7 Cheap and Easy Tips for Lighting your Videos

When producing video for a video on demand library or online tutorial series, there are a number of technical factors to keep in mind. Among those is lighting, something many forget until they sit down to edit or review footage and notice just how dark or contrasted their video has become.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve the quality of your video lighting without spending a fortune on professional lighting and equipment. Here are seven of the cheapest and most effective methods available for video you’ll be sharing online.

Paper Lanterns

A paper lantern is an inexpensive lighting solution – one you can find in almost any Asian market or on Amazon for less than $50. It also offers light that is generally very good for video. Because it diffuses the light throughout a room, and produces in an omni pattern, which means even lighting throughout the space, it eliminates a lot of the sharp and heavy shadows that sometimes occur, especially if your video has one or two people on screen.

Natural Lighting with a Reflector

Lighting your video from a window can be both good and bad. Click To TweetWhen positioned properly, it can provide enough encompassing light to make the video clean and crisp, but if it is too direct or there is only a single source, the opposite is true. If you are using any additional lights or anything directional, this can harm more than help. Keep in mind that the clarity of the shot and the precision of what is being shown on camera will have an effect here as well. Combine natural lighting with a reflector, and you can get full surrounding light on a subject without a big expense. Even a piece of whiteboard can do this if the light is sufficient.

Build Your Own Lighting Kit

You can create your own lighting kit with bits and pieces found at a local Home Depot keeps the budget under $100 and shows just how much of a difference even a little bit of lighting can make. If you’re on a budget but want your shots to look good, consider their DIY solution or something like it.

Create a Covered Wagon

Another DIY option is to build a covered wagon or batten strip. This is a light socket that has been mounted to a strip of wood and is a great way to light an entire room on a strict budget without losing significant quality in your video. They work for up lighting as well as for direct lighting on stands and the cost is very low.

amp Positioning

Remember, the key to good lighting is not to add light to the subject's face but to remove shadows from around them. Click To TweetThis means finding a good diffusive lighting solution. Yes, the $1200 lights photographers use in studio do this, but there are much more affordable options out there, starting with simple lamps that you probably already have around your house.

Lamps with shades or paper taped over them offer a diffusive light that, when well positioned, can handle this problem for you. The key is to position multiple of these in key locations. There should be a key light – a bright lamp placed in front of you at eye level (behind the camera). This should be the nicest lamp you own.

The second is the filler light. This light will also be in front of you, but to the other side to help remove shadows from your face. Finally, you’ll need a backlight to help you pop out of the background. It should be slightly above you to point down at your head. Use all three of these lights (which you already own), and you’ll have a quality, low-shadow setup without spending hundreds of dollars.

Getting the Lighting Just Right

The lighting is one of the unsung heroes of high quality video. It alone can make your finished product look more like a professional video and in turn gain more trust from your viewers. No matter if you’re a video content creator, you do live 1-to-1 consultations or you’re giving group classes online, spend a bit of time creating something or laying out a solution such as those listed above and you will benefit from it immensely.

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