Striking Lighting- Meeting Tim Hall (Lighting Director)


“There is no wrong way or right way to light a scene, there is only good and bad lighting”

 Tim Hall

On Thursday 23rd February, I attended a conference at Birmingham City University where I met Tim Hall, an Emmy award-winning lighting director. Although I have no interest in becoming a lighting director I found this to be extremely interesting. Hall stated that lighting is becoming a “forgotten art”. This is something that I agree with as more and more technology is appearing and taking these “jobs”. Everything is run by technology now. Old school lighting is declining. Hall has spent 30 years of his life dedicating it to TV lighting. He worked lighting the Olympics in Russia and the Olympics in Rio. One of the first things he said was lighting is about creating a mood, an environment”. Lighting can have a profound impact on the production. Before the scene starts we can tell what kind of scene it is going to be, just by acknowledging the way it has been lit. For example Bright colours work with lighthearted shows. Although this may seem obvious many people do not pay attention to lighting especially in TV shows, such as the X Factor or the Olympics. I feel as though lighting is more noticeable in film then it is in TV but that could just be that I am studying media production which specialises more in film. He acknowledged the difference in lighting for film and lighting for TV when he stated that he lights for 14 cameras whereas lighting for film is a little bit simpler as you are only lighting for 2 cameras.

He also talked about computer aid design which is described as…

CAD (computer-aided design) software is used by architects, engineers, drafters, artists, and others to create precision drawings or technical illustrations. CAD software can be used to create two-dimensional (2-D) drawings or three-dimensional (3-D) models. 

(Rouse 2014)

Hall gave us the example of a job that he worked on where they conducted a picture using CAD and asked him to mimic the lighting that was featured in the illustration. He stated that he feels this limits creativity which I totally agree with as there is no space for experimentation.

Following on from this, he also gave us young filmmakers some really good advice. He told us that when you start in the industry people do not let you experiment because you are young, comparing this to himself he said that no one questions him now because of his experience in the industry and cause he is older. This made me realised that I cannot rush things. I need to be patient as things will not just come to me, I have to work hard and gain experience in order to do the things I really want to do. Hall also talked about specific key lighting setups that will help me greatly with my FMP. After the lecture we went up to ask him for his contact details in which he gave one of the member of our group his business card. I now have his email address and will contact him through email.

Even though Tim Hall is a lighting director I feel the skills you need to be a lighting director are similar to the skills you need to be a director. For example, both need to learn the technical aspects of production, both need to work of the visual style of the productions and both need to have an eye for detail. I think this is why I found this talk so helpful, even thought I have no interest in being a lighting director they have similar skills to what a director needs to have.

One thing I have learnt about the industry is that you do not always end up where you think you will. Your career path will change constantly as you will be introduced to new roles that you may take a liking to. This is something I found with Tim Hall, Esther May Campbell and Rachel Robey’s talks.


Rouse, M. (2014) What is CAD (computer-aided design)? – definition from [online] available from <; [26 February 2017]

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