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Lighting a Nashville Bar with 2 LED Lights


Lighting a Nashville Bar with 2 LED Lights

Today I want to talk about my thought process for lighting a bar in Nashville, TN for Zach Dubois' new music video "Pray for Rain.”

This location had both its advantages and disadvantages. Without a prior location scout, I was walking in blind with only a half hour to figure out the lighting and shots I needed - only a little stressful. :)


  • Great location with that classic ‘downtown Nashville’ feel.
  • Great practicals throughout the location for that ‘evening bar’ look.
  • Empty bar. We were allowed to shoot between lunch and dinner.


  • Very little time. Only 2 hours to set up and shoot everything.
  • Five large windows with only one that could be closed.
  • A lot of daylight spilling into the bar.

This was a pretty small budget music video, so for this location we used the bare minimum.


  • Lights
    • Two Bi-Color LED Panels
    • Negative Fill
    • One C-Stand
    • Some diffusion for the LEDs
  • Camera
    • C100 Mark I
  • Lenses
    • Tameron 24-70mm
    • Canon 70-200mm
    • Rokinon 50mm


With only one window closed, I had to think quickly on how I was going to achieve the ‘night at the bar’ look with only two LEDs.


I decided to blast the light and use my ND Filters to knock down the daylight spill and give it a warmer look.


    • One LED about 45 degrees stage left - four feet from the subject. Set at 4300K with a layer of diffusion.
    • I set the light at 4300K to warm up the subject a little. 5600K was too cool for the look I was going for.
    • Illuminated the logo and bounced back a subtle warm backlight for the subject.
    • I set this to 3200K to match the Practicals and give a subtle color contrast from the key light.
    • I used these to my advantage, They put off a very warm color temperature and acted as a nice fill for the subject.

    Shot - A

    Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.11.11 PM (2).png

    Shot - B

    Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.13.47 PM (2).png

    Shot - C

    Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.12.49 PM (2).png

    These last two setups have some of the daylight spills, but I feel the ND knocked it down just enough to give the effect of a TV in the background. Also added some nice color contrast.

    Shot - D


    For this last shot of the man in the crowd, I used a NEG fill off camera to the right to block a large amount of daylight spill, and had one LED set at 3200 to really warm him up. The practicals in the background helped a lot to sell this shot.

    Shot - E

    Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.14.41 PM (2).png

    All in all, we walked out of the bar very happy with the shots we were able to get in such little time.

    If you would like to see more of these types of breakdowns, I'm open to exploring this type of teaching.



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