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Equipment Basics: Lighting

October 22, 2019



Lighting is critically important to your video projects.  It can convey mood, establish depth, and ensures that all 100% of the communication you want to happen is successful.  


This week, I go over a basic lighting setup, displaying mine and the effects key, fill and back lights have on your final image.  A 3-light setup is pretty standard across the industry, though I often rock my projects with only 2 lights because I like the look better.  Lighting is at once personal preference but also needs to adhere to industry standards.  I get away with two lights because I've been doing this for closing in on 20 years.  However, by not using that 3rd light, I do lose some benefit, namely what we call modeling.  


Your lighting setup doesn't need to be super fancy, especially if you are doing something at your computer.  There are lighting products readily available on Amazon that will greatly aid you in these kinds of videos; however, bear in mind that you will need more light intensity than you think you will and if you are at your computer, it's likely that light source will be fairly close to you and that means you will have bright light(s) in your face, which could be quite uncomfortable.  


My lighting setup uses Yongnuo YN300 Series III bi-color LED Panels, which can adjust from warm white to cool white individually.  This means I can match most lighting conditions I find myself in and they include Bluetooth control from my phone so I can adjust lights individually or as a group during filming, which is super helpful if my backlight is just a little too bright or the wrong color temperature.  Best yet, they are under $80 per light and they will adequately light a subject from 10 feet away!  They don't ship with batteries, but a 3 light setup (with stands, batteries, charger and some kind of carrying case) will run you around $500-$600.  That might sound like a lot, but my original 4-light Lowell halogen light kit from 2007 was near $2000, so at 1/4 the price of that kit, it's a bargain.  Of course, you are welcome to find your own solutions-and I welcome your emails to evaluate what you find to make sure you are getting something quality!  

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