Kicker – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Cinematography Glossary Terms

I. What is a Kicker in Cinematography?

In cinematography, a kicker is a type of light that is used to create separation between the subject and the background. It is typically placed behind and to the side of the subject, opposite the key light. The purpose of a kicker is to add depth and dimension to the scene by highlighting the edges of the subject and creating a sense of three-dimensionality.

II. How is a Kicker Used in Lighting Setups?

A kicker is often used in conjunction with other lights in a lighting setup. It is typically placed at a 45-degree angle to the subject, either above or below eye level, and angled towards the subject. The intensity of the kicker light can be adjusted to create different effects, from a subtle rim light to a more dramatic separation between the subject and the background.

III. What Effect Does a Kicker Have on a Scene?

The use of a kicker in a lighting setup can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a scene. By highlighting the edges of the subject, a kicker can add depth and dimension to the image, making the subject stand out from the background. It can also create a sense of drama and mood, depending on the intensity and angle of the light.

IV. When Should a Kicker Be Used in Cinematography?

A kicker is typically used in situations where the subject needs to be separated from the background or when a sense of depth and dimensionality is desired. It is often used in portrait photography, interviews, and narrative filmmaking to add visual interest and create a more dynamic image. A kicker can also be used to create a sense of mystery or tension in a scene.

V. What Are Some Tips for Using a Kicker Effectively?

– Experiment with the angle and intensity of the kicker light to achieve different effects.
– Be mindful of the shadows created by the kicker and adjust the position of the light accordingly.
– Use a kicker to highlight specific features of the subject, such as hair or clothing.
– Combine a kicker with other lights, such as a key light and fill light, to create a balanced and visually appealing lighting setup.
– Practice using a kicker in different scenarios to develop your skills and understanding of its effects.

VI. How Does a Kicker Differ from Other Types of Lights in Cinematography?

While a kicker is primarily used to create separation and dimension in a scene, it differs from other types of lights in its specific placement and purpose. A key light, for example, is used to illuminate the main subject of the scene, while a fill light is used to soften shadows and balance out the overall lighting. A kicker, on the other hand, is used to add a touch of drama and highlight the edges of the subject, creating a more dynamic and visually interesting image.