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Video Lighting 101: Making Sure Your Videos Are Lit

It’s no secret that people prefer video on social media. In fact, it is estimated that more than half of both users and brand marketers wanta and use video recognizing that it is the most powerful content on social media right now. In fact, the amount of video people watch online has doubled since 2018

In one survey, 54% of respondents said they want more video content. Not only can video be entertaining, more and more people are using it for purchasing decisions. What is more, viewers retain and share more information through video versus text.  

So, the question then isn’t should you use video, it is knowing how to make good ones.  

Lights - Camera - Action

Great videos start with great lighting. Before you press, “record,” and call, “ACTION!” the lighting must be adjusted. The good news is that you don’t need an advanced degree or years of special training to understand how to work with light in your social media videos. 

In a tutorial video created by InVideo, the importance of good lighting on the impact of your video content is emphasized. The video covers tips such as how to light your video subject well, which angle to shoot from, and using a standard three-point lighting setup. PLANOLY has previously provided readers with beginner lighting tips as well. In a previous PLANOLY blog post, we put all of Instagram’s video specs in one easy place for you to access. Afterall, when creating video content, in addition to lighting, you must have proper size and orientation.

For this article, we are going to dive deeper into three-point lighting and light temperature as well as cover some fundamental dos and don’ts when it comes to video lighting. 

Three-Point Lighting

Just as the name suggests, this is a video lighting technique that uses three light sources. The lights used are called a key light, a back light and a fill light. The exact position, intensity and size of the three lights is controllable depending on what is being filmed. 

The key light is the primary and brightest light source. It is usually placed to the side of the camera and in front of the subject being filmed. The light will create shadows which is where the fill light comes into play. The fill light doesn’t even have to be a light at all. Sometimes a reflector is used to fill in the light. The back light is, you guessed it, behind the subject being filmed. This light helps create depth between the background and the person/thing being filmed. 

To see a typical position of a three-point light system as well as further explore lighting sources, check out this article. You’ll see that equipment size and price ranges depending on your needs and budget. 

Light Temperature

Lighting has temperatures such as cool to warm. Light temperature is what makes videos and photos appear blue or yellow. Color temperatures can be seen on Kelvin scale which shows light in a range from bright daylight to dim candlelight. Selecting the right light temperature is what will help set the mood for your video. 

Experts caution against mixing temperatures. Not only can this be disruptive to the eye, your camera might have trouble balancing and adjusting if there are conflicting light temperatures. 

Lighting Dos and Don’ts 

The techniques explored in this post highlight (no pun intended) the importance and power that lighting has with video. By setting up with good lighting, you create a more dynamic scene. Here are a few things to keep in mind when filming videos for social media:

DO test your lighting set-up before you begin. By having the lighting right first, you can eliminate wasted time with redos and overediting. 

DO utilize natural light when possible and when it works with you, not against you. 

DON’T record videos in dark spaces with poor lighting expecting to lighten it up later. Sometimes banking on being able to edit might not work out and could render the video difficult to see. And if your video is hard to watch, people won’t see it through to the end. 

DON’T film your subject inside with a window behind them or they will be too dark to see.

Watching videos on social media is a fast, fun and easy way for people to consume content. With the tips and tools we've covered in this post, you are now better prepared to create stellar, well-lit video content. One more thing to make sure you plan for is planning itself. The PLANOLY Reels planner is your pocket video assistant. With this paid feature, you can easily upload, edit and schedule your videos all in one place. 

Want more video lighting tips? Checkout this video lighting tutorial by Justin Brown – Primal Video on YouTube!

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Allie Teegardin

Allie Teegardin is a contributing writer at PLANOLY. As a writer, adjunct professor, and baker, she makes sure to add value to whatever she creates.

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