What Is a Striplight in Film? Exploring <a href="https://filmlifestyle.com/what-is-a-production-board" data-lasso-id="499861">Its Role</a> on Set

In the world of film and video production, a striplight is a long, slender lighting fixture that’s incredibly versatile.

It’s often used to create soft, even illumination that can mimic natural light or enhance the ambiance of a scene.

These lights are particularly useful in tight spaces where large, traditional lights won’t fit or when filmmakers need to simulate practical light sources like fluorescent tubes or windows lining up along a wall.

Striplights play an essential role in creating depth and contour within a scene, making them indispensable for both cinematographers and gaffers.

Understanding how striplights work is crucial for grasping their impact on film sets.

They’re equipped with multiple lamps arranged in a linear fashion which allows them to cast an extensive yet controlled beam of light across subjects or backgrounds.

This functionality not only elevates the visual aesthetics but also contributes significantly to storytelling by shaping the mood and directing viewers’ attention to specific elements within the frame.

What Is A Striplight?

A striplight is an elongated, versatile lighting fixture commonly used in film and television production.

It’s designed to cast a soft, diffuse light over a wide area, which makes it ideal for creating even illumination without harsh shadows.

Filmmakers often turn to striplights when they need to simulate natural light sources such as windows or skylights.

Their slim profile allows them to be placed in locations where traditional lights might not fit, like tight corners or against walls.

Striplights come in various sizes and can be rigged together to form larger banks of light.

This flexibility means they’re just as at home on big studio sets as they are in intimate interview setups.

  • They provide adjustable color temperatures,
  • Offer dimming capabilities,
  • Can be controlled remotely.

This type of lighting equipment has been behind the scenes of countless productions, shaping the mood and feel of the visual narrative.


Whether it’s enhancing the glow on an actor’s face or filling in shadows during a daytime scene, striplights play a crucial role in achieving cinematic quality.

They’re not only for set pieces; striplights also help with practical effects.

By simulating fluorescent office lighting or mimicking the long stretch of car headlights, these fixtures enhance realism on screen.

In short:

  • Striplights offer broad and soft lighting,
  • Are adaptable across various filming environments,
  • Crucial for both aesthetic and practical effects.

Applications Of Striplights In Film

Striplights serve as versatile lighting solutions on set.

They provide a soft, even glow that’s essential for creating diffused light which mimics natural illumination.

Filmmakers often favor striplights for their ability to create a ‘window light’ effect.

This is especially useful when shooting interior scenes where windows are either not present or the available natural light isn’t sufficient.

In action sequences, striplights come in handy to illuminate large areas without creating harsh shadows.

They ensure that every movement is captured crisply, maintaining the intensity and dynamism of these high-energy scenes.

Here’s how striplights can enhance various film aspects:

  • Mood Setting: By adjusting color temperatures, striplights help establish the emotional tone of a scene.
  • Background Lighting: They fill in spaces with ambient light, avoiding unwanted shadows and providing depth.
  • Highlighting Details: Striplights accentuate textures and contours on costumes and props.

Directors of photography also use striplights for practical effects:

  • Simulating neon signs or screens within the shot,
  • Creating reflections in actors’ eyes to add life to close-ups.

The adaptability of striplights makes them invaluable for both studio work and location shoots.

Whether it’s a blockbuster production or an indie film, they play a crucial role in achieving cinematic quality.

Advantages Of Using Striplights In Film

Striplights offer a unique form of illumination that’s both practical and aesthetically pleasing.


They’re long, narrow fixtures providing a wash of light ideal for creating soft, even illumination across a subject or background.

This makes them perfect for mimicking the natural light from windows or simulating the effect of neon lights in an urban night scene.

Versatility is one key advantage striplights have in film production.

These lights can be used to highlight specific areas without spilling over onto other parts of the set, giving cinematographers precise control over their lighting design.

They can also be easily hidden on set due to their slim profile, which allows for more creative and unobtrusive lighting setups.

Another benefit is the quality of light striplights produce.

The soft diffusion they provide is excellent for minimizing harsh shadows and flattering a subject’s features, which is essential when shooting close-ups or scenes requiring a gentler touch.

Their elongated shape helps create interesting catchlights in actors’ eyes, adding depth and emotion to the performance captured on screen.

In terms of energy efficiency and durability, modern LED striplights are ahead of traditional lighting solutions.

They consume less power while delivering high output and have longer lifespans, reducing the need for replacements and cutting down on production costs related to equipment.


Finally, striplights enhance creative expression by offering variable color temperatures and hues.

Cinematographers can adjust these settings to match the mood or time of day required for a scene – whether it’s replicating the golden hour glow or crafting an alien atmosphere with cool tones:

  • Warm tones for sunrise or sunset scenes,
  • Cool tones to suggest moonlight or artificial sources,
  • Color adjustments for stylized visual effects.

By integrating striplights into their toolkit, filmmakers unlock new possibilities in storytelling through dynamic lighting techniques that captivate audiences everywhere.

How To Set Up And Use Striplights In Film

Setting up striplights requires an understanding of the desired effect.

Place them strategically to accentuate a subject’s features or create elongated catchlights.

Their long, narrow design makes them ideal for edge lighting, which can help separate subjects from the background.

Mounting options for striplights are versatile.

They can be attached to light stands, boomed overhead, or even placed on the floor.

Utilize softboxes or diffusion panels with your striplights to soften the light they emit.

Adjusting intensity and color temperature is crucial when using striplights.

Dial in these settings based on your scene’s mood and aesthetic requirements.

A dimmer switch can offer precise control over brightness while gels alter color temperature effectively.

Incorporating movement into your lighting setup creates dynamic scenes.

Gradually moving a striplight during a take can simulate natural light changes or add dramatic flair to a shot.

Remember that safety comes first when working with any lighting equipment on set:

  • Ensure all stands are stable and sandbagged if necessary.
  • Check that cables are neatly tucked away to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Always allow lights to cool down before disassembling your setup.

By following these tips, you’re well on your way to mastering the use of striplights in film!

Tips For Shooting With Striplights

Striplights have become a staple in the filmmaker’s toolkit, known for their ability to produce a soft and even light that’s perfect for creating a dramatic mood or accentuating features.

They’re often used to simulate the natural light from windows or to provide edge lighting that separates the subject from the background.

When setting up striplights, it’s crucial to consider the direction and quality of light they produce.

Positioning them slightly off-axis can yield stunning highlights on your subject’s face, while placing them directly alongside can emphasize texture and contours.

Experimentation is key here – try different angles until you find what works best for your scene.

We’ve gathered some tips that’ll help you make the most out of shooting with striplights:

  • Keep an eye on shadows – striplights can cast long, narrow shadows which might not always be desired.
  • Soften it up – if you’re seeking an even softer look, add diffusion material in front of your striplight.
  • Color temperature matters – ensure that the color temperature of your striplight matches other lights in use to avoid mixed lighting conditions.
  • Control spill – use flags or barn doors on your striplight to keep light from spilling into areas where it isn’t wanted.

It’s often beneficial to dim your striplights for more control over their intensity; this allows you to fine-tune how much they impact the scene without needing to move them physically.

Remember, subtlety can be powerful.

Finally, don’t forget about movement!

Using a dimmer switch or adjusting the angle incrementally during a take can introduce dynamic shifts in lighting.

This technique adds energy and depth to shots but must be practiced beforehand so it looks intentional rather than haphazard.

By keeping these considerations in mind, filmmakers can harness the full potential of striplights and elevate their visual storytelling.

What Is A Striplight In Film? Exploring Its Role On Set – Wrap Up

Wrapping up our discussion on striplights in film, we’ve uncovered their versatility and impact.

These elongated light sources are more than just a piece of equipment; they shape the visual story that unfolds on screen.

Let’s recap the key points:

  • Striplights offer filmmakers a unique tool for creating soft, even lighting.
  • Their ability to mimic natural light sources makes them indispensable in many scenarios.

Throughout this article, we delved into various uses and benefits of striplights:

  • Enhancing the mood and tone of scenes,
  • Providing fill or accent lighting without overpowering,
  • Simulating window light for indoor shoots.

We also touched upon tips for optimizing your use of striplights:

  • Positioning them carefully to achieve desired effects,
  • Using modifiers to control the quality and direction of light.

In any production, from blockbusters like The Great Gatsby to indie films that capture raw emotion, striplights play a critical role.

They help cinematographers craft the narrative visually, guiding audiences’ emotions subtly yet powerfully.

As filmmakers ourselves at Filmmaking Lifestyle, we recognize the importance of mastering lighting techniques.

It’s clear that understanding and utilizing tools like striplights can elevate your filmmaking prowess.

Remember – it’s not just about illuminating a scene.

It’s about painting with light to tell compelling stories that resonate with viewers long after they leave the theater.

So take these insights on striplight use in film, apply them to your next project, and watch as your storytelling reaches new heights!