Professional lighting is, without a doubt, one of the most important contributors to high-quality video production. Lighting can completely change the appearance of a shot, its mood and tone, and the overall quality of a scene.
When it comes to video, getting the lighting correct is one of the greatest challenges. In order to produce high-quality videos, lighting needs to highlight scenery and illuminate on-screen subjects. In most corporate videos, the subjects are people — which makes it even more difficult. Lighting angles can cast unflattering shadows on the subject’s face, specifically their nose and chin, that can produce a “creepier” look than what you’re probably going for. Good lighting can help form a connection between the subject and the audience and flatter the subject’s appearance.
If you’re shooting outdoors, there is the option to use the natural sunlight and “golden hour” to illuminate your scene. However, natural sunlight can be intense and cast harsh shadows on your subject. It can also move and change as the weather shifts and clouds pass. This affects your light and colour quality and makes it difficult to achieve consistent-looking shots. Read more about preparing an outdoor space for a video shoot here.
As we touched on above, regardless of whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, you may want to look for a video provider who understands how to do professional lighting and the value of it.
Here are some ways professional lighting can enhance your next video production:
1) Create a Professional Look with Three-point Lighting
In most forms of visual media, such as corporate videos, interviews and vlogs, a three-point lighting setup will be your best friend while you’re shooting. As the name suggests, it is set up using three lights:
- Key light: This is the first and most important light, used to highlight the main subject of the shot. It is the strongest, brightest light and provides most of the light in the scene. It’s generally placed in front of the subject at a 45-degree angle.
- Fill light: This supports the key light. It is a softer light that is used to fill in shadows on the subject’s face. The fill light’s intensity is half of that of the key light. It should be placed opposite from the key light.
- Backlight: Sometimes referred to as a rim light, a backlight is used to create depth and to separate the subject from the background. It is placed directly behind and above the subject, out of the frame.
If you’re working with a limited budget, you can also get by with a two-point setup that just uses the key and fill lights. Although the backlight adds nice depth to your background and enhances your video quality, it may not be essential.
2) Avoid or Fix Common Lighting Issues
With professional lighting equipment you can find the proper light balance and fill, to avoid or adjust to the following common lighting issues:
- Fluorescent light: Fluorescent lighting creates flickering in your video, which is distracting to the viewer. It also creates “banding” across your screen, which are green and orange lines that cannot be edited out in post-production.
- Underexposure: Underexposed lighting creates a video that is “too dark.” This is a fatal mistake to make in corporate video, as it reduces your subject’s on-screen visibility, distracts the viewer, and causes a decline in overall video quality and professionalism.
- Strong backlight: Backlighting occurs when the light behind the subject is much brighter than the frontal light. Backlighting can be used for stylistic choices, such as giving the subject a mysterious glow or silhouette. However, in corporate videos such as interviews, backlight can create harsh shadows on your subject’s face, hiding their features and creating an unintended “ominous” or darker tone.
- Overexposure: Opposite to underexposure, overexposed lighting results in an overly bright video that washes out the subject’s facial features and is unpleasant to look at.
- Too low: If your lights are positioned too low beneath your subject’s face, it creates a “horror film” appearance and casts your subject as the villain – not the mood you want to create with a professional video.
3) Avoid a Longer Editing Process
As with photography, if you have poor lighting on set of your shoot, it will result in a lengthy (and costly) editing process. In a best-case scenario, it would take longer to fix the shot in post-production. However, sometimes it simply cannot be fixed and needs to be re-shot. This leads to unnecessary costs and a longer production time, which could have been prevented if a higher-quality lighting setup was used initially.
4) Create the Mood You Want
Good lighting can effectively set the mood and atmosphere for any scene in a video or film. A poorly lit video can leave the audience feeling confused as to the genre of the video. Corporate videos such as employee testimonials, training videos or onboarding introductions often want to convey a bright and positive environment, but if your lighting is dark, it can unintentionally create a more sinister atmosphere. On the contrary, bright lighting is associated with happiness and cheer, which is most easily provided and controlled by professional, studio lighting equipment.
5) Add Colour and Texture
Lighting can be used to add colour and texture to bland environments and scenes. Gel lighting filters can be used to change the lighting colour while still allowing enough light to pass through to illuminate the shot. Colour can help convey or shift the mood of a scene when used properly.
6) Professional, Not Amateur
Regardless of the type of video(s) you’re making, good lighting is essential. Lighting is the difference between a video that looks amateur and unflattering, and a video that looks professional and polished. It is the one thing that you cannot afford to ignore, regardless of your shooting budget.
Video production companies already have the knowledge of lighting different scenes and the equipment needed to achieve well-lit shots. Here at JIL & Associates, we’ll bring our video expertise to your shoot, setting up our professional studio lights and arranging them in a way that will bring out the best in your video – whether you’re shooting a business interview, product shot, or outdoor scene. With the right lighting equipment, you can achieve the high-quality results you seek, and create a finished product that you can take pride in.
Lights, Camera, Action! Let’s Talk.