Undergraduate Degree




DF9001 The Art of Lighting

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

Both artistically and technically students will learn how to control light and colour in required intensity and quality be it for Film, Photography, Animation, or Stage. Students will research the impact of light on different art forms, from paintings to art installations and moving images.


Light is the only thing your eyes ever see. Lighting is an important tool for a media artist, lighting is part science, part art. Incident light falls on, reflects and bounces of actors and objects back to the lens that captures. Highlights and shadows become means for expression through creating contrasts, light against dark or dark against light. By strategic placement of light fixtures, the use of natural light or colour elements, students will play with the properties of light. During this class we will explore and experiment the aesthetic impact of light, research the theory of colour as well as technical details, from the fundamentals of optics and projection to the different kinds of lamps, lights, and spots and other lighting equipment and capture it on various digital media.

Course Outline




  • Intro to course:

Philosophy of light, Naturalism, Pictorialism


  • Technical properties of light:

Quality, Angle, Colour, Intensity


  • Lighting styles:

High-key, Low-key

Constrast and Lighting ratios

Light Measuring


  • Exterior Light:

Sunlight, day for night, compensating


  • Research field trip


  • Lighting exercises class project:





Art Installation

Moving lights projection

Table top

  • Lighting for continuity


  • Evaluation and presenation

Student Assessment

Continuous Assessment: 100%

Students go through the process during which new techniques are introduced and engage with new areas of technical knowledge and experience resulting in knowledge acquisition.

Conceptual understanding, the process whereby a student engages in critical analysis of visual concepts and production practices, testing their creative abilities and resulting in critical reflection.

Students are supposed to conduct several practical lighting exercises through which a student acquires technical experience, skills and the opportunity for creative expression and visualization of concepts to create a portfolio.

Resulting in critical reflection: the process through which a student reflects on new and understandings, and on their own learning experiences and performance, and acquires new awareness and understandings.

Based on the objectives of the course, the use of 100% continuous assessment will be most appropriate to determine the learning outcomes.

Students will be assessed by:

30%: Knowledge acquisition: designed to aid students demonstrate, in a practical way, findings and theories discussed in class. Assignments may include illustrating a research question that is of general interest, proposing a research design that addresses this question, writing a review on a specific topic, and generating a project that could explain the possible findings.

20%: Presentation to the class of the research papers or projects will be conducted by each student. Assessment criteria will include clear and succinct articulation of the of the research issue, the background to the research issue, the objective of the research effort, and the major findings, controversies, and unsolved problems.

50%: Portfolio may contain written material such as objective descriptions, constructive evaluations together with visual material, video and photographic works that demonstrate the ability of the student to appropriately research and execute the topic.


Suggested Reading:

  1. Brown Blain, Cinematography, Focal Press, 2002

  2. Hunter, Phil & Fuqua, Paul and Biver, Steven Light Science and Magic, Focal Press, 2007 .

  3. Wheeler, Paul Digital Cinematography, Focal Press, 2001.

  4. Palmer, Richard H. The lighting art: the aesthetics of stage lighting design, Pearson, 1993 . 

  5. Keller Max, Johannes Weiss, The light fantastic, Prestel Verlag GmbH + Company, 2006.