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Video Lighting: Expert Advice For The Ideal Setup

The right video lighting setup is key to a successful live stream. It’s make or break and can completely change the vibe of your video content. It’s scientifically proven that light influences mood, meaning if your streams are poorly lit, your message will be impeded.

There are a number of important elements in getting a video lighting set up just right. Zidivo shares their top tips on nailing your lighting when live streaming.

Light and mood

Besides the fact that lighting for video can affect the overall quality of your live streams, you can use light to play with emotions too. If your business is planning to announce a positive company update or demonstrate a new product via a live stream, a dark and moody-looking video will completely ruin the effect. The brightness, intensity and the tone of your lighting can be used to make viewers feel a certain way or to determine the type of live content you’re offering. If you want your live streams to appear as professional as possible and bring in an ROI, the rule of thumb is to keep your video lighting bright and warm. 

Elements of lighting for video:

White balance

One of the main factors to consider is the temperature of your light, more commonly known as the white balance. The white balance of your light will be determined by the source(s) you use, with broad daylight being around 5000-6000 degrees kelvin (K).

Decide whether you want your live videos to be lit with cool, warm or neutral tones and stick to it. Don’t mix artificial cool-toned lights with natural warm daylight as this will create a strange and hard-to-watch effect in your footage. If you’re filming during the day and the weather is permitting, you can setup facing the window to benefit from the sun. For more formal or professional live videos, relying on the unpredictable daylight can be risky, especially in the UK. In this instance, close any blinds or curtains and use artificial lights to achieve a consistent and reliable white balance throughout your footage. 

Soft or hard light

When it comes to artificial lighting, it’s far more effective to use multiple light sources. Using a single point to light your entire live stream setting will create what’s called ‘hard light’, which may be suited for more dramatic events, but isn’t a good look for businesses, churches, or anyone looking to provide a professional stream. 

The bigger and wider your lights, the softer and more flattering your video image will appear. Soft light is essentially light that has been diffused before it hits the subject of your video. It doesn’t cast unsightly and odd shadows on the people on screen and appears far more natural than if you were to use one single bright light when filming. If you plan to live stream often and want the ideal video lighting setup, invest in a good quality lightbox to filter your light through and create a perfectly soft and professional effect. 

Three-point lighting for video

A foolproof way to create a successful lighting setup is to stick to the three-point method. You’ll need three decent quality artificial lights that are the same temperature. 

  • Set up a ‘key light’ to be your strongest source and position this to shine downwards onto your live stream’s setting. Make sure your key light is as close as possible to the setting and either slightly to the left or right, rather than head-on. 
  • Next, a second light should be used on the opposite side to fill in any remaining shadows, hence it’s named the ‘fill light’. 
  • The third and final light is the ‘back light’, which unsurprisingly is placed behind your setting to add depth and contrast between the subjects of the stream and the background. You should place the back light above and behind to highlight the focal point of your live stream. 

While a three-point video lighting setup isn’t tricky or overly expensive to implement, ring lights are also commonly used to create a similar effect. Large ring-lights can be used to achieve the effect of multiple point lighting by pointing downwards onto your setting and getting rid of any shadows surrounding the subject. Ring-lights are ideal for live streams that involve one or two people in front of the lens, but multiple cameras are naturally required for videos with more large scale frameworks, like church ceremonies or live debates.

Even if your video lighting seems adequate to the naked eye, always check your camera footage before going live. Taking the time to check over and perfect your video lighting setup can make the world of difference and allow you to stand out as offering professional and high-value live content.

Zidivo’s live streaming and on-demand video platform enables users to provide a top-quality and unique viewing experience. The HTML5 video players are compatible with any device and can be paired with your own branding up to make sure you reap all the possible benefits from your content. Start a free trial of the Zidivo platform or get in touch today to start sharing your professional and high-resolution videos online today!

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