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Mixing Hard and Soft Light


Denver Colorado Gaffer
Lighting diagram by Tyler Kaschke, Denver Colorado Gaffer

I love using hard light in the background to throw shadows and create texture. A soft source indoors helps to wrap that light around on the subject for some pleasing shape on the face. Add in some practicals for more points of interest and you’ve got yourself a pretty lookin frame.


The quality of light you use in a scene should be determined by the story you’re telling. This was sort of a motivational fitness vibe, so the intensity of light and contrast ratio seemed appropriate.


I work with some young cinematographers who are hesitant to embrace hard shadows. Sure, sometimes they can be distracting, but if shadows are well placed they will feel very natural and add a lot of depth to your image. You can play it safe or you can shoot your shot!


This scene was a pretty easy one to set up. Baja Blast™️ a 1200D with 1/4 straw through the window for a hard edge, a Litemat 4 on the MiniMax menace for a soft key light, and an incandescent practical in the lamp for an extra lil somethin. Pump in some atmosphere and a rotating camera rig and you’re set!


Swipe to check out some bts of the camera rig built by key grip @thefirmgrip and bicep boy @thefakedavidchang operating the business.


Producer: @brennahro

HMU: Marisol Garcia



Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with G&E and grip truck rentals based in Boulder, Colorado and serving Denver, Golden, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.


For more information about lighting tips and shooting commercials in Colorado, follow me on Instagram @colorado_gaffer

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