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Lighting Techniques for Video Production

Lighting is the heart of any video image, since if it weren’t for light the image wouldn’t even exist.

That said, lighting your video doesn’t have to be hard.  In fact it can be amazingly simple.  No matter what situation you find yourself  videotaping, you can get quality lighting if you know a few basic lighting techniques.

Discover how to take your video lighting from FLAT to AWESOME by watching these two video tutorials I made. They are below.

In under ten minutes, I promise you will learn more about lighting than you can imagine.

  1. The first video covers the basic lighting concepts of diffused light and direct light. I show you exactly what that means and why it matters.  I also talk about the critical aspect of direction: what direction is the light coming from?
  2. The second video demonstrates easy ways to get professional-looking lighting even if you do not have professional gear. If you do have professional gear, this video will still help you because the principles of 3-point lighting are universal.

PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING MADE EASY

All the fancy gizmos and gadgets that come in an expensive light kit are meant to provide diffused or direct light, but I promise you do not need the expensive gizmos to get the same basic effect.  I show you how to diffuse and direct your light in a professional way with whatever common household lighting fixtures you have.

Going into further detail, the second video covers easy cheap ways to get 3-point lighting, the professional way to light a talking-head video.  Talking head videos are probably the single most common shot in all of videomaking so no doubt you will encounter this situation.

Three point lighting is also known at triangle lighting, or 3-point lighting.  It basically means that light is coming from at least 3 different places, forming a triangular pattern around the person’s head.

I show you how to get easy triangle lighting using nothing but common household fixtures like your desk lamp and the windows.  These things become instant, cheap and easy professional lighting tools if you know how to use them!

I promise if you watch both these video tutorials, you will be armed with the information you need to improve your lighting, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

As you can see, using the right lighting techniques make a big difference in how your video looks.

Leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about how to light video.

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips.

Lorraine Grula

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Lorraine Grula


Lorraine Grula enjoyed a fast-paced, multifaceted career in the television and video business, producing, shooting, writing, and editing documentary-style videos in both news and corporate settings. Later, she got to teach media and video production in two high schools, which then morphed into instructional design and corporate training. Lorraine is now dedicated to sharing her vast knowledge with others who wish to learn the art of video making, with an emphasis on storytelling and creating professional-quality videos for the internet as simply, yet creatively as possible.

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  1. When you open the windows and turn on the room aren’t you mixing 32k and 56k light sources?

  2. Hi Sergio

    Excellent comment. Yes indeed you are mixing light of different color temperatures. The sunlight will be in the neighborhood of 56k, which will be blue, and the incandescent will be 32K, which is orange. However, believe it or not, it should not really be a problem. Mixing light colors was much more of an issue with cameras of yesteryear. Today’s cameras can handle a mixture quite well. In fact, I have seen smaller cameras that were actually default set to a white balance for a light mixture. It looked best when there were both types of light present.
    If you have a camera that requires a manual white balance, make sure and white balance under the light mixture and you should be just fine.
    Having pure light is a rule that has gone by the wayside a bit as cameras have gotten more sophisticated. If you are doing high level production, the rule is more likely to still apply. Believe it or not, a cheap camera is more capable of handling mixed light than some high dollar cameras.
    Thanks for your question!
    Lorraine

  3. I liked your lighting tutorials, but the second one took toooo longggg to view. It would play then stopped longer than it would play. But otherwise the info was veryyyy helpful… Thanks, Joan

  4. Hi Joan.

    Sorry it took so long to buffer! That can be real frustrating. It happens when you have slow connection speeds and large video files. thanks for sticking it out though!

    Lorraine

  5. Hello,
    Thank you for the tips. I am a video instructor, and I found your lessons very helpful. I will pass your site on to my students, so they can learn practical, commen sense applications of lighting. Thanks.

    Johnny

  6. Hi Johnny.
    So glad to hear you find my site helpful. I taught TV production for 2 years in a high school. Make sure and show the kids the show we did called An Enchanting Holiday that won a national Emmy. Actually, it won about 10 different awards but the national Emmy was the coolest. Technically, it was a National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Student of Excellence award. There are lots of tutorials and so forth here on VPT that should help your students.
    Thanks!
    Lorraine

  7. Lorraine,

    Thank you for providing these very helpful tutorials on video production! It is also inspiring to find another woman (yay!) who is into video production.

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  8. Hi Debbie.
    Thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I am so happy to help. When I first got into video, (1978) I had NO IDEA now rare it was for a woman to be a videographer. You know, the one lugging all 200 pounds of equipment. Strangers used to come up to me to feel my muscles. Today the equipment is smaller and we are not so rare! So you go girl!
    Lorraine

  9. I thought your tutorial was excellent, it is to follow along with and simple.

  10. Thanks for making it sound so easy. In fact, it is easy if one would follow your advice.

    We have all seen the worst possible lighting on YouTube. I guess we tend to get used to it, somewhat.

    I have seen crappy lighting of videos on websites too. That is unforgivable.

    Perhaps the people who need to know will watch your videos. I hope so.

  11. Hi Richard.

    Great to hear from you sir! Lighting for video can be easy is one just knows the very basic concepts of lighting, which I cover in the video tutorials. No matter what your situation, you can get good lighting if you apply the basics concepts of diffused, direct and directional light. Specifically what type of light fixture you use, how many watts, etc., is all secondary to the basics of diffused, direct and directional lighting concepts.

    That is how I teach it anyway and I do so because I think it gives folks the fundamental knowledge they need instead of a forgettable list of details and specifics that may not even apply to their personal situation. You know, the teaching to fish or the giving of the fish analogy.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion Richard.

    Lorraine

  12. I like to thank you for your tutorial on lighting and its simple basics to video recording. Truely,getting expensive gadgets for lighting isnt important. The triangle form is helpful. Two lights at the front extreme of an object and on top is considered

  13. Hi Bodunrin
    I am gratified to learn that the lighting tutorials helped you! You absolutely can do wonderful things with simple fixtures if you know how! Now you know how! Keep making video!
    Lorraine

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