5 Tips on Using Continuous Studio Lighting for Videography
Published 21st February 2020
If you're looking for advice on using studio lighting for filming videos, then check out our 5 tips on using continuous studio lighting for videography. We'll cover light placement, different types of lighting, modifiers - and the importance of keeping things simple!
The way you place your lights is one of the most important factors in creating the mood/feel in your videos, as well as giving a professional, polished look.
The first question you should answer is “what am I going to shoot?”. Products will require different lighting placement to, say, a person being interviewed. Of course, it depends on how many lights you have to give you the effect that you’re aiming for.
While 3-point lighting setups like the Hypop Triple Rectangle Softbox Boom Arm Lighting Kit or the Spectrum Crystal Luxe 'TRIO' LED Lighting Kit are probably one of the most commonly used professional video lighting setups - you can still shoot video with only one key light. You can also use a two-light setup, like the Hypop 50cm X 70Cm Quad Head Double Rectangle Softbox Lighting Set.
One light setup
When you have only one light, you can use a large softbox as a modifier, and place it slightly to the left or right of your subject, above their head and pointing down at an angle. You should place the light as close as you can to the subject so you get a soft and flattering light. This kind of lighting will give some shadows on the face on the side that isn’t lit, so it gives a more dramatic, interesting look:
Two Light Setup
A double light setup like the Hypop 50cm X 70Cm Quad Head Double Rectangle Softbox Lighting Set gives an even light on both sides of the subject. The lights are placed fairly close, and at a 45 degree angle so that light covers both sides of the subject evenly:
Three Light Setup
A three-light setup like the Hypop Triple Rectangle Softbox Boom Arm Lighting Kit or the Spectrum Crystal Luxe 'TRIO' LED Lighting Kit will give you the ultimate flexibility in different light placements.
You can use two lights as in the diagram above, with the third light as a hair or backdrop light, or one key light, one lower-powered fill light, and the third as a hair or background light:
• Factor in Ambient Light
Ambient light is the light that’s all around us - both natural and indoor lighting. To get a good lighting setup, you need to factor in how the ambient light affects your shoot.
If you’re inside, turn off all other light sources (like the overhead lights), and close curtains/block the window light from coming in. This means the only lighting that your camera will pick up is from your own lights, which allows you to control exactly how the light looks on your video.
We looked at one way to use a 3-point lighting setup, but there are other options in how you set three lights up. This makes lighting kits such as the Hypop Triple Rectangle Softbox Boom Arm Lighting Kit, and the Spectrum Crystal Luxe 'TRIO' LED Lighting Kit among the most versatile of lighting setups. Boom arms give you the option of having a light shining directly down on your subject from above without getting in the way of the camera.
One of the most effective ways of using 3-point lighting is to have two key lights at the front of your subject, and one pointing towards your subject from the back. The two key lights give an even light on both sides of your subject at the front, while the third light gives lighting from the back. This backlighting really makes your subject stand out from the background for a professional look.
You can also use the third light as a hair light - used to illuminate the hair of your subject. This is very useful when your subject has dark hair against a dark background - it separates them from the backdrop and gives hair a contrasty shine. Again, a boom arm lighting kit comes in handy here, but you can light hair without one.
You can fine-tune your effects by using different lighting modifiers (we’ll look at that next), or by moving your lights closer to, or further away, in relation to your subject.
Light is also dramatically shaped and changed by the lighting modifiers you put on your lights. The effect they give depends on the size, shape, and material of the modifier. As a general rule, the larger the modifier, the softer the light is, and the shadows are also reduced.
You can use softboxes to diffuse and soften light - square, rectangular, circular or octagonal - like the Aputure Light Dome II (89cm/35") for Light Storm. This modifier is a 16-sided light shaper that gives soft, beautiful lighting that also has a crisp and clear edge.
For a more defined, dramatic look, a beauty dish like the Hypop 100cm Collapsible Beauty Dish Softbox with Diffuser Grid (Bowens) gives lighting that wraps around your subject’s face and gives lovely circular catchlights in the eyes.
To get a punchy, crisp and focused light, use a light such as the Aputure Light Storm C300D II 5500k CRI 96+ LED Video Studio Light. Single-source lights such as these give a hard light with clear edges when they are undiffused. You would use this kind of lighting when you want strongly defined shadows, to light a smaller area, or a more directional light.
Continuous lighting is great for video (and photography), as it is very much a case of what you see is what you get. There’s no need to worry about using flash triggers for strobes, whether you’ve got the right flash settings, etc.
Using continuous lighting makes things a lot simpler, which means you can film your masterpieces with much less worry!
We’ve looked at light placement and setups, dealing with ambient light, setting up a 3-point lighting rig, different modifiers, and the benefits of continuous lighting. Hopefully, our 5 tips on using continuous studio lighting for videography has been of some help to you in choosing the type of lighting you want to use for your video shoots.For more photography lighting and equipment, visit our main page www.hypop.com.au.