BETTER LIGHTING = BETTER CONTENT
Lighting is the lowest hanging fruit if you want to improve the quality of your videos. Whether you are using natural lighting or an artificial lighting setup a little bit of planning goes a long way.
Nothing makes a video more amateurish than filming on a smart phone in the middle of a sunny day when the camera is overexposed, shadows are being cast down the face and the background is being lost. Likewise filming indoors with incandescent light from above will give a similar effect with grainy barely usable footage.
Natural light is abundant, free and when used well can look absolutely amazing. Consider filming outside a few hours around first light or a few hours before dark. The sun is softer and at a lower angle which can be used to create a more professional effect. Filming with the sun behind the camera will bounce light off the object and provide a quality scene. If indoors then get as close as possible to a large window with plenty of light coming in which can directly bounce off the subject into the camera lens.
Artificial lighting can be relatively inexpensive and if you are filming inside then it’s well worth the cost. LED panels start from $10 for a small battery operated unit. Larger LED panels can be adjusted to give different levels and shades of warmth.
Ideally when filming you want a 3 point lighting system which consists of:
- Key Light – This is the main light which is usually pointed directly at the object from a 45’ angle. This will be the brightest and most powerful light. A diffuser may be used to soften the light and give a more attractive and flattering image.
- Fill Light – This will be used to fill in shadows on the opposite side to the key light. Ideally a light with variable levels can be used to dial in the exact contrast you want. A reflector can be used to bounce some light back off the keylight when a second light is not available.
- Back Light – Also known as a hair light. This light comes from behind and above and is used to separate the subject from the background by adding a touch of lightness to the outline.