• Xavier

Do I Need a Light?

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

This is a question I get asked all the time as part of my video workshops.

For years as a freelance videographer I didn't own a light. I only used natural light and seemed to get by just fine. However, with more experience I've learnt that if you're looking to instantly make your videos look more professional and cinematic, a light is your best friend.

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Lights are usually one of the more expensive items of gear that you'll own. Fortunately they're getting cheaper & cheaper. LED panels like above have revolutionised the game in terms of convince and efficiency.

In a nut shell, lights will enable you to:

  • Create depth in your shot by helping seperate your subject from the background.

  • Make your shot more cinematic via the use of shadows

  • Combat unflattering lighting conditions.

You might have heard of 3-point lighting. This is the standard method used to light a video or photoshoot. In a perfect world you'd own 3 lights and have the time and space to set-up a 3-point system.

In reality, having just 1 light as your key light (your primary and direct light source for illuminating the subject) will drastically help in most situations. A second light is a bonus and can act as your fill light (for filling in shadows) or back light (for more shape and depth).

Below is breakdown of the 3-point lighting system.

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For my corporate video work I only use 1 LED panel to light my interviews. It allows me to illuminate my subject and help make them pop from the background. As in the above diagram, the key light should be directed from an angle rather than the front. This creates some shadow that gives a more cinematic feel rather than a flat look.

See below an example of an interview subject illuminated in a dark room with just 1 key light.

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Source: Cinema Mastery Lighting Secrets

Now the important question – what lights should I buy?

As discussed above, LED lights have drastically changed the game. They're the future of lights. I've done a lot of research for the best lights to recommend to my clients and concluded that the below pair of lights on Amazon are fantastic value for money.

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They include stands, cases, 'barn doors' and, most importantly, batteries! You can literally be in the middle of field and use these lights. It's also possible to get really creative with the LED panels whilst off the stand. The other most important feature is the 'bi-colour,' meaning you can adjust the light temperature from cold (white) to warm (yellow). Check them out in more detail here.

In our 1-day videography course you can practice using these types of LED panels to see the impact it makes on your video. This can help you decide if you want to make the investment for your videos. Our Brisbane video courses also allow you to practice with other video equipment and learn the skills to film and edit your own videos. Read more about our videography courses.

As discussed, making use of natural lighting is a completely valid option, but if you want to take your videos to the next level then the above lights are the way to go.

I'll finish this post with a fantastic video that demonstrates the potential of using budget LED lighting and the impact it makes on your video. Enjoy!

Our Brisbane video courses teach you how to edit beautiful video content using Adobe Premiere Pro. InFocus Video Workshops also offer full-day workplace filming and video editing training for small business and organisations in Brisbane. Learn how to create your own high-quality video content. Find out more: https://infocusworkshops.com