The Importance of Lighting in Videography

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To make great videos, it's important to understand various elements such as framing, setting the mood, light, sound, motion, color, etc. Each of these elements play an important role during the creation of a video, and by carefully combining them, videographers can tell a story to their audience.

One of the most important elements in the art of video making is certainly light. Let’s take a look at how it impacts videography and why you should master controlling it if you want to become a videographer.

Sending a Message to Viewers

Videos are created to tell a story to your audience. Storytelling with video is quite a creative process and knowing how to use light can make this task much easier.

For example, playing with shadows let’s horror movies truly engage their viewers, and this effect is achieved by differently positioned harsh lights, i.e. those that are not diffused.


Another interesting example is a man immersed in his favorite activity, or a story about a passionate writer. In this case light is focused directly on the subject and his work, which communicates to the audience that he is currently unaware of his surroundings. This can also help to portray a distant relationship with relatives and loved ones. By introducing and using different lighting techniques, videographers control which part of the screen they want the viewers to pay attention to.


Example: Shooting a Nightlife Documentary

In videography, low light circumstances are the most challenging, as they require a lot of experimentation to hit that sweet spot. Depending on the story you are trying to tell, you need different lighting equipment to get the job done.

This is a great example of how to achieve a film noir look; a great artistic expression that transports your audience back to the golden era of B&W film. To achieve this look, it is necessary to use direct lighting that creates harsh shadows on the subject, creating a strong contrast and a mysterious look. This is a great setting for the introduction of the documentary.


However, to make nightlife scenery light up throughout the documentary, it's a better fit to shoot in color. If you are shooting indoors, there is equipment available that you can use to achieve different effects. For example, soft boxes are great sources of diffused light that create a natural looking scene.


Light Placement

When it comes to placing light, it's fine to experiment until you get the effect you are looking for. For example, a light placed directly in front of your subject is going to illuminate him or her well, but it is going to make it obvious that there is added light. But, if you place the light source behind your subject, they will look much more natural.


Another example is shooting a club scene. In this case, it's a good idea is to take advantage of the lights present in the club for shooting scenes with high contrast. On the other hand, there are plenty of small sized soft boxes which create a lot of light coming from a small source.


Scenes that are shot outside will give you a bit more flexibility. You can use street lights for achieving a completely natural look, but adding more of your own light sources will let you experiment more, and create an authentic nightlife scene.


In low light situations, remember to shoot with as wide an aperture as possible. This allows your camera's sensor pick up as much light as possible, and avoid going over ISO 400. Some cameras can go higher with ISO, but it is much wiser to invest in lighting equipment as this will give you the most flexibility. The more light you have in your shot, the more you can edit in post-processing. You can always outsource to the professionals at Video Caddy for the highest quality of production.

For more than a decade, Video Caddy has been a trusted member of the international business community, providing exceptional quality to customers in the United States, Canada, Australia and many parts of Europe. Learn more about their services here.

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