Video Lighting Tips for Beginners
- Consider the Unpredictability of Sunlight
- Choose the Right Video Lighting Kit
- Understand Basic Video Lighting Setups
- Mind the Distance and Size of Your Light Source
- Use the Right Color Temperature
photo by dsabo via iStock
For beginners, video lighting could be rather tricky for mainly two reasons – 1) your subjects in your scene may move and 2) you may have to shoot moving shots.
And more movement means that your lighting needs more planning.
Another issue with video lighting is you often need to maintain consistency between shots.
Suffice to say, an ideal setup for video shooting is one that gives you more control over your lighting.
With that in mind, read below some video lighting tips for beginners.
Table of Contents
Consider the Unpredictability of Sunlight
photo by pixdeluxe via iStock
It could be tempting to use natural light for most of your video shoots. After all, natural light is free and abundant.
However, be wary of the fact that the sun is unpredictable. Weather conditions can change at the drop of a hat. Clouds can cover the sun within seconds.
In situations like this, the intensity and color of light could vary noticeably from shot to shot. Ideally, avoid using natural light altogether in indoor shoots.
However, when the sun is a little less unpredictable (think outdoor shooting on a bright, sunny day), the sun can be a great source of light for your video shoot. You can even use it as a backlight to get a nice edge light around your subject.
Choose the Right Video Lighting Kit
photo by bjones27 via iStock
You’ll find different types of video lights, with each type having its own pros and cons.
Tungsten lighting kits, for instance, produce a warm, amber light and offer almost perfect color rendition but can quickly heat up and consume a lot of power.
Fluorescent lighting kits, on the other hand, produce a cool, white light. You can use them in both indoor and outdoor shoots. They are lightweight and have low power requirements. However, flickering is a common issue with them. Also, the color rendition isn’t that great!
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
To actually use these professional lights, you’ll also need light stands, soft-boxes, and diffusers. So the cost could add up. Unless you have specific lighting needs, you may not want to spend hundreds of dollars on them.
If you are looking for compact and lightweight video lights on a budget, one great option would be LED lights. Some of them are made to suit almost all types of lighting requirements.
For instance, Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light can deliver both amber and white light, so you can switch between warm and cool light as needed.
Lights like this are typically battery-powered and easy to carry around. You can connect them to your smartphone and adjust the RGB, color temperature of your light instantly.
There is no such thing as the perfect lighting for video recording, but lights like the Hakutatz RGB+AW LED offer a great all-round solution.
Understand Basic Video Lighting Setups
photo by Gizmo via iStock
As a beginner, it could be difficult to decide where to position your lights during a video shoot. Thankfully, there is a standard rule called the 3-point lighting rule.
The rule says you should place three different lights at three separate positions to properly illuminate a scene.
The main source light, or the key light, should be placed to either the left or the right of your camera, preferably to the side your subject is looking at. And it should be the strongest of all the three lights. The height of the light should around 45 degrees above your subject.
As you can imagine, the key light will create a strong shadow on the other side, which you’ll need to soften with another light called the fill light. Use a diffused or soft light as your fill light and place it on the opposite side of the key light.
Finally, use the third light as backlight from above and behind the subject. This should be a strong light on the subject’s shoulder from above and behind. The idea is to create a light contour, so the subject looks separated from the background.
Now a valid question you may have is how you’ll arrange three different lights with varying intensity and softness, especially as a beginner with a limited budget for lighting. We recommend starting with easy-to-use lights like the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED.
Lights like this allow you to use multiple lights at the same time. So, whether you need using a key light, backlight, fill light or all of them, you are good to go within minutes.
Watch the above video by DiCasaFilm to understand 3-point lighting and how it works is a studio setup.
Mind the Distance and Size of Your Light Source
As shown in the video above by Lindsay Adler Photography, there are two great ways to soften the light on your subject. You can bring the light source closer to the subject or use a larger diffuser in front of your light source.
In either case, you are basically making the light source larger relative to the subject. The opposite is also true. So, if you move the source light further from the subject, it would help cast harder light on your subject.
Use the Right Color Temperature
Not all lights have the same color temperature. That’s why some lights look bluish while others look more yellowish.
Simply put, a light's color is measured by its color temperature in degrees Kelvin. The color of sunlight, for instance, keeps changing throughout the day.
As much as possible, you should try not to mix lights of different color temperatures. If you shoot with lights of different color temperatures, it could result in unnatural looking shots due to incorrect color balance.
Thankfully lights like the Hakutatz RGB+AW LEDHakutatz RGB+AW LED gives you more control over color temperature. You can program the color temperature of these lights to ensure correct color balance and make your scenes look exactly how you want them to look.
In the end, using user-friendly lights like these will help you create the best lighting for video projects, and you can do it on a budget!