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Lighting Tips

The History, Physics of Color, and Use of Cinema Lighting

By Jules Ebe on September 2nd 2013


Let There Be Light by Mark Vargo is an entertaining look at cinema lighting, its history from creation through modern use, styles of lighting fixtures, and some of the geeky color physics of lighting. In short, this video is a wealth of information that is accessible for the beginner photographer and the experienced strobist alike.

Though the title is directed towards cinema lighting, the information is viable for those of us that also shoot stills. Given the growing popularity of constant lighting (think of the LED panels you have been drooling over), the applications for video and photography using constant lighting fixtures is limited only by the imagination.

You will learn about L.E.D., H.M.I., fluorescents, panels, and a plethora of other lighting types and fixtures.


“The video begins with a historical review of the origins of cinema lighting. Next – some background on the physics of light and color – and how these facts relate to the choices we make as cinematographers and photographers. The video concludes with a montage of modern lighting instruments and then a quick summation.”

Let There Be Light



Vargo is also working on some new informative videos, and we cannot wait to share them with you. You can also find more of Vargo’s work on his Vimeo page.

How would you use constant lighting fixtures, common in cinema, on your next project?

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Fabian

    im sorry but the first illuminated city was not Paris :) it was Timisoara…from Romania…Europe anyway
    ” It was the first city in the monarchy with street illumination, and the first city on mainland Europe illuminated by electric light”

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    • Mark Vargo, asc

      I don’t believe I made the claim that Paris was the first city illuminated by electric light.

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