Simple Video Lighting Tips and Tricks
So, you have decided to start creating some videos, may they be for work, social media or even a zoom video call. You will need it to look good, and that means you will need lighting!
Good lighting is one of the most essential elements to filming a professional looking video and can potentially be even more important than your camera setup – if you are trying to create a video in the dark it will not matter how good your camera is, you are not going to get the best results! There is plenty you can do with a lower end camera (or even your smartphone) if you have decent lighting.
Lighting will set the mood and tone of your video and will help you connect with the people watching it. Even a simple lighting setup can make your video look more professional, flattering and give the best outcome for your viewers.
Here are a few tips that should get you up and running
Straight out of the box
One of the easiest ways to get started is by using a ring light. These super simple lights work straight out of the box and are great for video calling, creating simple vlogs, TikTok videos and makeup tutorials.
All you have to do for this simple set up is pop your phone or camera in the mount in the centre of the light and off you go! The unique shape of this light adds contours and creates a really flattering effect, as well as giving the unique ring catch light in your eye.
1, 2 and 3 Light Video Setups
For most scenarios, including vlogging, corporate videos, and interviews, one of these three lighting setups will be your best bet. There are other ways to light a scene, but these are best way to create a more professional result as well as giving you more flexibility.
Let us quickly explain the name and purpose of each light when using any of these setups.
Key/Main light: This light is the brightest in any setup and will provide most of the light in the shot. It is normally placed above and in front of your subject to the right or left of the camera. Shining the light up at your subject can create a spooky effect which is not always what you are looking for!
Fill light: This is a less powerful light, used to fill in shadows. It will be opposite the Main/Key light and be about 50% as powerful.
Back/Rim light: As the name would suggest this light is positioned behind your subject to help create depth. It can be placed above shooting down all below your subject shooting up depending on what looks best, either way it should be hidden from shot!
Soft vs. hard light
As a rule, you want diffused, soft light, like on an overcast day. The softer the light, the more flattering it is so it is perfect for portraits, interviews and anything involving people.
You can diffuse any light source by shining it through a semi-transparent material (like a white sheet) or reflecting it off a diffused white surface.
None diffused light is much like bright sun on a cloudless day. It will create sharper, harder shadows and increase contrast.
Single Light setup
This is a good place to start and is perfect for basic video creation.
- Locate the area you want to use
- Position and frame your camera making sure you are happy with the angle and there is nothing in the background that you do not want people to see! A pop-up background can be a straightforward way to create a clean professional look. Interfit Pop Up Backgrounds
- Power up your main light and position it to the left-hand side of your camera. It should be above and pointing down at your subject
Top Tip: It can be a good idea when shooting with one light to use some available or ambient light just to help add something else to the image
Two Light setup
Time to add a second light to really help you create that professional look.
- Leaving the main light where it is, position the fill light on the opposite side.
- The fill light should be lower than the main light to help soften shadows.
- Make sure that the power is around 50% of the main light.
Top Tip: It is a good idea to take some test footage or an image before going straight into your video.
Three Light setup
Adding a third light is the best way to really increase the visual appeal of your video. It helps to add depth, separating your subject from the background.
- Position the back light behind your subject. This can be to the left or right, above, or below or directly behind. Just make sure it is out of sight and is not casting any awkward shadows that you do not want.
- The power should be around 30-40% depending on the background you are using. Try to make sure there are no ‘hot spots’ this is an area where the light is much brighter than everywhere else.
- The backlight is a fantastic opportunity to add some colour. This is easy to do with coloured gels and can make a real difference.
Top Tip: If you are using a three light setup it is a good idea to find an area where you can control the ambient light. Closing curtains and blinds and turning off any unwanted ceiling lights is always a good idea. Removing as much ambient light as possible will give you a lot more control and will help create a much more professional finish.
Creating professional looking lighting is important and is not that hard to get right. Hopefully, this quick guide will give you enough confidence to get started and help you stand out from the crowd.
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