Ask ten different cinematographers, “what is ambient light” and you might get ten different answers. It is a bit of an umbrella term and its meaning encompasses innumerable types of luminescence. Let’s nail down the most agreed-upon definition: how can we define ambient light?
Ambient light is any light a photographer or cinematographer did not bring to the shoot. Also known as available light, it’s any light that you haven’t set up yourself. This includes natural light or even pre-existing lighting built in and around the location where you’re shooting. Depending on the particular budgetary, creative and practical needs of a production, this “extra” light is a good or a bad thing.
Possible Examples of Ambient Light
- Overhead lights at a restaurant
- LED Ambient Lighting
So, now that we have a basic understanding of what this type of light is, how do photographers and cinematographers use it? This video shows how available light can be used and how it brings a different quality of light than a flash…. To be continued.