Homework 3 /7: Light


Start by reading the following:

  • Chapter 5. Light in Making Media [1]

Keep notes in your notebook as you read and jot down questions to look up later or ask about during class discussion.

After you finish the readings, engage in the following activities: [2]


  1. Train your eyes, Part 1. Analyze the lighting conditions around you. Notice whether light is hard or soft. Observe the shadows and direction from which light is coming. Watch for observable differences in color temperature, especially at the beginning and end of the day. Record your observations in your notebook. Sketch scenes, indicating lighting source placement.
  2. Train your eyes, Part 2. Analyze the lighting conditions of a scene from a dramatic film or television episode. Notice whether light is hard or soft. Observe the shadows and direction from which light is coming. Watch for observable differences in the color temperature of the different light sources. Sketch what you think the lighting sources are, the types of units, and the placement of the units in the scene. Is there a mix of natural and artificial light? Is it just one or the other? Why do you think so or not? Record your observations in your notebook.
  3. Watch the videos in Video Playlist 3 in Video Playlists and write a brief response to each of the videos in your notebook.


Practice using the following terms in various sentences to demonstrate that you understand the concept's meaning and how to use it to describe media production practices and artifacts. If you’re not sure about a term, review the reading. You will use these terms in writing, discussion, description, and analysis of works, so take some time to review the reading if the concepts are unclear. 

  • added light
  • additive color mixing
  • attenuate
  • backlight
  • brightness
  • chrominance
  • color temperature
  • contrast
  • contrast range
  • contrast ratio
  • daylight color balance (color temperature)
  • dynamic range
  • diffusion
  • existing light
  • exposure
  • fill light
  • filters
  • flat lighting
  • flood light
  • fluorescent lighting
  • foot-candle
  • Fresnel (lighting instrument)
  • hard/direct/spotted light
  • high key lighting
  • hue
  • illuminance
  • illusion of depth
  • incandescent lighting
  • kelvin (color temperature)
  • key light
  • key:fill ratio
  • kicker
  • LED lighting
  • LED panel (lighting instrument)
  • low key lighting
  • lumen
  • luminance
  • lux
  • motivated lighting
  • neutral density filters
  • reflector
  • representational lighting
  • saturation
  • soft box (lighting instrument)
  • soft (a.k.a. diffused) light
  • spotlight  (lighting instrument)
  • subtractive color mixing
  • three-point lighting
  • tungsten color balance (color temperature)
  • waveform monitor
  • white balance

  1. Making Media: Foundations of Sound and Image Production by Jan Roberts-Breslin (4th edition, Routledge, 2018), is available for online reading from O'Reilly Media (requires subscription or access through your educational institution). E-book and print editions are also available from booksellers including Amazon. If you choose to purchase, I suggest the newer edition↩︎
  2. Acknowledgment: This text is based, in part, on the "Putting it into practice” sections in Making Media and has been revised better to fit the structure and learning objectives of the course.↩︎