Content Creation Filmmaking & Videography

When used correctly, lighting is flattering and highlights all the right details in a video. As video creators, it can be tricky to get the right lighting. Under or overexposed videos, strange shadows and various other issues can arise if lighting isn’t right. Luckily, we are here to help guide you with our top video lighting tips for creators!

video lighting tips for content creators why is lighting important

Why Is Lighting Important?

There is a big difference between what our eyes see and what a lens captures. Lighting makes all the difference when it comes to making your videos look professional. Your audience wants to be able to see any action or people on-screen, plus lighting instantly sets the tone. Dark lighting creates a sense of mystery, or can convey nighttime. Bright lighting can highlight optimism and cheerfulness. Using lighting to your advantage will take your videos to the next level, so let’s look at some top lighting tips for video creators!

How To Get The Perfect Lighting: 7 Video Lighting Tips

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1. Preparation & Location

Scouting your location will tell you everything you need to know about your lighting set up. For example, if you are inside, are there plenty of windows for natural light? Is there overhead lighting? This way, you can plan your lighting and know what to bring for the shoot. Be sure to check the weather ahead of time, as this can impact a lot. You need to be careful to avoid glare from the sun, and prepare for issues such as rain that can derail your vision!

2. Indoors Vs Outdoors

Creating good lighting indoors means that you will need to use artificial lights and position them well. Practice moving around the light source to ensure that you don’t cast shadows on your subject. Position your light source higher than the subject’s eye line. Be careful not to put it directly above or below your subject as it will cast unflattering shadows. Having two light sources either side of the camera is a good compromise to create fewer shadows. For outdoor filming, we would recommend using natural light and filming during the morning or late afternoon when the light is soft. This will help you avoid harsh sunshine, also.

3. Know Your Lighting Styles

Do you want soft or hard lighting? Soft lighting is extremely flattering and therefore extremely popular. Soft light means that shadows have barely any edge, so they are less visible. The best way to achieve this is to use a very large light source. Another tip to create soft lighting is to put a sheet of paper between the subject and the light. Fluorescent bulbs are also typically softer than LED bulbs. In contrast, hard lighting creates shadows with sharp edges and works great for creating dramatic effect.

4. Color Temperature

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In order to make a well lit video, you need to match the color temperature of the environment with the lights you are using. Balancing the color temperatures mean less color correction in post-production, also. It’s also important to remember that lights can be intense, and can get hot very quickly. Due to this, try to use LED and fluorescent lights that stay cooler for everybody’s comfort!

5. Think About What You’re Filming

It sounds obvious but bear in mind the intended outcome of the video. If it is an interview, then choosing flattering lighting for your subjects is great. In this example, a ring light could be your best option. If you are filming dancers, for example, you will need a larger set up that makes their movements clear. Perhaps in this example, you could film outside and use natural lighting. Bear in mind who or what will be on camera, where you are filming and what you want to achieve before you start filming.

6. Try 3 Point Lighting

This is a fundamental lighting set up that is a way to ensure great lighting every time. 3 point lighting works best for somebody speaking on camera, so for YouTubers, interviews and so on. It involved three lights: a key light, a fill light and backlight.

Key Light: This is the primary light. It helps to form the details of your subject’s face. Point it at a 45-degree angle in front of your subject to the left or right of the camera.

Fill Light: This is the second n line. It helps to diminish shadows on your subject’s face caused by the key light. Ensure it is less intense and placed opposite your key light. It should still be in front of your subject, on the other side of the camera to the Key Light.

Backlight: This is used to separate your subject from the background. Backlighting creates depth and dimension, and should be the brightest of the three. Place it behind your subject at a 45-degree angle, also.

7. How To Avoid Common Issues

There are often issues that arise with lighting when filming. So let’s take a look at a few and how to avoid them:

  • Glare from subjects wearing glasses. This can be solved by using UV-coated or anti-glare glasses. Alternatively, position your lighting so that it is higher than the glasses and further away from the camera.
  • Looking back at the footage and the lighting looking off. Avoid this one by making sure that you are happy with the lighting set-up before beginning to film. Do some test videos, and watch them back on a laptop so that you can be more critical on a larger screen.
  • Don’t position your lighting directly above or below your subjects. This will be unflattering and even a little scary and distracting for your audience!


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