All video lights are pretty much the same, right?
Video lighting comes in an array of shapes, sizes, qualities of light, types of light, features, and so forth. Some offer far greater flexibility than others. Some offer a much lower price tag, too.
Just like there is a lot of variation in the features and functionality of cameras, so too is there a lot of variation in what you can get in a video light.
If you’re looking for a lighting setup for your video productions, let this be a quick and easy guide to help you find the right lighting for you.
Editor’s Note: To illustrate some of the features you should look for in video lighting, I use the TEKE Reactive and Animated DMX Lighting System as a prime example.
Quality and Type of Light
When you’re in need of lighting to get the scene just right in your video, you want something that offers the quality and type of light to help you fulfill your vision for the scene.
This means you need to examine specifications like lumens and CRI, as well as the type of light that’s offered.
For example, the TEKE Reactive and Animated DMX Lighting System offers ultra-bright performance with 700 and 1400 lumens. With that kind of light output, you can truly highlight the details of the scene you’re filming.
What’s more, this light offers 90+ CRI, flicker-free light for your videos. For the uninitiated, CRI stands for Color Rendering Index, and is a measure of how accurately a light can reproduce a light source, like the sun. Lights with a 90+ CRI are considered to be at the top of the heap.
Having different color options is a nice bonus, too. Some lights have a fixed color temperature, like 5000K while others offer various temperatures of white or amber light. Still others, like TEKE, offer even more options - like full-spectrum RGBW and an adjustable color temperature of 2700K-6500K - so you get virtually limitless flicker-free color options for your videos.
Regarding the type of light, many are controlled by Bluetooth, which gives you wireless performance. However, Bluetooth has its limits in terms of signal strength and distance. That’s why I prefer lights that have DMX connectivity. It’s a much stronger signal over farther distances, which means you can worry less about the connectivity of your lights and more about what’s happening in front of the lens.
Convenience and Ease of Use
The lighting you use for your videos can make or break the final result. But you don’t want to sacrifice convenience and ease of use for quality of light.
Some lights manage to find the ideal balance of the two and offer the lighting you need while keeping things simple.
To use TEKE as an example again, you benefit from smartphone control that makes it as simple as a tap of the screen to change the light’s settings.
Adjust the color, choose different lighting styles, add animated effects, or select from a variety of lighting presets, all right from your phone. You can even create your own presets for later use and create custom color palettes based off of photos or videos you upload to the app. You basically have your own personal lighting assistant in the palm of your hand to help you achieve your creative goals.
Also on the convenience front is having the ability to bring multiple lights into the scene if need be. If you use traditional lights, this might involve having several light stands at different locations with cables running all over the place, which isn’t very convenient.
However, if you use wireless lights, you get the freedom of placing them wherever you need without worrying about who’s going to trip over your light stands and cables. Some lights, like TEKE, even give you the option of connecting multiple lights together, all controlled simultaneously by the smartphone app.
Plus, the DMX technology I mentioned before unlocks additional features like pixel mapping and synchronized complex gradient animations. This is truly Hollywood-level stuff!
Sizing Options and Accessories
Sometimes your video shoot calls for a small hand-held light to get just the look you want. Other times you need a larger, brighter light mounted on a tripod.
When looking for video lighting, be sure that the lights you like offer different sizes and accessories, that way you can tailor the lighting to any video situation.
TEKE comes in a 20-inch option while TEKE Pro offers 40-inches. Again, you can connect these lights together for greater lighting flexibility.
What’s more, companies like TEKE have a host of accessories that take the functionality of their lights to the next level. From mini tripods to swivel ball-heads to quick-charging adapters, you can accessories to your heart’s content to fill out your lighting kit just how you need.
Whether you spend $150 on video lighting or $1,500 on video lighting, you want the lights you invest in to give you long-lasting durability. This isn’t just to protect your monetary investment, either. Having durable lighting means you can plan video shoots without worrying if your lights will work or not.
To use TEKE as an example, these lights have a weather-resistant aluminum housing that enables you to use them in a wide range of environmental conditions. If the scene calls for a little rain, TEKE can handle it!
Granted, you don’t want to abuse whatever lights you buy, but having the peace of mind that they’re well-built and weather-resistant is definitely a bonus.
Also on the durability front is the battery life the light has. Some lights give you just an hour or two on max power, but others, like TEKE, give you four hours of runtime at full brightness. So not only are these lights controlled wirelessly, but they also give you hours and hours of battery-powered lighting.
Charging is easy, too. Just plug them into a Type-C charging cable to juice them up. You can even use these lights while they charge!
For many people, one of the most important factors when considering what gear to buy is the price. This is especially true today as many of us have to tighten our belts due to the pandemic.
But prioritizing price doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on all the other features listed above. Some lights, like TEKE, give you all the features and functionality you need without making your wallet scream in pain.
TEKE, the 20-inch version, starts at just $139, while TEKE Pro, the 40-inch version, starts at $169. You get an awful lot of firepower for that price!
But don’t take my word for it. Visit the TEKE Kickstarter (which has blown past the goal!) to learn more about this incredible, feature-packed video light.