Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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

July 9, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Equipment, Video Production

In previous posts we covered needing a plan, a script and stabilizer, i.e., tripod, monopod, etc. Last week it was the necessity for a good mic. Let’s move onto the fifth essential item – video lights.

Lights: Video Essential You Shouldn’t Go Without

Because of technological advances, today’s camcorders can do some remarkable things…they can automatically adjust your white balance, you can edit from them and add digital effects as you shoot, and you can actually upload your footage to the “cloud”, to be seen by others almost immediately. Pretty awesome!

Although cameras are being made today that allow you to shoot more in low light settings, cameras still can’t control the light going into them well enough to adequately light a scene in many situations. Because your camera doesn’t adjust the way your eyes do, you need to help it along if you want to achieve the look you are going for.

The way to do that is often to add light. You will improve your shots immensely if you add light to fill in shadows, add a sparkle to a person’s eyes, and bring out the colors of a scene. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a bundle to do so.

Left: Shooting into the window
Right: Shooting with window behind videographer

Like microphones, lights can be cheap or very expensive, and if you are just starting out, you don’t have to over spend on lights. Simple work lights from Home Depot will work in many cases. Or a person at a desk could be lit with a desk lamp simply pointed at them. Or if your subject can move, have her face a window and use the light coming in to light her face like we did in this photo to the right.

If you are working outdoors without electricity you can use a reflector or foam core board to bounce sunlight into a scene. (I’ve recently discovered a nice and inexpensive option that I’ll share next week when I get more in-depth about using reflectors.)

When working indoors or with access to electricity you can get some nice lighting kits that are a lot less expensive than you may think. You can find well priced lights at Cowboy Studio or Amazon.

Here is a simple, inexpensive light kit that retails on for $46. We’ve shared more in an earlier post on home studio lighting that you’ll want to refer to.

We’d like to hear from you how if you have any great budget and DIY lighting solutions that you use. If so, comment below!

Also go ahead and share this post with others you feel will benefit!

Next week I’m going to be talking about why and when you need a reflector and share with you that inexpensive option I hinted at earlier.

More Reading We Recommend:

Home Video Studio Basics: Lighting

A Good Mic – Here’s Why It’s a Video Essential

Stabilizers: Here’s Why This is Another Video Essential For Professional Looking Video

Your Video Script – How To Write It And Why It’s Essential To Producing A Good Video

9 Essential Tools Video Producers Should NEVER Go Without


2 Responses to “Lights For Your Video: Why It Is Essential For Professional Shooting”
  1. Jeremiah says:

    Using lights from a hardware store is not a great suggestion. Halogen work lights have no barn doors to cut the light and they look amateurish. I’ve heard of using shower curtains for diffusion (a dangerous suggestion) and other DIY stuff is just a recipe for disaster. I can not think of any other industry where people suggest creating their own gear. No one suggests cooking everything in microwaves to be more efficient in the kitchen or to construct making your own furniture out of cinder blocks and throw pillows. Get the right tools for the job. There are plenty of Chinese knock offs online if you can’t afford the pro stuff. Resort to DIY stuff in the heat of the moment when you need to improvise but don’t bring that stuff to the set.

    • Kim R Miller says:

      Well said, Jeremiah. We’re suggesting work lights only if you have zero budget. That’s what we started off with. When you start making some income, then definitely we suggest investing in the right tools for the job.

      I also agree about not using ANY type of flammable material that is not specifically made for lighting. Bounce the lights off the walls or ceiling if you need to soften it.

      Thanks for the comments!


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