I used to be terrified of making videos for social media and I was totally self-conscious on video calls. I never seemed to look as polished as the influencers I followed. That all changed the first time I was interviewed in a professional news studio and realized that the secret is all in the light. The anchors were attractive, of course, but the magic really happened when we all sat under those gorgeous lights. A great video lighting setup doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, and it makes all the difference in looking bright, energized, and well. Let’s dive into what you need to know to make your videos shine!
Why Video Lighting is Key to Making You Look Great
Have you ever watched a video and been distracted by poor lighting? It’s not a good look. Adequate lighting is essential to making you look your best on camera. Whether you’re creating a talking-to-camera piece, a product demo, or a full-blown video production, the right lighting can make all the difference. You’ll look more polished and professional, and your message will be clearer and more engaging.
What You Need in a Video Lighting Setup
So, what do you need in a video lighting setup? You might be pleasantly surprised:
- Lighting Equipment: This includes lamp (you’ll want to play around with different bulbs as they can cast a white or yellow light) or other light source like a ring light, a stand, and any accessories you need to position and control the lighting. Many professional sets comes with remotes to change the temperature and intensity while you’re setting up for your video. You might consider a lighted stand that holds your phone for filming or streaming overhead demonstrations on a tabletop. To keep it really simple and affordable, you can also try standing in front of an open window – you just need light shining directly at you and not from behind you which creates a weird halo effect and makes it tough to see your face.
- Power: If you’re using a lamp or ring light, you’ll need access to electricity to power your lighting equipment. Make sure you have enough outlets and extension cords to set up your light (or lights) in the right position. I carry a portable LED light setup that uses batteries and I keep spare batteries on hand, too. This is great for unforeseen filming opportunities to brighten up a dark corner when shooting on the fly.
- Space: Depending on the size of your lighting equipment, you’ll need enough space to set up your lights and position yourself in front of the camera.
How to Set Up Lighting for a Simple “Talking-to-Camera” Piece
If you’re creating a simple talking-to-camera piece, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. Here’s how to set up lighting for a professional look:
- Find a well-lit space: Look for a location with plenty of natural light or bright overhead lights.
- Position yourself facing the light: Make sure you’re facing the light source, whether it’s a window or a lamp. This will ensure that your face is well-lit, and your eyes are visible. Eye contact builds trust with your audience, we don’t want them covered in shadows.
- Use a reflector: It’s not necessary, but if you plan to film regularly, consider using a reflector to bounce light back onto your face. This will help fill in any shadows and create a more even look.
How to Set Up Lighting for Video
If you’re creating a more complex video, you’ll need a more advanced video lighting setup. Many professional video productions use three-point lighting. As the name suggests this involves using three lights: a key light, a fill light, and a backlight.
- Key light: The key light is the main light source and should be positioned to one side of the camera and pointing directly at you. It should be brighter than the other lights and provide the most illumination on your face.
- Fill light: The fill light is used to fill in the shadows created by the key light. It should be positioned on the opposite side of the camera from the key light and be less bright.
- Backlight: The backlight is used to create separation between you and the background. It should be positioned behind you and above the camera.
- Adjust the lights: Once you have your lights set up, adjust them until you have the right amount of illumination and minimal shadows.
Now that you know the essentials of setting up a video lighting setup, it’s time to get started! Don’t let bad lighting hold you back – with the right setup, you can create professional and polished video content that your audience will love. Grab your lighting equipment and get started! Remember to experiment with different lighting setups to find the one that works best for your needs. And don’t forget to have fun – making videos should be a creative and enjoyable process.