How to light a Séance | Lighting Setup #3

We made this music video which had a seance scene and in this video we are going to show you how easy it was to set up.

A link to the music video can be found in the description below. Today we are going to recreate  that set-up. First we tried to set it up in our studio, but because of the lack of space we could not separate our subject from the background. So we found a better location at our friend’s flat which had a perfect layout.

To create the scene with the look we wanted, we placed a round table in the middle of the room with a red tablecloth, placed a chessboard on top of it and placed two chairs at an angle for our subjects. Then we started to set up the lights.

Key Light

The key light is the main room light. It uses an 80 watt bulb with a colour temperature of 2800 kelvin which is a very warm looking light. It was hanging 1.7 meters above the table, and by wrapping the lamp shade with the sleeve of a 5-in-1 reflector we were able to cast the light solely down onto the table. We wrapped it with the silver side on the inside to maximise the brightness of the bulb.


Fill Light

There was not really a fill light in this scene. The red tablecloth did add some fill under the subject's face but it was very subtle. If you need more light for your subject you could change the tablecloth to white which will create more bounce from the light above.

Edge Light

To help set the mood of a Seance we used candles in the background which always look cool, especially when you are shooting at a low F-Stop. If you don’t what to use candles, fairy lights are a good alternative.



The camera we used was a Sony A7s. For the close ups we used a 50mm lens set to F1.8 and for the two shot we used a 35mm lens which could only stop down to F3.5, so the ISO changed from 1000 on the 50mm to 5000 ISO on the 35mm lens.

The shutter was set to 1/50 and the colour temperature was set to 2700 kelvin making our key light white for our subjects, but making the candle light a little bit warmer to suit the scene.

In the music version of this set up we filmed it by using a technique called lens whacking which means disconnecting the lens from the camera which allows more light to hit your sensor from different angles. The reason we used this technique is because the location we shot in only had white walls which is not great to look at, lens whacking made the location look a little more interesting.

Here is the setup before, after, and what the final grade looked like.


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Equipment Links

🎥 This episode's kit/gear/equipment:

US links:

5-in-1 reflector:

Sony a7s:

Canon 50mm f/1.8:

Takumar 35mm:

UK links:

5-in-1 reflector:

Sony a7s:

Canon 50mm f/1.8:

Takumar 35mm:


How to light a Séance


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