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It is an indisputable fact that filmmaking is about telling stories; be it a feature film, TV Commercial, or a corporate video. And that the ultimate objective of any filmmaker is to find a way in which they can tell the story in the most appropriate way.

Hence, one cannot deny that however the filmmaker decides to shoot every shot, they are just taking a step towards telling the story.

Now that this has been established, we move on to the technique and equipment that is used to get the shot. In this article, I will be talking about how lighting techniques can be used to tell a story and how to find the certainty that the technique you use is the best way to tell the story you want to tell.

Certainty is a very evasive concept to begin with and it goes together with logic. To clarify the kind of certainty I’m talking about, let me give you a mathematical example. In the world of Geometry, there are a set of basic principles that lead you logically through hundreds and thousands of different conclusions. These basic principles are generally referred to as axioms. So, whatever we know of geometry comes from these basic principles and is logically drawn from these principles.

In the same way, when it comes to lighting, the entire discipline of film lighting follows and is built on the basic physics of light. Certain principles that have been logically proven to be right have built the entire way professionals work with lights on film sets/locations.

A very crude example of such a principle would be that, if there is an object between a light source and a surface, then the shadow of the object falls on the surface. Built on these principles, we see filmmakers use directional lighting to create shadows that tell their stories in the best possible way.

For example, in this shot from The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, makes sure that Vito Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) face is lit in a way that his eyes are kept in the shadows. And anyone who has seen the film will understand that it goes in complete sync with who the character is and establishes what the character is going to be like through the entire film. He is a mysterious character (because of the shadows) but that he is also a man of conviction and power, with the action and the comfort that he enjoys in the shadows.

Now you can imagine how different this shot would have been if the set was lit differently. Even if the direction of the light were to be changed, the moment would lose its meaning within the narrative of the film.

You must be thinking what these techniques have to do with finding certainty in lighting up a film set. The point is that, certainty in film lighting comes from the certainty of the story. As I said earlier, there are certain building blocks that logically lead you towards certainty. And when it comes to film lighting, the basic principles of lighting along with the narrative are what will lead you to certainty in deciding whether this is the best light/mood/tone for your shots.

Vimeo user, Nacho Guzman, made this teaser video for a music video, which shows clearly how just light direction and colour temperature can change the entire mood, tone, and facial expression.


Directional change in lighting

Colour temperature changing

October 14, 2016

Giftopia 2016 Press Release


Friday, 14th October, 2016


True Colour Media Group organises the biggest ever Giftopia

True Colour Media Group (TCM) will be organising this year’s Giftopia, Sample Store’s Annual Beauty Event on the 15th and 16th of October at Raffles City.

Sample Store is collaborating with the Singapore-based production house for the first time to bring about their most important event of the year.

Sample Store is a website that offers its users a selection of products ranging from skincare to health care supplements to sample before they can decide to purchase them. It is the leading “tryvertising” company in Singapore with more than 250,000 members, that is built on the philosophy of letting consumers experience products before they buy them.

Giftopia brings all of Sample Store’s partner brands under one roof for an extravaganza of sampling for its customers once every year.

In the run up to the event this year, True Colour Media Group collaborated with Guang Films to release a short film titled My Secret Pen Pal on Sample Store’s Facebook page and Vidsee channel that has been viewed more than 140,000 times in total. The short film asks people to join the spirit of giving gifts to their loved ones in this increasingly fast paced world where technology is becoming more and more integral to our lives.

Colin Peh, the Managing Director of TCM says that they are happy to join the Giftopia movement and share the experience that Sample Store provides for their customers.

“I’m glad that we have been able to help Sample Store tell their story through this incredible journey of being a part of Giftopia and hope that this event turns out to be a success”, Colin said.

The event was uniquely marketed through personal mail drops, which embodies Giftopia’s “spirit of giving” by adopting the personalised approach of sending mail by post. This year these ad-mails hit a new high of reaching 1 million people across the island.

Moreover, this is the first time that the event will be spanning over two days because of the overwhelming response it has received. This year’s Giftopia will also see the launch of Sample Store’s revamped website.

True Colour Media Group is a leading production house based in Singapore that prides itself on telling compelling stories through visual media.


For Media Queries, Contact:
Pamela Tan, Creative Producer

Abhinay Lakshman, Media Relations Officer

Cinema has literally always been about light and how to use it. In the almost one century of its existence we have just become more creative with it. Read the 6 things that all filmmakers should consider when thinking about lighting for their films.

Hard VS Soft

There are only two categories under which light can be put into, especially in the context of filmmaking. One is “hard” light and the other is “soft” light. These are exactly what they say they are. “Hard” light is basically a small (relative to the subject) source of light that illuminates the subject. What happens in this process is that the “hard” light sheds light on the subject in such a way that the shadows cast are substantially prominent and the lines of these shadows are extremely well defined. This kind of lighting is used in noir films and an interesting example of hard light in film is the way Alfred Hitchcock used it in Psycho.

On the other hand, “soft” light is the light that falls gently on to the subject. Basically, when a light source is not directed directly at the subject, but reflected off of a large (relative to the subject) white surface, it diffuses the light and the subject is filled with light but evenly without clear lines of shadows and highlights. This is very common in film, for example in this shot from 500 Days of Summer.


High-key VS Low-key

While the hardness or softness of the light defines the shadows and highlights of a subject and is important to
consider, key lighting also plays a critical role in how the frame is lit up. High key lighting is basically when the ratio of key-light to fill-light is high and the the colour scheme across the frame is equally well-lit. What this does is, eliminate the absolute blacks and whites in the colour scheme of the frame and replace it with different tones of grey. For example, in this shot from Juno, it can be seen that the entire frame is equally well-lit. Now this does not mean that the shot is flat. It just lights up the shot across the colour scheme.

On the other hand, low-key is when the ratio of key-light to fill-light is low. What this does is give a more dramatic, melancholic and heavy tone to the shots. The overall tone of the frame becomes dark and this is usually used with a high contrast setting that adds to the feel of the shot. For example, David Fincher uses this often in his film, Fight Club.



Natural VS Artificial

Natural light can be magical when used appropriately. Especially during the magic hour i.e., the time just before sun sets/rises. The hues in the sky can make for really good silhouettes and depending on the cinematographer’s skills, the afternoon sun can be used as a great source of “hard” light. While it is common for people to think that natural light is the best, artificial light has its own perks and the most convenient one is the way we can manipulate artificial light. Starting from choosing the equipment to adjusting the strength of the light, the creative possibilities of using artificial light are manifold. This screenshot from Drive just goes to show how creatively, dramatically and cinematically artificial light can be used.



Equipment is no doubt of great importance when it comes to light your set/location. Even though lighting equipment is pretty commonplace, choosing the right equipment for your set-up is paramount if you want to achieve the desirable result. Equipment like HMI lights, Florescent lamps and Tungsten lights are all handy professional lighting tools for filmmaking. HMI lights are usually very powerful and are often used to mimic daylight sequences; while florescent lamps can be used as very effective key-lights. Although, it is true that professional grade equipment does provide great results in terms of lighting, DIY home lighting equipment can also be used if you’re clever enough to find ways to use it.



Despite all of which has been said, the most important thing is to remember that light travels in a straight line, and no matter what you do, it all comes down to whether you understand this and are able to position yourself, the camera and the subject at the right places and the right time. No matter how good your lighting equipment is, you will never be able to achieve the best results unless you learn how to position them. For example, one of the most common techniques is the three-point technique. In this technique, there are three lights (obviously) – key-light, fill-light and back light. The key light is placed on one side of the camera at about a 45-degree angle from the subject. The fill-light is then placed opposite the key-light at about a 30-degree angle from the subject to fill unnecessary shadows created by the key-light; and lastly the back-light is placed behind the subject to light the background.



Even after having mastered all the lighting techniques in the world, you need to realise that the purpose of using and manipulating light in film is to enhance your story. Everything in the film is trying to help you tell the story better. So, if you decide to use a lighting technique that is completely not in line with your story, no matter how well you do it, it will throw your film away. In the end, remember that you are telling a story and use the lighting to enhance that story in the best way you possibly can.

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