Lighting 101 For Any Video

July 10, 2019

Lighting is crucial in video. And good lighting is within reach. Whether you are on an iPhone trying to film a quick video of your child or on pro gear making a video for your brand. Here are some things from our team at Waves to keep in mind for using light.

Shoot WITH the Light

Unless you have a reason for shooting towards the light (and there are good reasons at times) you should default to filming in the direction the strongest light source is falling. This could be the sun, or a window allowing sun through it if indoors.

Match Light Color

Have you ever noticed that various light sources have different colors? If you get a bulb at a local home improvement store you’ll notice they have different color temperatures (cool, warmer, etc) utilizing the kelvin measurement unit (ex. 2700k, 5600k, etc).

Most of the time you should match the temperature of your light sources so you don’t create an odd hue or cast on your subject matter.

Overhead lights in an office building may be tungsten and range around 2700k. So trying to use daylight from a window measuring closer to 5600k won’t look right.

If you can’t get rid of a light source compensate by moving your subject closer to one light source and let the other one be behind them for instance.

Video Lighting San Diego
Video Lighting San Diego Company Waves Media

Use Light as a Separator

Speaking of separating sources: most of the time we think of lighting in front of our subject. For example we put a light or two in front of an interviewee. However, enhancing your scene can include using sources of light to separate or backlight what you are filming.

Shining a soft light at the back shoulder or hairline of a person can add dimension, depth, and a bit of color.

Block Light

A handy tool for lighting is to know not only when to add light but when to take it away.

A negative light or masking of a light source could be as simple as closing the blinds or putting up a dark blanket to cover an unwanted beam of light.

Understanding a few basic things is crucial in good lighting, but experimentation is the true spirit behind the art. Have fun with it!