We’ve spoken often about making everything that bit better at Creative Freedom, from webcomics to apps. Now, let’s focus on video making. If you’re dealing with video production on a budget, it’s important to think carefully about how to make your videos look their most professional. Let’s focus this time around on lighting.

When it comes to filming a video, the most important thing is good lighting, and you don’t always need thousands of pounds worth of lighting equipment, often it’s the minimalist approach that does it best. You want your video to look well lit, sure, but don’t be mistaken in thinking your audience cares what kind of equipment you use.

In his interview with Tubular Lights, Gustav Wilde of Cogito Creative, speaks on the subject of lighting. Wilde recommends three point lighting for video production shooting. He says you need a backlight, a key light, and a fill light –

  • Backlights: The backlight gives a pleasing depth to the shot and separates your subject from the background. It should be placed behind the subject and should provide light on the head and shoulders.
  • The fill light: A supporting light for the key light. It usually mirrors the key light at a lower intensity and “fills in” the shadows created by the key light.
  • Key lights: These are the main lights used to film the subject of the video.
Lighting for video production

How you use your lighting is all about personal taste. If you want to really capture a mood, say something atmospheric, then you’ll need to position your lights in a way that really strengthens your subject, muting much of the scene around them, making sure to play with the shadows to really heighten the mood. For something truly bright and exuberant, then position your lights in a way that notches up the colours, most chirpy upbeat pop videos feature a candy hue – which is helped along mainly in the editing stage, but couldn’t be achieved without a lot of lighting.

Chris Lavigne, a video producer at Wistia, works with a philosophy that is both minimal and flexible, what he refers to as “lighting on the fly”, able to produce videos of a high, professional standard without breaking the bank. From ambient light to hard light, Chris takes us through the myriad ways to make a video standout as something exceptional.

On the subject of light placement, he says, “When you’re shooting someone on screen, position the light sources in front of the camera lens and just above the subject’s eyeline. Make absolutely sure to never light from below. Unless you’re telling a scary story at a campfire, of course.

Lighting people wearing glasses can be tricky. Try to make sure you have UV-coated, anti-glare lenses when possible. If there’s a glare on the lenses, try raising the lights higher and spreading them a bit further apart from the camera. You can also slide the glasses down the nose a bit to aim the glasses away from the lights.”

So, by reading a few of these tips and playing around a little, you’ll be creating beautifully lit videos in no time at all.

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Adam Parrish
Owner and creative director at Creative Freedom Ltd. Unbelievably cool icon design expert, husband, and father of two awesome girls. A proper decent chappy and thoroughly fab to work with. Ok, so I wrote my own bio…

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