or scene being filmed. This technique is employed to create a specific effect and add intensity to the scene. It is commonly used to shape and enhance the mood and atmosphere of a film, particularly in genres such as horror, thriller, and portrait photography.

The main purpose of overhead lighting is to provide a deliberate choice made by cinematographers to reflect and enhance the mood of the film and emphasize certain aspects of the scene. It can be achieved using a harsh light source, which contributes to the overall intensity and dramatic effect. In some cases, a softer key light source may be used in combination with fill lights to create a more subtle and softer lighting effect, especially in darker or gloomier scenes.

Understanding the relationship between darkness and light is crucial in utilizing overhead lighting effectively. Cinematographers need to carefully consider the positioning and intensity of the overhead lights to achieve the desired visual impact. By strategically placing the light source above the subject or scene, cinematographers can create unique and dramatic lighting contrasts, adding depth and dimension to the visuals.