Flagging (Lighting)

What is Flagging in Lighting?

Flagging, in the context of lighting, refers to the technique of blocking or controlling light in a scene. It is an essential part of film-making and video production as it allows the cinematographer or video editor to manipulate where shadows fall, enhance the mood, and emphasize specific elements in a shot.

Importance of Flagging

Flagging is a critical tool in making your shots visually appealing. Let’s dive into some of the reasons why it is important:

  • Control light spread: Flagging helps to prevent unwanted light spillage, allowing you to ensure light only hits where you want it to.
  • Create depth: By controlling the light and shadows, flagging can help create a sense of depth in your shots, making them more dynamic and engaging.
  • Emphasize focus: You can use flagging to guide the viewer’s attention towards your subject or a specific part of your shot.
  • Enhance mood: Different lighting setups can drastically change the mood of a scene. Flagging helps you create the desired effect, whether it’s dramatic, romantic, or unsettling.

How to Use Flagging in Lighting?

To use flagging effectively, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Position your light: Start by setting up your light source at the correct angle and distance from your subject.
  2. Identify unwanted light: Look for any areas of your shot that are too bright or where the light is spilling where it shouldn’t.
  3. Set up your flags: Use flags, which could be anything from professional-grade flags to pieces of cardboard, to block the unwanted light.
  4. Adjust and refine: Finally, adjust your flags and lights as needed until you achieve the desired effect.


Mastering the art of flagging can take your video production skills to the next level. It allows you to have full control over the lighting in your scene, which can significantly impact the final look of your video. Whether you are a filmmaker, video editor, influencer, or YouTuber, understanding and utilizing flagging in your work will help you create more professional and visually appealing content.

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