Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lighting Your Videos: You Need To Use This On A Bright Sunny Day

Lighting is definitely an area you need to address in order to be a good video producer. (The other essentials we’ve covered include needing a plan, a script, stabilization equipment, and a microphone (or decent audio recorder). To get what you want in a shot, additional lighting equipment will be also be necessary and last week I shared why you want to add light to your video and gave some good recommendations on studio lighting.

But you might not always need to set up a 3-point lighting scene or want a formal shot, especially if you are shooting outdoors. However for many shots you do need to add extra light, especially on a sunny day.

It may sound counterintuitive to add any more light when in full sunshine but with such broad, intense light like what you get from the sun, you also get some really deep shadows that you may not want. Using a small portable light can help you add light to a scene to fill in and soften the deep shadows. Also adding a small bounce card can do wonders outdoors. A small collapsible reflector/diffusion disc is very inexpensive and something to add to your video tool kit. Light Reflector

Here is one I found at Amazon for less than $20. We have 2 larger (43″) and 1 smaller versions of this. Choose the white, silver, or gold side or totally unzip it for a nice diffuser, which is perfect for shooting under speckled tree light and harsh sunlight.

If you read my post on lighting recommendations, I promised to share another inexpensive option that will help you light up a much larger area. I recently discovered a wallboard type of material – it’s really just a piece of insulation – that has a shiny surface on one side. You can find them at most hardware or home improvement stores. I found it at Lowes and it is inexpensive and very lightweight. I spent $5 for a 2 x 4 sheet. We used both for a docudrama that will run on EWTN in November 2013. We also used a 4 x 8 sheet for another scene. My associate built a stand out of PVC pipe and fittings to hold it.

The only downside to this set up was when the wind picked up. We had to use sand bags to steady it and make sure it wouldn’t blow away. Wind is something to consider when you do use these lightweight, less expensive options.

Next week I’ll be talking about some simple yet very important cleaning tools you need to carry with you on EVERY shoot you go on. They are definitely essentials in my book!

I’d like to hear from you on what other ways you’ve lit up a scene while outside. Make sure you leave your comment below! Thanks!

Other Posts You Want To Read:

Lights For Your Video: Why It Is Essential For Professional Shooting

Lighting For Video: Meet Lumos’ Trip Series LED Lights And See Why They’re #1 In Asia

9 Essential Tools Video Producers Should NEVER Go Without

The Anova iPhone Controlled LED Video Light “Lights” Up NAB

Home Video Studio Basics: Lighting


2 Responses to “Lighting Your Videos: You Need To Use This On A Bright Sunny Day”
  1. The art of the reflector: an essential and oft-overlooked skill in shooting outdoors. Always carry one in your kit.

    A couple weeks back my crew ended up actually using 2 HMI lights on the subject for a bright, sunny outdoors shoot. Just because the sun is there, doesn’t mean that’s always enough.

    Looking forward to next week’s post. Thanks for this.

    • Rick Smith says:

      Absolutely right, Nick. Shooting outdoors brings all kinds of challenges with deep shadows and contrast ranges. Shooting people when the sun is overhead is the worst; the shadows can be awful, so you end up throwing more light at an already bright scene to smooth it out. Seems counter-intuitive to some people. We often see people taking photos in such conditions and we tell them to use the flash. They don’t understand why they’d want to use a flash on a sunny day but they love the results.

      Thanks for contributing.


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