Lighting is one of the most important things we need to consider when taking stills and videos. Remember when you were taking that selfie with your background being too bright? Yes, you got the backdrop very bright and yourself, uhh, not too bright. Right? Oh, in fact, you got yourself on the dim side while the background got the perfect lighting!
Natural Light and Artificial Lighting
No matter how good your camera is, without proper lighting, you risk having crappy footage. Well, lighting doesn’t always mean buying stuff to modify ambient light. Natural lighting gives you the full spectrum of colors. However, it’s a bit tricky to use, and there is one major restriction when it comes to nature’s lighting; the weather.
Although the sun gives you the best lighting in the open, the clouds can obscure the sunny outdoors light you may want to achieve. It gets a bit more tricky if you want to catch gloomy weather. Essentially, you have to wait for the clouds to set in.
To get the best footage, a combination of both would do a great job. But when we talk about indoors shoots, artificial lighting is your best friend.
There are a few outdoor lighting tricks that would improve your footage. You would be surprised that some of it would not require expensive lighting equipment!
The golden hour is characterized by the warm hue of the sun a few moments after the sunrise and before it sets in the afternoon. It’s a bit difficult to catch, especially when the weather is not cooperating.
If you are capturing scenery, it would be impossible to use artificial lighting to come up with the hue of the golden hour. With a photo editing software, you can add some effects to change the color.
On the other hand, when you have people or things are your subjects, there is a way to bounce the light towards them and make it look like the golden hour!
Reflectors aren’t just for stills. With some trial and error, you can bounce light to your subject at the correct angle to make it look like they are under the light of the golden hour. It’s not complicated at all, and you should try it out! It may take quite a few trials to focus the reflector on the right angle.
Have you ever seen those footages where the light seems to be pouring abundantly from the windows? Well, there’s a little trick that you could do to achieve that. Ironically, to get this, you have to shoot it at night! Simply place a reflector in front of that window and shine a light directly at it.
You will be surprised about the lighting your camera captures. You could replicate that pouring light effect with this simple setup.
Shooting indoors is a little more fun because you got more control over your lighting. You can, basically, decide how much light you want your subject to have.
Three Point Lighting
One of the most basic setups you can use indoors is the three point lighting. Although its basic, it requires a few professional lightings that you often see in studios. The key light is the brightest light that is placed in front to light the face of the subject. The Fill light is placed opposite of the key light and usually has 50% the power of the key light. As the name suggests, the fill light fills the opposite side of the subject to make the lighting more even.
Lastly, the backlight is positioned behind the subject to emphasize the contours and separate it from the backdrop. If this is your first time to employ a three point lighting, you will be surprised about how crappy ordinary room light is.
I think many will agree that amateur footage can be easily identified just by its lighting. Well, for one, room light will not be enough to make a professional looking footage. But have you ever wondered how Youtubers get that well-lit face while blabbering on with their vlog entries? Yep, you got it right. They have some ring light in front of them!
If you have yourself as your subject in front of a camera, a ring light just in front of you will give enough emphasis and equal lighting. Even mobile devices have some small version for selfies!
If you will be doing self-footage most of the time for your vlog, ring lights are necessary to get amazing results. No special preparation and setup are needed. Just place it in front of you, and you are good to go!
If you want to know more about the basics of ring lights, you can check this video out.
No To Shadow!
With a few lighting devices, your outdoor shoots will be excellent at daylight. Some other types of lighting setup combined with a reflector can give you perfect replication of video effects. But overall, lighting is needed to kill shadows (most of the time) or soften them.
Remember, try to visualize what you want to achieve and test. Read just your lights and reflector as necessary to get that perfect lighting.