Good lighting creates atmosphere, whereas bad lighting can completely ruin a shot. Poor use of lighting can also reveal your amateur status and means your video will not have that professional feel and quality that you were hoping for.
However, instead of getting carried away, thinking you will have to invest in an expensive lighting kit, there are simple solutions that are inexpensive and in some cases, even free.
One of the best sources of light a video producer can use is the sun. Not only is it free, but it is the most natural form of light that we have. You just need to know how to use it to your advantage.
For example, quite simply, if you are shooting your video inside, place the subject of your video near to a window to get the best possible light. Then, either place the light directly in front of the subject or at an angle, so the light highlights a particular part of their face. Both of these options will illuminate the subject and give you the best results.
It is also worth noting that the best times to film (when using only natural light) are in the morning and afternoon. This will mean you miss the glare of the midday sun and keep the light soft.
However, there are also options for those that have a small budget to play with and are looking to hire some equipment. If you go into any reputable lighting equipment hire shop, they will be able to offer you advice on what you can afford with your budget and what your best available options are. Another possibility, for the creative types, is to build your own lights and hire shops will be able to advise you on a basic kit of:
- Scoop lights: circular fixtures that do not have any lenses. They have a reflector at the back of the fitting that directs the light out of the fixture
- Daylight bulbs: bulbs that emit light that has a range of wavelengths similar to that of natural sunlight
- Diffusion material: any reflecting or transmitting media, for which the reflected or transmitted light is distributed uniformly
- Light stands
- Clips to hold your light fixtures in place
These will be just as good as a hired kit, so for those on a budget, this is definitely an option worth considering.
When it comes to filming, either a ‘two-point lighting’ or a ‘three-point lighting’ setup is advisable when using a lighting kit.
A two-point setup involves shining one light directly onto your subject’s face, while the other is used to even out the light and remove any potential shadows.
Then, for a three-point lighting setup, one light is placed in front of the subject, another is placed at an angle to eliminate shadows and the final light is placed behind the subject. This adds definition and helps separate the subject from the background.
Lighting is a crucial component to any video shoot and needs to be carefully thought through. However, it needn’t cost the world and there are a number of simple, yet effective solutions, which anybody can master to shoot a video of virtually professional quality.
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