Lighting Techniques for Beginner Video Creators
As a beginning video creator, you want to bring your videos to the next level as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to get your videos looking professionally polished is to master your video lighting setup. In addition, having a good lighting setup will cut down on time spent editing your video’s light and color digitally, leaving you more time to create the content that your viewers love.
Read our pro tips on good video lighting techniques to get started:
Video Lighting Basics
Soft Lighting v.s. Hard Lighting
Soft lighting is lighting without hard-edged shadows. It’s one of the most popular types of lighting for content videos since it makes the light source less obvious and doesn’t cast your subject in a harsh shadow.
There are two main ways to create soft lighting: large light sources and diffusing your light. The first way simply requires finding and using a very large light source to provide abundant light to your shooting location. The second way requires a sheet of paper and the lights you have available. Simply put the sheet of paper between your light and the video shot, and the paper will help diffuse the light so it doesn’t make any harsh shadows.
Hard lighting is lighting with hard-edged shadows. If you’ve ever made shadow puppets in front of a flashlight, you’ve seen hard lighting in motion. Overhead artificial lights can also create hard lighting, so we recommend you avoid them if you can. Even though most video content makes use of soft lighting, you can use hard lighting to create dramatic effects or a sinister tone.
Video Color Temperatures
Color temperature is a way of referring to the color that your lights and environment give off. You’ll want to match the color temperature of both for your video to feel cohesive. For example, if you’re shooting in a space with primarily red and orange coloring, you’ll want your lights to be warmer to match. Likewise, a stark white light would work best in a cool-toned location.
Ring Lights for Filming Videos
One classic type of video content is a vlog. If your video content involves the subject’s face centered in the camera and talking in any way, you’ll want to invest in a ring light. Ring lights are circular light elements that you put in front of your face to light it evenly and eliminate deep shadows. Ring lights come in a variety of types, so be sure you pick the one that’s right for you. Often being able to customize your light color and brightness can come in handy, which is why the Godox Bi-Color LED ring light is a good starter option.
Setting Up Lighting When Shooting Your Video
Test the Video Lighting
As with every step of shooting a video, it’s important to test all video elements before starting a recording run. Give yourself time at the start of each video shoot to observe the preexisting lighting in a space and to decide what lighting equipment you’ll need to bring to work with the light.
When shooting a video outdoors, it’s especially important to observe the lighting at the time of day you plan to shoot. If you can, go up a day or two ahead of time at the time of your shoot to see what the lighting will be like. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the weather, since overcast days and sunny days will cast different levels of shadow in your video.
3-Point Lighting Setup
One of the most fundamental lighting setups is the 3 point lighting setup. It requires you to have three light sources, one for each of the points. Your light sources should all match in color temperature to avoid color balance issues that will take time to fix in edits.
The key light is the primary light source. It should be placed in front of the video’s subject, 45 degrees to the right or left of the center.
The fill light is the secondary light that helps soften the lighting. Similar to the key light, a fill light should also be placed 45 degrees in front of the subject, opposite the key light. The fill light should lighten any shadows the key light casts, but still be dimmer than the key light.
The backlight helps differentiate between your subject and the background. In the case of a vlog, this technique creates depth between the speaker and the wall or display behind them. This background light should be the brightest of the light sources, and it should be placed behind the subject at a 45-degree angle.
Elevate Your Videos with Maestra’s Automatic Subtitle Generator
As a beginner video creator, you want to grab your audience’s attention. You’ve already taken the first step by reading our video lighting tips, but a video’s engagement doesn’t stop with quality studio lighting.
For a video to truly engage your audience, it must have quality subtitles. Your softly lit video will catch a viewer’s eye, but video captions can help them understand and retain the content better. Not all viewers can engage with your video’s audio. Sometimes their sound is off, or they’re hearing-impaired, or they don’t speak your video’s language. Adding subtitles is an easy way to elevate your video quality and engagement.
With quality subtitles in over 80 languages, Maestra can provide your videos with captions in a matter of minutes. Use Maestra’s automatic caption generator to add subtitles to your video in no time. Experience the power of our AI-powered caption tool today! Sign up to get started.