Has it ever crossed your mind, why does “Lights” come first during film shoots when the clapperboards click? Why is it not “Camera, Lights, Action”? Or “Sound, Camera, Action”? Well, the answer lies in the fact that lights happen to be the most essential part of video production. And with some clever lighting tips, you can get the most professional-looking videos on a shoestring budget.
Be it live-action, animated videos, or even a zoom call, if you lack an ideal lighting set-up, it’s impossible to create an impact on the viewers. And lighting is probably the second-most important aspect of a good video, a crisp script being the first. So whether you are setting up for your next zoom meeting or shoot your next marketing video or Vlog, “Let there be Light”!
The Importance of Perfect Lighting for any Video
Honestly, getting the perfect lighting for each shot might be challenging initially, but you can give your viewers a truly great experience with practice and following the proper guidelines. Also, creating a video that is illuminated at the right parts makes your content look professional and authentic, and makes your visual storytelling excellent.
Though it may apparently seem trivial, lighting has the power to affect the video quality, as well as the viewers’ mood. So, it is of utmost importance to learn the ideal video lighting tips for YouTubers.
Clever Video Tricks for your Next Video Shoot
However, though this might seem a grueling process, getting all the fancy lights and equipment every time you plan to do a video – in reality, that’s the opposite. You do not have to burn a hole in your pocket just to get great lighting.
Today, we are going to discuss some cool and handy tricks for shooting the perfect video at home without hauling around a bunch of accessories, and investing a fortune.
1. Shoot during the Day and look for Natural Light Sources, like Windows for Best Indoor Lighting
While prepping for your shoot at home, consider the natural light during the daytime for a soft light. Natural lighting is the easiest and the most cost-effective light source you can think of.
Pick the “golden hour” for the shoot, i.e., the time just before sunrise or sunset to get a perfect diffused lighting. Just ensure that the light is not too harsh or too dark, as either of the two can ruin a good video. You might also pick a slightly overcast day that is neither too dark nor too sunny. And in case you feel the Sun is making your eyes squint, then grab a semi-transparent white curtain to block the excess sunlight.
2. Create a Three-Point Lighting for Low-Dimmed Rooms
Another fundamental of a perfect shooting setup, a two or three-point lighting, is the mix of 2 or 3 lights.
The first is the Key Light, which is the primary light and the strongest that provides most of the lights for your video. This is the light source that highlights the subject and helps form a dimension and details. One must place the key light just in front of the subject, around 45 degrees above or 45 degrees right or left.
The fill light usually eliminates any shadow caused by the key light. This light source must be placed just opposite. One rule of thumb is to keep the fill light about half the intensity of your key light so that there’s no flat shot due to both the lights matching in close proximity.
Finally comes the backlight, aka, rim light, which must be placed between the key and the fill light and completely out of the shot. A backlight differentiates the subject from the background creating depth and a soft glow in the background. It also prevents any flat-looking shots.
If you are shooting for your next high-quality YouTube, Vimeo, or any demo video, keep these rules in mind. A three-point lighting set-up helps create good lighting for videos shot at home, as well as a perfectly balanced and controllable distribution of light.
3. Switch on a Pair of Lamp for the Perfect Indoor Lighting at Night
While shooting at night, you may take resort to lightbulbs for an evenly distributed light. Strike a balance between a diffused yet bright light. Place them on either side of your face at 45 degrees, to be precise, and just raise them slightly above your eye line. And you are sorted.
You may want to utilize lamps and light sockets, candles, or other similar light sources for a good diffused glow. This creates minimal shadows and ensures consistency. Just be sure the bulbs are of the same temperature and brightness.
A pro tip to remember: For a personal video shoot on your Smartphone, try using a ring light. It is a handy equipment that comes cheap, nothing extravagant, and gives perfect lighting accenting your face in the right way. These lighting tips for amateur filmmakers serve as super-smart hacks to share your content in video format.
4. Try DIY Inexpensive Light Equipment
Videographers short on budget and who don’t own professional lighting kits can invest in a few pocket-friendly items. Clamp lights, LED video light panels, usually come in cheap. You may go for a second-hand item as well which, is in good condition.
Get a tripod-mounted work light from any hardware shop at a low cost. With all these not-so-pricey options, make your own custom light kit. However, as these light sources are not hardcore professional lighting equipment, these often can be too bright or too dim. You have to have a provision for a diffuser or reflector to soften/enhance the lighting effect.
5. Try Affordable Color Filters for Different Color Shade
One of the cool video lighting tips for beginners, use colored filters to create colored lighting effects. Colored filters are super handy pieces of stuff that help you get the best shot without much of a pocket pinch. Basic heat-resistant color filters like blue gels come cheap in any camera hardware store. Blue gels help convert the bright yellow tinge of a bulb into a soft, white filter.
This reduces harshness to a great extent. If you crave a moonlight effect for a night-time shot, use a blue filter to create a more blue and cold feel. If a warmer and sunnier effect is required, you might use an orange or yellow filter. A pale yellow gel on your backlight will create a warm golden tint on your subject’s body which looks fabulous and pretty professional too.
Gel filters and diffusion papers are amazingly cheap and are available in any camera store for $5-$6 per sheet.
6. Cinefoil or Black Wrap Saves the Day!
Ideal for masking any light leaks and eliminating unwanted reflection, this lightweight studio variety of aluminum foil is the true lifesaver for anyone who wants to shoot on a shoestring budget. You can get precise control of your light just by wrapping the foil around the edges of the light source and soak up any unwanted reflection.
This way, you get the perfect video lighting on a budget as well as maintain a professional look.
7. Do not Mix your Lighting
Do not overwhelm yourself and your video with an insane amount of mixed lighting. Utterly pointless. Why would someone even think of mixing all the lights lying around their house and create a devastating result!
Never give in to that urge- mixing of lights of different color temperatures can lead to an improper color balance. Simply because it can affect your camera sensor as it struggles to adjust with the new white balances. Which can eventually produce unnatural pale and bluish images.
Think of using daylight color bulbs available at departmental or stationery stores. Or, if you are still in any dilemma, just stick to natural light sources.
8. Be Careful with the Backlight
This is applicable even for your Zoom calls. Never overdo your backlight, or it may backfire! It might seem very artsy and cinematic, but you might forget it for simple photos and focus more on your front light.
Most of the webcams these days come with auto-exposure, which implies your camera might focus on anything bright in the room instead of you. And thus, you would be left in the darkness with shadows forming on your face. To avoid this fiasco, even if you have to arrange your furniture a little bit, just do it!
9. Shoot in a Shade while Filming Outdoors in the Sun
While shooting in the sun, it is paramount to find a shade and work yourself through. Harsh lighting can make your face twitch, ruin your photo or video, and prevent your audience from engaging with your content. You won’t ever want that your face looks all weird and distorted.
That said, find specific places under the shade that will give your photos a diffused and soft lighting and make them look appealing.
10. During Outdoor Shots at Night, Shoot under Street Lights
Shooting outdoors at night is way tricky than shooting in the daytime. But when it comes to being responsive to your customers, you have no other choice but the shoot. And as expected, videos shot at night look dark, blurry, and shadowy. But did you know you can get rid of this mess pretty easily?
Simply use a street lamp for the purpose, and you shall get the perfect ambient lighting. However, don’t go too far underneath the street lap, or it will create long shadows on your eyes and face. And any shadow on the face and eyes is a strict no-no.
Nonetheless, as I said, forget your flash and tripod at home and make use of the atmospheric lighting in your surrounding. Street photography during the night mustn’t be a challenge anymore, because you have got the best lighting for video recording on the streets itself!
So you see, with so many clever hacks and lighting tips, you can save much of your fund and carry on your video shoots in the budget, and also get the perfect lighting. Well, these were the basics; you can always experiment with other hacks and video lighting DIY kits to find new ways of achieving a perfectly crisp and professional video. Because no matter what video you are creating, if you don’t get the lighting correct, all your efforts go to waste.
So just let the Sun or the lightbulbs, streetlights, or simple filter papers do the magic. And once you are done making your enchanting video, don’t forget to share it on your social media channels. Start implementing the lighting tips in your videos and see the results for yourself. And if you ever require any help creating a stellar marketing or brand video, we are just an email away!