As a leading video production company in San Diego, BizVid Communications has found that one of the key elements separating professional videographers from amateurs is lighting. If you’re shooting a video which intended to represent your business, both the look and the message need to speak highly of you. While you may not have the lighting equipment and flexibility that a pro would use, here are some simple tips for using available light sources to light your video.
Use balanced, even lighting wherever possible. When outside, avoid shooting your subject with the sun directly behind them. So many times, you’ll see a video with a person or object standing in front of the sun or a strong light source and they are just silhouettes.
The sun is a powerful light source but it can be very high contrast. Avoid unflattering shadows by staging your action to stay away from direct sunlight (aka: the shade). The same goes for staging your subject in or around dark shadows. It’s hard for a camera to properly capture both for extremely light and extremely dark areas so try to make sure everything in your shot is close to the same level of brightness. The more balanced the light, the better.
When inside, a professional will often minimize all light existing sources and then bring in their own so they can control color density and the visual environment for as long as needed. Since you probably won’t have that luxury, use the flattest light sources you can, to provide an even, balanced look. Those flourescent spiral light bulbs (CFL’s) can be a great light source for videography. If there’s one in a nearby lamp, try to bring it close to your subject (while still keeping it out of frame).
When bright, direct sunlight is in the room, it may either wash out the subject or cause silhouettes. When your subject has harsh shadows on their face or on surrounding surfaces, turn on a nearby lamp. It’s light will bounced off a wall or other surface to diffuse the shadow. Remember, the rule of thumb is to keep the shooting environment as flatly lit as possible (avoiding extreme light and/or dark areas). It draws attention to the subject, instead of the surroundings.