How To Get The Perfect Lighting In Your Videos

When creating video content, paying attention to the lighting is vital. Good lighting allows you to better express yourself and add in subliminal messaging as well, giving your viewers a more immersive experience. In this article, we guide you through the basics of lighting for videos so that you can start creating content that catches the attention of your audience and holds their imagination till the very end.
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    Film Director Aaron Rose once said, “in the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary”. Rightly so! We all know what an incredible impact light has on videos and shots. In this blog, you shall get a better charity on why you should use lighting for your video shots and which kind of setup can complement your direction the best.

    Why Do You Need To Think About Video Lighting?

    Lighting is fundamental for creating a good video watching experience for your viewer. It is what makes a video effective and communicative. It draws attention to the right spots and enhances the aesthetics of the video. When a videographer or the maker understands this fact and learns the basics of the lighting, he will be able to swipe viewers off their feet with ease.

    The human eye is extremely susceptible to contrast and detail. Even though a camera is not as sensitive, thanks to technology, one can apply various principles to make a video more defined. One can use lighting to bring in contrast into the video and make their shot definitions extremely effective and thoughtful.

    Good lighting can also make your video more clearer to the audience by enhancing the dynamics of your shot. In fact, A little artistic vision and knack for design can be harnessed to actually use the light to add dynamics to a static shot. And a not-so well designed lighting can do the just opposite. If the dynamism of your video is not complemented by lighting, you can end up making a bizarre video that the audience would turn down in a split second. 

    Another stellar quality of lighting is that it sets a tone to your video. You can easily set up your lighting in such a way that the viewer slips into the tone that you want the video to be conveyed in.  Be it a bright dramatic morning or a subtle, breezy evening, one can easily change the ambience using light. A combination of natural light and artificial light can help you create the magic.

    The color of light also has an immense effect on the emotion of the video. For instance, a little blue shades of light can make your video convey the emotions of remorse and sadness. Similarly, the direction of the lighting too can completely transform the way a shot is perceived. The direction also rules the shadows of the video.

    A basic understanding of colour, contrast and direction of video lighting can work brilliantly for achieving a perfect lighting. It helps you in making a high quality video that is effective in conveying meaning to the audience. The new gen masses are gaga over aesthetics and a video with good aesthetics garners some special attention from the viewers.

    Types Of Lighting

    Content is the king when it comes to videos. But if there is no good lighting to compliment it, all your efforts will go into the drain. Lighting ensures that the viewer can see what the video has to offer. Besides, it sets a tone, mood and makes the whole video a delight to watch.

    Light’s quality is defined in relation to its direction. Here are three types of lighting that you might have to try your hands at before achieving the perfect lighting for your video.

    1. Flat Light

    Flat Light is also known as “Front Light” and like the name suggests falls right on to the object. This kind of light produces very minimal contrast between highlights and shadows. As a result, the object in the picture tends to look quite flat. It in fact  gives an illusion of a two dimensional object. 

    Flat Lighting is not every videographer’s friend. With minimal contrast in the video, the viewer is seldom intrigued by it. But this is not the case every time. Flat light can be leveraged brilliantly for videos based on the intent of the video.

    Here are two ways to use Flat Light:

    a) Capture Group Videos

    For a video featuring more than three people, having flat light is the best thing you can do for its quality. This way no one person is completely focussed upon. The light even distributes and the viewers get to focus on the group as a whole.

    b) Cover Blemishes 

    Flat light is popular in the Fashion industry as it falls straight onto the object covering their blemishes, wrinkles and other stuff that the object does not intend to highlight.

    2. Back Lighting

    Back Lighting, also called Rim Lighting, is a technique of lighting your subject from behind. It is done in such a way that the rim of the subject is highlighted, giving a glow to the subject. Often confused with background lighting, backlighting does not direct light towards the background. On the contrary, it focuses light towards the camera lens itself.

    Backlighting is a simple technique of adding three dimensions to your video. It is extremely appealing to the human eye as it separates the subject from the backdrop.

    Here are two ways to use Backlight:

    a) Highlight The Silhouette

    Instead of highlighting the subject itself, use backlighting to highlight the outline and edges of the subject. This creates an esthetic visual with deep meaning.

    b) Bring In A Cooler Tone

    Backlighting works brilliantly for videos that require cool or blue undertones. Play around with it to enhance the emotions of your video.

    3. Side Lighting

    Side lighting is the kind of lighting in which the subject is highlighted from one side while the other side lies in shadows. This means that the light falls at a 90 degrees angle on the subject. Side lighting adds depth to your video and gives great definition to your subject.

    However, side lighting can make a video painful to watch. So ensure to keep the contrast in check. 

    Here are two ways to use Backlight::

    a) Add Drama

    Side lighting can be your best pal when you want to add a whole lot of drama to your video. It does so by putting great emphasis on emotion.

    b) Add Multiple Dimensions

    Side lighting is a good technique to use for videos that are artistic or have animals in them.

    The 3 Point Lighting Setup

    The 3 Point Lighting system is the most traditional and the best way to give your video a three dimensional look. In this system, the subject is illuminated from three different points, each enhancing a different element of the video. The three sources of lights are the following -

    • Key Light - The primary lighting point
    • Fill Light - To fill the gaps of the opposite key light
    • Backlight - extracts the third dimension

    While this technique is not mandatory, it provides excellent guidance for creating different moods for your video. It can be a great start for mastering the basics of lighting.

    1. Key Light

    Key light is the main source of light that gives the overall exposure to your subject and is always the brightest light. You can either place it right in front of the subject or play around with it to give the scene some depth. The purpose of Key Light is to set a tone for the video. Backlight and Fill Light just add some more dimension to it.

    In a typical Three-Light System, the Key Light is placed at 45 degrees to either side of the subject. In some cases, it is also placed at an angle of 30 degrees. 

    Key Light is to be placed as high as possible relative to the subject to avoid shadows of various kinds.

    2. Fill Light

    Fill Light is dimmer and acts as a secondary source of light. Like the name suggests, it fills any shadows created by the Key Light. The fill light need not necessarily be a source of light. It can be anysort of reflector that works just fine in filling the shadows. That is why this source is placed on either side of the subject. It adds more definition to the video and the subject.

    Fill Light along with Key Light sets the mood of the video. The Key Light too is placed at an angle between 30- 45 degrees. It is more likely to be at the eye level of the subject.

    3. Backlight

    This is the third source of light and it is used to separate the subject from the background. Also known as the Rim Light, Backlight is placed overhead or behind the subject. But the backlight is always outside the frame. It gives a good outline to the subject making the whole scene more defined and detailed.

    One thumb rule to remember while setting up backlighting is that it should not be pointed directly at the camera. Otherwise the light would reflect back and work against its purpose.

    Lighting Up Your VideoForm

    Videos and brands are the new BFFs in town and interactivity is the brand new cocktail they've been sipping. 35% of marketers using interactive video have seen increased conversion, and 25% increased sales. Now that you have decided to use VideoForm for your interactive video strategy, here’s how you leverage lighting for creating a quality VideoForm:

    1. Use Natural Light

    Even though the entire blog has been about Lighting Setups and equipment, nothing can beat the relevance of natural lighting for a video. Especially when the video is for branding then a natural source of light will keep the reality of the video intact. 

    • For an indoor shot, lighted windows can be a good source of natural lighting. But ensure that the direction of the light is not facing the camera.
    • Golden Hour is another great and beautiful source of light that will add phenomenal aesthetics to your videos. The golden hour is when the sun is all set to set. You could use it to make your VideoForm effective and defined.

    2. Keep You Background Lit

    If there is a stark significance of your background then ensure to keep it well lit. Especially when the background is deep, background light can come in handy for highlighting it. The angle at which you light it determines the mood of the video. Usually, brand videos are to be lively with a lot of positive vibes.

    3. Invest In An Artificial Light Source

    For creating a quality VideoForm that flatters your audience, it is always a good idea to invest in some basic lighting setups or equipment. These artificial lights will perfectly balance the natural light to give the video the perfect balance. This along with the above two will make your VideoForm a delight to watch.

    4. Decide On The Lighting Temperature

    Lighting temperature is another mood modulator that adds blues and yellows to your video. Simply put, it is the measurement of the hues of the light sources. It has a great influence on your shot. The lighting temperature is measured in Kelvins. The colder temperatures are blues and the hotter ones have yellow-orange undertones.

    Now that you know how to make a VideoForm that flatters your audience, go ahead and make one.

    Sahithi Prerana
    Content writer at VideoForm. I transform complex ideas into simple words.

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