Lighting Live Events for Camera

photograph of the Superbowl Halftime Show, Lighting by Bob Barnhart

Of course, your live event is being captured by the camera! We’re covering creating and adapting for the camera. Interfacing with a video director, video engineer, and director of photography. Plus metering lights, managing color for video, and working in both HD and 4K+ environments.

Eight (8) 2-hour Sessions meet Saturdays March 4 – April 22, 2023

See the free one hour introductory video here.

Price: $600
Program Facilitator(s):

Robert Barnhart and Guests

A LIVE online interactive course

More Information:

My intent in this eight-week class is to eliminate the mystery of lighting for a camera.  To give you the tools and knowledge of how to use those tools so you can apply your creative vision.  There are no rules to lighting for TV, just as there are no rules for lighting for the live stage.  However, there are techniques that I want to share with you that will allow you to apply your creative ideas.  TV lighting has some cool advantages for the designer and we will talk about those opportunities.  I will pause throughout each class and answer questions before we move on.  As well as leave time at the end of each day to expand on anything you want to talk about. Throughout the course we will use examples from real shows like, the “Academy Awards”, “VMAs”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Super Bowl Halftime shows”, Annie LIVE”, “The Kennedy Center Honors” and many others.

During the course we will cover:

What is the difference between lighting for your eye and the camera’s eye? In order to translate your design ideas to TV, we need to understand the simple difference between how your eye sees lighting and how the camera interprets it. Contrast levels, color rendering.  How & why, we pick a color temperature and choose our expose levels.

We will look at some TV light plots – key light & backlight angles – What needs to be lit – watching out for camera shadows in the light plot. We will look at and discuss the placement of lights.  Key Light – Tools to make someone look as good as possible, when needed. What actually makes a “soft light” and no its not gel!  Shadow pitfalls and reflection danger zones.  Back Light – probably the 2nd most important light in your entire tool kit and my #1 favorite light to work with. We will also discuss lighting scenery and lighting as scenery.

Breaking down the production design and pre-production planning. Working with the producer, director, production designer and talent.  Probably the most important relationship throughout your entire career (outside of your department) will be the one with the Production Designer. We will breakdown many different set designs and then look at the final product.

Let’s spend a day talking to a few programmers (we call them Lighting Directors).  One quirk about TV shows is the incredibly short amount of time we get to actually light the show.  The communication process with your LDs and how they set their consoles up will be the difference of just getting the show lit or getting your design ideas on TV.

Because the camera is translating everything we are designing, it is crucial to be able to talk to your Video Operator, VC, Shader or whatever you like to call them.  We will spend one of the days talking to a the leading V.O. in the business.  Discussing how they can help us and you guessed it, how they can hurt us.  Being able to have an educated conversation with your V.O., will make all the difference in the world for the outcome of your final product.


  1. March 4, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-5 (EST)
  2. March 11, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-5 (EST)
  3. March 18, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)
  4. March 25, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)
  5. April 1, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)
  6. April 8, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)
  7. April 15, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)
  8. April 22, 12 noon-2pm, UTC-4 (EDT)

Scholarship support for this course has been made possible by donations from generous supporters of the Studio School of Design. Please become a supporter today to help us continue to achieve our community’s mission to make our profession stronger through knowledge, access and belonging.

Photo: Superbowl 54 Halftime Show, Scenic Designer: Bruce Rogers, Lighting Director faculty member Robert Barnhart, Photographer: Brad Duns


Program Facilitator(s)

photograph of Bob Barnhart

Robert Barnhart

Advisory Board. Facilitator.