Video set with great video lighting
These five essential concepts will help you achieve great video lighting. Image courtesy Unsplash.

You may think great lighting comes from great equipment. However, great lighting comes from great preparation. You need to prep to get good video lighting.

If you don’t spend enough time considering the existing lighting, or forget to bring enough fill light or set your camera right, you can say goodbye to good lighting. You need to consider these five things to get great lighting.

1. Understand what bad lighting is

You need to know what bad lighting is to avoid it. You have to be brutally honest when viewing your work and other’s work. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the project and overlook some of the details. You have to have a “no excuses” attitude. Learning how to identify problems is the first step.

2. Accurately monitor your shots

The most common problem beginners face is not noticing their shots are too dark. It often happens because of improper camera settings and automatic settings. You need to familiarize yourself with your camera’s exposure settings.

3. Understand your camera settings

Once you are confident your viewfinder accurately reflects the exposures your camera makes, you should then familiarize yourself with the camera’s exposure settings. This will help you avoid the biggest mistake that videographers and photographers make.

Canon 5D
Be sure to know how to work your camera’s exposure settings. Image courtesy Unsplash.

Camera settings have their purpose and once you become comfortable with them, you’ll see your lighting improve. Know how to properly set up your camera and override the automatic settings and you should see better lighting.

4. Add the right fill

All too often, people too little fill from the side. That often leaves the subject with unflattering lighting. Just making exposure adjustments alone won’t correct bad lighting. Bring a few lights or at least a few reflectors.

5. Look for creative solutions

Sometimes, it’s not possible to move the subject or camera and adjust the lighting. You will need to think on your feet and move fast to fix the lighting. You need to be creative to solve the problem. See what you can grab that gives your scene more lighting, whether that be a natural light, a lamp or even a phone screen if the lighting works for the scene.

Subject being filmed in the dark streets at night
Sometimes, you need to get creative with your lighting. Image courtesy Unsplash.

If you want more about this topic, you should read our “5 Ways to Not Suck at Lighting” article. We cover similar topics, but go into them more in-depth.

Image courtesy Unsplash