Lights, camera, action..
The first word in that phrase is critical to any production. We often see quality content go down the drain, simply because it was too bright or too dark. Finding that sweet spot of a balancing act is not as hard as we think. With some knowledge, practice and creativity you can take your flat videos and add a touch of cinematic value to it.
DSLR Video Shooter recently released a video “7 video lighting tips for Youtubers and Filmmakers” where he discusses the following topics:
1. Use Large Light source- Do not confuse Large with bright. While you want a physically large light source, be careful with the brightness. Using a large light source will give you a softer more flattering lighting. You can also adjust this by using a soft box, bounce board, or even window.
2. Use fewer lights- while 3 point lighting might be industry standards, never let a lack of lights stop you from creating or thinking your end product will not be as good. You can get away with some beautiful images with 2 lights or fewer. Using a Bounce board or reflector can help spread the light when needed. Placement of these tools make a big difference
3. The position of your lighting- The distance, the axis, and the angle all make a huge difference in quality and end-product. The closer you get the softer the light and brighter the source. Trial and error will be your biggest friend while you adjust and get a style of your own.
4. Back Lighting- This works best when using natural lighting. Often times we immediately go to what we know and shoot with the light source in front of our subjects. Try something different and shoot with the light source coming from behind the subjects. This works best during certain times of the day, usually early morning and late afternoons.
5. Use ceilings and walls- Take advantage of any white walls or reflective surfaces to bounce light. You can really maximize the light you have by doing this, creating an extension of the light source you are already using.
6. Mix in Colors- Colored gels can add a bit of details to your video that can make a big difference. Use them in creative ways to highlight things in the background of your video, or depending on the intensity it can add some dope effects to your overall project.
7. Get your Ratios correct- learn the most optimal lighting ratio between one side of your face and the other. The ratio between your subject and the foreground and background. While this is purely aesthetics’s it does take balance to achieve great lighting.
The best way to get that scene lit just the way you need it to is to put all this into practice as often as you can and allow yourself to think outside the box creatively. Research other techniques and make sure any gear purchases are in tune with what you need rather than want.