Whether you’re filming a YouTube video, an interview or a TikTok dance challenge, lighting will have a big impact on how your video comes out. There is an endless range of things you can do with just lighting alone that can completely transform your video production.
Check out our video lighting tutorial to get five video lighting tips to get your footage big screen-ready.
Step 1: Choosing Your Location
The very first step in getting a lighting setup ready for a video is choosing a location to film. To make sure that your video is cohesive to the subject or subject matter, a best practice is to select a location that gives context to what your video will entail. For example, if you are filming a video about food, shooting in the kitchen would be your best bet, or if you are filming an educational video, an office space should do the trick.
Another key component is choosing the framing of the spot you have decided to film. Make sure that your space is void of any clutter or mess, and that your subject is the main focus of the shot. Keeping a clean backdrop directly behind the subject will ensure that they are the focal point of the video, while also creating a clean image and composition.
If you are able to, try selecting a location that gives off as much natural light as possible. This will help brighten up your space and make your job easier later down the road.
Step 2: Dressing the Backdrop
Our second, and very important, step is dressing your backdrop. Now that you have found your location and frame, first start by removing everything in the background. Getting rid of all items and clutter will give you a clean, blank slate to work with. Then, strategically place some of your items back into the frame in a way that compliments both your location and your subject. The goal is to make your backdrop look aesthetically pleasing, not too busy or overwhelming, and leave you with a nice final product.
Step 3: Lighting Your Subject
Cue the lights! This next step is where we begin introducing different types of lighting into the scene. First, turn off any of the artificial light to get a picture of how much natural and available light you are working with. Then, you can begin to introduce artificial light back in. If you do not have any artificial light sources at your disposal, try moving to a backdrop that is as close to a natural light source as you can get.
There are a variety of different types of light sources that can be utilized to get that perfect lighting you are aiming for. Your key light will be your main light source. You can put this type of light near a door or window to replicate and work with the natural lighting already coming through. Next, use a bounce light on the other side of your subject to help reflect some more of that light onto them. Finally, you can add a rim light behind your subject to add contrast and an extra pop to the backdrop of your video. By using this three point lighting strategy, you will be shining light on all angles of your subject and guaranteeing that they are the focal point of your video.
Step 4: White Balance the Camera to the Color Temperature of the Room
As you continue to strive for that perfect lighting, you will want to adjust your camera’s white balance to manual, and then set it to the temperature of whatever location or room you are filming in. For example, if your room is at 4900 Kelvin, switch your camera settings to match that. This will ensure that the white balance of your subject’s skin tone will not be altered when you add mood lighting in our fifth and final step.
Step 5: Adding Mood Lighting
Time to set the mood! This last step is completely optional but offers a great effect to your video with some extra color and creativity. Using a small tube light, you can place this above and behind your subject to add some more dimension and depth between the subject and the backdrop. When placing this mood light, keep it far enough away from your subject so as not to cast a colorful light directly onto them and to highlight the backdrop instead.
The best video lighting tip: have fun.
If you don’t have access to this extra lighting equipment or a completely perfect backdrop, don’t fret! If you are being conscious and particular about what you are putting in front of the camera, your final product can still be a success. Your video is what you make it. The important thing is that you are enjoying what you are creating and having fun with it.