How to Light Your Videos with Artificial Light

How to Light Your Videos with Artificial Light

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This is the second post in a two-part series on how to light your videos.

Even though this blog post is about artificial lights, it just makes sense to start out with a disclaimer – we’ve always been big fans of shooting with natural light. It’s a topic that comes up regularly in our blogs and video posts. In all our books there are practically glowing tributes to the wonders of natural light for the video marketer.

There is a saying in video that never gets old, no matter how often you’re clubbed over the head with it: good lighting equals good video.

For DIY video shooters using the medium to grow their businesses, whether you’re using a smartphone or a DLSR camera, the sun is a fantastic free source of light. With that said, there are times you can’t always count on the sun being there when you need it.

We live in the Caribbean which usually comes bundled with the prefix ‘sunny’; as in the sunny Caribbean. For several months of the year though, there’s the rainy season. That means cloud cover can, at times last for days.

Rainy weather essentially unplugs the sun leaving our plans for video shoots in the dark. So if we relied entirely on natural light for our recording sessions keeping up with our production schedule would be a real headache.

“On the days when the sun is a no-show, having a modest video light kit and basic knowledge on how to use it can really keep your video creation mojo working.”

paolo kernahan

Look, in this world there are two things they aren’t making any more of: land and time. Learning some simple techniques to light your videos with artificial lights is a great way to save on time and produce more compelling video content for your business.

Let’s shine a light on the basics of what you need to know to embrace artificial lighting.

Basic lighting setups

Your videos must be properly lit. Particularly the ones in which you’re promoting your business with on-camera presentations. Good lighting focuses the viewers’ attention on you.

It subconsciously tells audiences that video content with a professional look must have been created by someone who’s competent and reliable.

To feed your camera sufficient light to produce sharp, vibrant images there are two standard lighting setups that will be of most interest to the small business owner.

3-point lighting – as the name suggests there are three lights in this configuration.

Illustration of 3-point lighting

Three-Point Lighting

  1. The key light provides the main source of light for the subject of the video shoot, which is most likely you.

  2. The fill light ‘fills’ in the areas of the subject that aren’t covered entirely by the key light.

  3. The back light (or hair light) is positioned at an angle behind the subject. It gives the image greater depth and creates a distinction between the subject and the backdrop

An even more basic lighting setup is the 2-point lighting configuration. It involves the key light, again providing the main source of light on the subject, and the fill light, illuminating any areas not lit by the key light.

It’s a setup for which video marketers and YouTubers have a preference. It’s better when you’re dealing with space limitations as well as budget constraints.

Illustration of 2-point lighting set up

With the 3 – point and 2 – point lighting configurations these setups are more focused on a subject, which is you.

With the proper lighting, you’ll focus attention on yourself and establish confidence among viewers of your content.

Even as you are properly lit, you don’t want to neglect your video set or backdrop.

Additional lighting for your videos

Whether you’re shooting your small business videos in an office or an adapted room in your home, it’s a good idea to make sure your ‘set’ is properly illuminated. This will give your videos greater depth, making them more appealing to viewers. This can be achieved easily by the inclusion of accent lighting.

Illustration of Accent Lighting

For our sets we use tasteful lamps as part of our back drop. In this way, your set is also incorporated into your video as another character in your video presentation.

Even though this ‘character’ doesn’t have any speaking parts, your set and backdrop should say something about your brand or business. A bit of subtle accent lighting can accomplish this nicely.

What’s great about accent lighting is that it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive. Some video content creators even use string bulbs to frame bookshelves or counter tops. In many cases, you can use lights that are already around the house or in your office.

Do not fear the light

For the novice video content creator there are usually fears about adapting an unfamiliar technology. Fears about learning how to properly light a set with artificial gear are a real thing; we get that. Fear, though, is only a by-product of a lack of knowledge.

What we’ve provided here are the basics for lighting your videos proficiently enough for your purposes – promoting your business or advancing your career.

This isn’t about achieving cinematic flourish. All you’re going for is an even spread of light over yourself and your video set that tells viewers you’re committed to getting it right. The result of that commitment is a sharp, vivid image that is watchable for audiences.

While cost is also a factor for newbie, there are lighting options for every budget. In a previous blog we wrote a romantic ode to the virtues of natural lighting. At some point, though, you will need to step up your game with artificial lights.

Whether you’re using a lighting kit or a modest portable light, by applying the fundamentals we’ve shared here, you can create video content that will help shine a spotlight on you and your business.

Read part one of this series:
Part One: How to Light Your Videos with Natural Light

Need Help Using Video to Grow Your Business

Check Out Our Mastering Video Series

Mastering Video Book Series by No Fuss Video
How to Light Your Videos with a Light Kit

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