Cameras are like human eyes, they find it pretty hard to see in the dark. At it's most basic level, lighting allows a camera to 'see' what it is front of it. At a slightly more technical level, lighting allows a camera sensor or piece of film access to enough light through an aperture to achieve a correct exposure. At a more artistic level, lighting helps tell your story.
Camera and lens technology is rapidly improving every year. Modern cameras can achieve incredible results in low light that cameras 10 years ago could never manage. They have also come down in price while still while still offering high technical specs to consumers. Put simply, there has really never been a better time to be making videos.
Fundamentally though, lighting is still as important as ever. Even the best cameras on the market still require lighting skills and a thought process to get the best images and to ultimately tell a good story. The reason I love lighting is that it is both a technical and creative exercise.
- Good lighting illuminates your subjects/set enough for your viewers to see what is happening and allows your camera to get a suitable exposure.
- Great lighting illuminates your characters, creates a mood and a feeling in the audience, conveys emotion, paints of a picture of an era or setting and so, so much more.
There are many ways to achieve a desired look while shooting, so it can be a daunting prospect at times. You are dealing with a lot of different elements that all work together i.e. colour temperature, diffusion, angle of the light, distance from talent, spread of the light etc.
This is all so important because great lighting can really push your production into the next level and make you and your business or production look professional. The great thing is that it does not have to be an expensive and overly challenging exercise.
Things that will create Great lighting for your production:
- Planning - Think ahead, visit locations and examine all the elements so you can figure out a plan of attack to achieve the lighting results you want.
- Experiment - Try different things, even some household items like baking paper or an old curtain could be the thing you need to diffuse and soften the light in your shoot. Try different angles and placement of your lights.
- Learn and practice - Always learn and research new techniques and try them out while shooting. Some of the great minds in the game perfected their craft by trying and trying, sometimes failing then learning from the experience.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE - This is one of the most important lessons I have learned while being a videographer. SIMPLE lighting can be GREAT lighting. One soft light, from a large source at a good angle from your talent can be all your need to create your next brilliant production.