A lot of the time, creating professional looking video doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy the most expensive or elaborate, hard to find equipment. Sometimes, it just comes down to the techniques, which is what we’re gonna be looking at today – how to light for video, and we’re gonna take a look at four simple steps that’ll make this process a lot easier for each and every one of us to create more professional looking products.
The first thing we’re gonna look at is the functions on your camera and how they can help you create more light in each and every one of your shots. Then, we’re gonna take a look at the existing light that’s there and how we can improve upon it. Then, we’re gonna take a look at step number three, one of the most important steps, how to supplement that existing light or diminished light if we have too much. In the last step, we’re gonna take a look at some of the problems that arise when lighting for video and some of the simple fixes. I’m Tom Skowronski and this is lighting for video.
Step number one when it comes to lighting for video is understanding how the camera could actually capture more light with the use of three separate functions. The first function is known as the gain. The gain is a function that allows you to have a brighter image by amplifying the signal in your image sensor. However, the higher the gain sits at, the more noisy and grainier the picture gets. Now, the iris, on the other hand, is a little opening inside your camera that controls how much light is getting from the lens to the image sensor. The third way that you can use your camera to control the amount of light is known as the ND filter. What this does is cuts out the amount of light that’s coming into the lens and hitting the chip. Here’s an example of the different types of settings you can use when using an ND filter.
Step number two to lighting for video is checking the actual natural light that’s there, the existing light, and seeing what you can do with it. Now, one of the big problems if you’re shooting indoors is there isn’t a lot of existing light. If you look here at this clip of Julie in the kitchen cooking me some soup, you’ll see that, clearly, there’s a lot of noise in the picture. There’s really only one window that has a covering over it. What you’re gonna want to do to get past this to create the most possible light is turn on everything that’s there. Make sure that all the overhead lights are on. Make sure that the light above the stove is on. Make sure that the window, the shades aren’t covering it. Open those up. You want to bring in as much possible light to light her as well as you possibly can.
Now, when it comes to existing light, sometimes, you have to use big windows and sometimes you have to use the sun. Now, the problem is that doesn’t always work out to your advantage. So, what you’re gonna wanna do is always look at your location and see if you can change your position. The same concept is gonna apply when you’re outdoors and you’re working with the sun. The sun is a very harsh and very hard light. It’s gonna create a lot of big and deep shadows. So, sometimes, it’s better to move that person under a little bit of shade to create more of a natural appearance so that they’re lit a little bit more evenly. When you do this, it takes out a lot of those shadows that come from the sun, just hitting them directly, almost like a key light.
Step number three is a very important process when it comes to lighting for video. Each and every one of us has to understand how we could supplement existing light or diminish light if we have too much.
Now, when it comes to shooting outdoors, one of the most important accessories you could possibly have in your video kit is known as a reflector and not each and every one of us can afford a reflector, so a good way around that is known as a sunshade. This is gonna be the best possible possibly way to reflect light onto your subject. A lot of times, when we’re outdoors, we’re working with the sun, which is very harsh and it generally comes down from one specific angle. Well, now, with the use of a reflector, if you can see here in this clip, we actually can catch the light and shoot it to where we want it to go, creating two sources of light. Now, we’re basically creating a much more comfortable and much more studio environment outside.
Believe it or not, one of the most useable tips here is actually moving the light closer to the subject. A lot of times, we’ll be working indoors and we don’t realize that our scenes aren’t lit well enough. Sometimes, just moving that light closer is just enough to create enough light in the scene to where our subject will look perfect.
Step number four involves preparation. We need to make sure that we’re always ready, no matter what the problem is so that we can fix it and get on with our video shoot.
The first thing we’re gonna take a look at is backlighting. This is always a problem whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors. Here’s an example of an indoors problem and then we’ll show you how to fix it. Now, again, the simple fix here is simply to move our location. So, the cameraperson is actually gonna change where they’re shooting from so that that light, which was creating a backlighting situation, is now gonna be used almost like a key light to fill in all those dark areas on Julie’s face.
Another problem when shooting indoors is the fact that even though sometimes we have light that’s a lot closer to the subject, it’s not powerful enough a lot of the times to completely illuminate the scene. In this case, we’re gonna use a little secret and actually change the light bulb from the standard one that’s in the light to one that is of a higher wattage value. This creates a more powerful light and, in the end, results in a much more flattering scene.
Sometimes, we run into this same problem outdoors in that we have a lot of light, but we’ll end up with too much. And, in this case, the best possible solution, again, change the location, look around, find some shade. Put the subject under the shade. When you do this, the lighting is a lot more natural and a lot more even and, therefore, a lot more flattering to the subject.
Now, if you look at this example, you can see that our backlighting issue continues to happen even when we’re outdoors. And, again, the simple fix here, change your location. Take the cameraperson, put their back towards the camera so that the sun is now facing your subject. From here, you just need to find some shade if they’re possibly overexposed to create a much more even and natural form of light.
Video lighting is one of the best ways to create a professional looking product. The first step you’re gonna need is to understand how the functions of your cameras work and how your camera captures light. The second thing is understanding how that existing light can be used to your advantage. Third, let’s make sure we all understand how to create more light or diminish the light, in case we have too much. And, lastly, some simple problems, well, they always have a solution. Follow these simple four steps and you, too, will be able to create professional looking video.
[End of Audio]