Quality lighting will always set the mood for your videos regardless of the camera you are using or the type of video you are making. Even though getting the right amount of lighting can be a daunting task, especially for beginners, there are several concepts you should understand to get the job done well. In this video lighting guide, you will learn about various ideas such as setups for video lighting, choosing suitable equipment for video lighting, the importance of good video lighting, and much more.

The importance of good video lighting

Lighting signals quality and professionalism

Quality lighting will always make your viewers appreciate the quality of the video, including those who have little knowledge of videography. A novice can easily recognize bad lighting, even though they cannot technically understand why the video looks modest. This explains why commercials need to be shot using quality lighting to turn recipients into customers.

Lighting aids in telling the story and shapes the experience

In storytelling, great lighting can play a subtle yet formidable role. You can employ directional lighting to pinpoint critical objects or people who help plot critical points. This will help control how your audience will take in the story while understanding crucial moments within the story.

Great lighting leads to less editing

Poor lighting will always cause editing problems, leading to delays in achieving the targeted milestone: releasing the project. Even though you can decide to go back and reshoot the scenes, which is not always a good option budget-wise, you may have to go with the initial shoot. This can only mean that you will have to invest in software to fix the dark scenes to match the well-lit scenes.

Lighting ensures continuity

Imagine a scenario where you have decided to shoot using natural lighting to save up the task of illumination. For this reason, you choose to shoot during the day when there is enough sunlight meaning you won't need extra equipment or lighting.

You also decide to shoot indoors since the light is sufficient, but you notice a difference in lighting within your video shoots at the end of the shoot. The reason could be the changing lighting intensity from the windows and the contrast in the morning and afternoon sunlight.

Correcting this problem requires you to have constant lighting to ensure the continuity of scenes. However, with quality lighting, you can create the illusion that a five-minute scene that took approximately 3-4 hours to shoot took place within the provided 5-minute window.

Lighting sets the mood

By now, you understand that dramatic lighting can make or break a scene in a creepy movie. Now picture a character trying to escape a haunted house which is well lit, not a dreadful scene at all, is it?

Moreover, most viewers always think that lighting only matters in extreme examples like the one above. Behind the scenes, it takes art and science to set the right mood for any video production, regardless of the type of clip or video. Professional videos with scenes like the one mentioned above will require bright yet warm and friendly lighting to achieve the desired result.

Furthermore, paying careful attention to a video's mood and lighting will help in ensuring you avoid the following:

  • Ruining a comedic moment with dim lighting
  • Shadowing your hero, which can result in your audience doubting them
  • Sabotaging your prowess in storytelling

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Softbox lighting

They are translucent boxes that come in various sizes and shapes with the ability to fit over a studio video camera light. A softbox is considered to be the perfect tool for lighting the setup for YouTube videos, due to its ability to filter and diffuse the harsh glare produced by the lightbulb inside.

Softbox kits such as the Spectrum Illuminate Mate, a double rectangular softbox lighting kit, come with two softboxes to enable you to position each box on the side of your subject for uniform lighting. Additionally, the two large boxes provide the ideal covering on the larger areas, giving you the leverage to add ring lights to your video lighting setup.

Alternatively, if you require a softbox with dimmable lights, one with 3 distinct lighting options: daylight, white and warm lighting temperatures is the ideal option. This will enable you to set and match your lighting to the mood you intend to deliver in the video.

Ring lighting

Ring lighting is the ultimate go-to setup for makeup and beauty vloggers. The ring light comprises a panel or lightbulb shaped inside a ring, resulting in an even and flattering light all around the face.

LED lighting

LED lights come with a single panel containing several LED bulbs. They are easy to set up or take down and easy to transport. You can also style them to suit your setup and preference.

3-point lighting (LED and ring lighting)

The best setup for YouTube lighting uses 3-Point lighting since it contains 3 lights, the fill, main, and background lights. When using the 3-point lighting, the right light should be used as the main light, while LED panels should fill the background. Other key points to note include:

  • The primary or key lighting should always be stronger than the other two. It should also be the light pointing directly to your face while shooting your YouTube content.
  • The fill light is ideal for filling any shadows left by the main light. It also aids in giving a pleasant look.
  • The background light is usually pointed towards the background to get sufficient light to separate the subject from its shadow.

Natural lighting (add reflector)

Natural lighting has proved to be a simple way to get the required video lighting, and it is readily available. While setting up your shoot, you need a big window that does not get direct sunlight as the key light. The window is ideal for naturally creating sufficient lighting that wraps around your subject, mainly if the glass is frosted.

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Common setups for video lighting

One-light setup

For this setting, the key light is usually the primary source of light. Its principal function is to light up the scene to illuminate and highlight the size and shape of the object. One light setup comprises high and low-key lighting.

  • High-key lighting: This option is often used in fashion shows, vlogging, music shows, and comedy.
  • Low key lighting: It is often used in drama and mystery to generate suspense, creating the impression that something's hidden within the shadows.

Two-light setup

2-point lighting usually functions well with a fill-light included in the setup. The fill light is crucial to overcome the shadow cast by the key light on the subject. For this reason, the fill light is essential to bring back some bits of the shadowy part of the subject, such as the actor's face.

Fill lights also help reduce the contrast and the dynamic range of a scene within the shoot. Notably, fill lights are usually soft lights of lower intensity than the key light. However, if you opt for a bright and high-key appearance, fill lights can produce brightness equal to the main light.

Three-light setup

The three-light setup comprises of 3-point key, fill, and backlights. The backlight is used to illuminate the foreground elements, such as the interviewee or the actor from the background. This helps to separate the subject from the backside.

Backlights can also be used to highlight the actor's shoulders and hair. This explains why they are referred to as the rim light or hair and shoulder lights. Whenever you place the backlights behind the subject to create a silhouette posture, the setting can be referred to as a kicker light.

Backlights can be artificially created using LED panels, car headlights, fluorescent tubes, or natural lighting (sunshine) within the background.

Matching your lighting to songs for music videos

To effectively do this, you need to have a good mastery of various types of music videos. Below are the classes.

  • Performance music videos: They are considered the oldest and most common type of music used. They comprise the artist performing the song while lights are set up to match it.
  • Narrative music videos: With time, people have gotten tired of filming performances and instead turned to narrative music videos to convey the message. Narrative music is suitable for sharing a story associated with the song used in the video. Just like a film, these stories have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Concept videos: Concept videos are all about bringing the feelings of an artist about their presentation. It is a fun and freeing idea, because where narrative videos can be a bit regulated, concept videos aren't. Anything is possible in the limitless playground of these videos. This means that the light should be set up to capture the feel and tone being conveyed by the artist.
  • Animated music videos: Animations are the perfect alternative if you are shooting your content with a lean budget and can't afford to pay real performers to feature in the video, for instance dancers and actors. Furthermore, they are versatile, giving you the leverage to produce quality content that can promote your ideas to your satisfaction.

Tips to achieve properly lit green screens

  • Set up the green screen equipment: Regardless of the type of green screen you have, always set it up correctly. Also, keep off any reflective materials from the vicinity to avoid interfering with the lighting.
  • Use the same lights: Ensure you use the same lighting to keep a constant temperature and even color balance.
  • Begin by lighting the subject: After setting up your equipment, begin by lighting the subject. Also, ensure you keep the subject approximately 8 feet away from the green screen before illuminating it.
  • Proceed to light the green screen: Once you have the subject in the right place, position the lights to target the green screen. Ensure you maintain the same distance and angle for the lights. This will prevent the camera from capturing any shadow in the background.
  • Expose the green light correctly: Check your camera to monitor the exposure level to know the amount of light your camera can absorb. Ensure that you have an even and consistent light. Excessive light can particularly be harmful since it can lead to green fuzzy edges appearing around the subject.

Utilizing lighting effects

You can utilize various lighting effects to create different dimensions for your videos. Below are the various versions:

  • Colored lights: You can use them as a backup if natural light is unavailable. You also use colored lights to reduce eyestrain.
  • Flashing lights: They are essential to create alertness and maintain concentration.
  • Dark mood lights: The dark types are easy for the viewer's eyes compared to light mood lights. They also act as energy savers.

Brightening videos after filming

Once you have set up all the lighting equipment, it's time to get down to business. Even though mistakes happen while shooting, you cannot afford to drop the project. This is where video editing comes in to correct the situation. Video editing involves the application of effects to balance and adjust the color to brighten up the end product. This is exactly where Pinnacle Studio can help.

As an exemplary video editing software and screen recorder, Pinnacle Studio allows you to produce professional videos using powerful and creative video editing tools. You can produce your videos freely with the program's intuitive video tutorials, tricks, and tips that are perfect for all skill levels offering invaluable help all along the way. Please download any of our software packages today to start editing your videos like a pro!

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