Best Video Lighting For Natural Looking Videos
UPDATE: I just found some new lights that I've fallen in love with! Everything else applies, just check out this post to see the new lights :-)
I see a lot of questions being asked about lighting for your videos and I know this can feel totally overwhelming so today I’m going to give you MY simple option.
You’ll be pleased to hear you ONLY need TWO lights! …
PLUS to make things super easy for you I’ve made a floorplan diagram showing my exact setup that you can download and recreate in your home.
So, you don’t need seven or eight different lights all setup with cables trailing everywhere,
I used to do that
it was a right faff
but, you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve simplified my setup and that’s what I’m sharing with you!
What about daylight?
I do just want to discuss using daylight. Is it Good or bad?
Well, if I look outside and the sky is either solid blue or solid white then yes, it’s great, as long as haven’t got the sun cutting directly across your set!
The BIG thing you need to avoid with natural daylight is... CLOUDS!
There’s nothing more annoying that being part way through a video and the lighting totally dips or brightens up as the sun just hides behind or pops out from behind a big fat cloud! And the worst part is you may not even notice it till you’re in the editing stage.
One of my students once asked me what was going wrong with his video as the brightness levels kept changing as he was slicing clips together. I knew straight away what it would be - them nasty clouds!
The only way he could salvage the video was to overlay some b-roll footage between his cuts.
So when the sky looks consistent then yes, natural daylight is lovely!
In fact another student asked me last week about what lighting to use when she had the sun on one side of her and I advised her to simply get a reflector and set it up on the opposite side to bounce that sunlight back in. She’ll get a way more natural look in her video than if she tries to match a light in. Now I try to create a more natural looking environment in my videos and if you follow the big players you’ll see they all do the same. I have no intention of standing in front of a plain white screen like in the old Apple videos, or a green screen for that matter. I want to create a more natural looking space and my goal with the lighting is that you can’t really tell anything extra has been added. It just looks like we’re sitting here chatting.
WANT A LAUGH?... Watch this short outtake video of me trying to say that last line...
Set the Ambient Lighting First
Before looking at any video lighting, how bright is your room?
Can you comfortably sit and read in the light?
If not, then I suggest the space is too dark for your video and the first thing to sort is bringing up the ambient room lighting. Which could simply mean replacing bulbs in your light fittings with brighter ones?
I’ve got recessed spotlights in my ceiling and they do a great job of lighting my room so anything I add is simply complimenting that.
My camera makes a BIG difference
Now one thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that I’m using a camera rather than a phone or webcam and this will actually make a big difference because I can use a specialist lens called a prime lens that will let in more light and brighten the room without relying on additional lighting.
Here's a video showing the best camera for your filming:
In the video at the top of this page I demonstrate that my room lighting is sorting the background and partly me leaving my video lights to just improve the lighting on my face.
I’m not expecting them to light my room, because I’ve got my camera set up right, these are just trying to make me look better and take away harsh overhead shadows.
Not only do these lights match the colour temperature of my room lights to give a more natural look, they give off no heat, and they’re really easy to store if you don’t plan on leaving them out!
So, forget worrying about those big softboxes or a ‘3 point lighting kit’!
Simply improve the existing light in your room first , then bring in a couple of these small LED light panels to focus on you, and your lighting setup can really be that minimal and easy!
... Assuming you’re using a camera!
The downside is that’s one less excuse for you actually start recording some videos!
So hopefully agree my lighting works really well and it’s not scary at all.
I just want to make this easy for you!
My purpose here is not to try to sell you these lights but rather to put you at ease and tell you that lighting doesn’t have to be complicated!
That said, here’s some links to Amazon for the lights I used in the video.
They’re not always available sadly.
This is another make that I recommend to my students, they’re cheaper but you don’t the same display telling you the temperature.
If you want to add Softboxes rather than my DIY tracing paper these are ones for these Neewer lights:
BUT as I mentioned in the update at the top, these are my new favourite lights!
Check out this review to find out more.
TOP TIP CHOOSING LIGHTS: Make sure your lights have a variable colour temperature and by all means if you see a light that I haven’t mentioned and want to ask my opinion reach out in our Facebook Group and I’ll get back to you.
Now, I know I’ll get questions asking what distance the lights should be at and what angles etc so scroll back to the top of the page and download that diagram of MY setup so you can recreate it at home.
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Bye for now.