If you are new to producing videos, you have probably discovered that creating perfect lighting can be quite difficult. The one thing you must keep in mind, how your eyes see light is quite different from what the camera lens sees.

Cameras demand a much higher level of light to produce a great image Let’s take a closer look at lighting and shadowing before you start your video production.

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Last updated on October 21, 2019 3:30 pm

Plan & Prepare For Your Video First:

Whether you are planning on a photography or video shoot, know your location first and then study the natural lighting and shadows cast by the sun. Keep in mind, natural lighting can change in a heartbeat. The sun could easily slip behind clouds which will affect your video from one shot to another. If you have a decent set of lights, you might want to use a set of lights vs natural light. The best environment for your video shoot is where you have control over the lighting.

Know Your Lighting Options & Your Budget:

Lighting can run from relatively inexpensive to very expensive depending on what they offer. Your lighting should be versatile and easily mounted for different effects. Lights that lack dimming and diffusion will cause pretty harsh lighting. Diffusion allows for light to spread out evenly creating a softer light. You can improvise by using a diffusion material.

You can get studio lights between $100 to $500 that will give you everything you need. These lights come with large florescent lights and good diffusion material. These lights come with stands for better setups and usually offer a higher light output. For better control over your lighting, these lights usually have several switches on the back to control how many bulbs will be lit at a given time.

Keep in mind, there are higher-end kits that will cost a great deal more. You will pay for one light, what you would pay for an entire mid-range kit. You will have many more features including wireless control, color changes, a greater full range of diffusion, and greater output. Due to the cost, you could probably rent this equipment for much less. If you will be shooting videos on a regular basis, it might be worth the investment. But, unless you have specific requirements for these high-end features, you will probably be wasting your money. You should seriously consider if something cheaper would work just as well if your videos will be basic shoots.

3-Point Lighting Set Up:

3-point lighting includes a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. The key light will be the backbone of the 3, providing the majority of the light. The fill light will remove shadows caused by the key light but will not cause a flat look. The backlight will separate your subject from the background providing more depth and not cause that flat look. Keep in mind, the backlight can be a harsh light with no diffusion ability so it won’t create shadows visible to the camera on the subject matter.

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Choose The Right Color Temperature:

Based on the filament in the bulb, lights will appear either warmer or cooler as perceived by the human eye and by the camera. Consider a room that is lit with cool fluorescent lighting in comparison to another room that has warm tungsten lighting. You can certainly see the difference and this is what is known as color temperature. It is not advisable to mix these color temperatures together because you will end up with a bad color balance which will look completely unnatural in the video.

Watch Out For Glare:

If your subject is someone wearing glasses, you could be in for a very rude awakening. Glasses are one of the leading causes of glare, especially if you are working with lights with large diffusion boxes.

You can remove the glare by raising the lights higher up on their stands. I would suggest you get someone to help out by letting them raise the lights while you look through the lens until the glare has disappeared. If that doesn’t work, move your key and fill lights further out while keeping them somewhat equal to each other. (Example: the key approx. 3:15 and the fill 8:45).

Lastly, play around with lighting by adding lights to your background, maybe adding gels, shaping lights or a green screen. The best advice, experiment with lighting until you get the look you want. Again, have a plan which includes playing around with your lighting effects before starting production. Once you are comfortable with the various lights and how they work, you will start making some really great videos!