Top Lighting Tips For Recording Quality Videos

Top Lighting Tips For Recording Quality Videos

2013 is the year of the video! That means you’ll want to ramp up your video content creation, production, editing and distribution… BIG time! I’ve said for years that NO amount of sophisticated technology will EVER take the place of real, live, in-person, face-to-face connecting… because you can look into people’s eyes, feel their energy, shake their hands, and observe their body language. However, the next best thing is VIDEO! Especially live video, when possible. Google Hangouts (on Air), Livestream and Ustream are all great examples of reliable live streaming video platforms.

Plus, the good news for producing your own video content is that the costs of doing so are becoming so much more affordable. I’m going to be exploring many elements of successful video creation over the coming weeks. This blog post is the first in a series of short video tutorials on important elements you’ll need in order to create top-quality videos. I’m delighted to feature my friends Catherine Hedden and David Gumpel from Films About Me. (Catherine is a Social Media Marketing expert and Brand Specialist, and her husband David is an Emmy Award-winning Director). 

Play this short video below for the simple lighting tips:

Here are a few of the key points:

  • Bad lighting is like talking to people with your sunglasses on – it doesn’t create a good connection.
  • Good lighting is critical to ensure great eye contact through the camera lens with your viewers.
  • Basic 3-point lighting is a big soft light on one side, a smaller one on the other side, and a back light.
  • The purpose of a back light is to separate the talent from the background, so you don’t look glued to the backdrop!
  • You can also include a bonus floor light — called a “diva light” — to create extra fill (nice and flattering for lighting up us women!)
  • Extra diffusion on the lights makes the lights look nice and pearly.

If you have any questions or comments on video lighting, please do let us know in the comments below.

Lighting Kit

David and Catherine recommend this lighting kit from FloLight that comes with three light fixtures and three 6′ light stands. This is the kit we used in the video above. Please do share any questions or comments you have about this or other equipment in the comments below!
FloLight Fluorescent Lighting Kit

FloLight Fluorescent Lighting Kit

Gear We Use

Also, be sure to follow this Pinterest Board by Films About Me, sharing their latest cool gadgets, toys and equipment they use in their own video creation.
FAME - Pinterest Board - Gear We Use

FREE Live Webinar – January 24th

You’re invited to join David, Catherine and myself on a free LIVE webinar on January 24th where we’ll discussing in-depth how to regularly create quality video content, distribute your videos effectively for maximum impact, and create measurable results including improving your bottom line. You’ll learn about a whole range of equipment, and we’ll explore a variety of options for video style, including your very own web-TV talk show. Plus, we’ll discuss how to map out a proper social media marketing plan to set yourself up for the best viral distribution. Find out more here, or just pop your name and email address in the fields below so we can save your seat for you!

2013: Year of the Video – FREE Webinar

January 24, 2012 at 11am PT / 2pm ET

If you’re unable to attend live, we will send out a replay to all registrants.

Your privacy is assured. Your email address is safe with our company.

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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  1. Travis Ross on January 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your studio, Mari. I totally agree that 2013 is the year of the video. One of my goals this year is do create many videos helping people get better that this wonderful medium. Anyway, have a great year!

  2. Tracie on January 11, 2013 at 6:02 am

    This is great, but what about those of us who don’t have friends that can do this for us? Where do we get a back drop? How do we get the diva light? Should we do this in a garage or a place where there’s already a lot of light coming in? For me, I’m a newbie and can’t afford much but would still like to look professional in my video’s – I can get the three-light kit but I don’t have a back drop. Thanks for all your help!

  3. John Baranski on January 11, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Wow, that light kit is over $500 – any other options that are mid-range? Where do we get the diffusers? Great video!

  4. Anne Asher on January 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for this, Mari. The diffusion thing looks like a great idea.

    What about make up for video? Especially for those of us who do not photograph well but who want to incorporate the use of video in our businesses. Do you have any tutorials on that? Thanks again!

  5. Julia Rymut on January 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Fantastic! I got great ideas. I’ve struggled with lighting for a long time. I considered using a backdrop because none of the shots in my house end up looking nice. Now I’m convinced this is what I should do.

    Off to figure out how to find lighting supplies and diffusers…!

    Thank you.

  6. Catherine Hedden on January 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Hi John, David says you can start with 2 of these for the front and then hang a paper lantern (sometimes called Chinese Lanterns) from the back. Probably under $50 for all. We will have a blog post up about this soon.

  7. Catherine Hedden on January 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Hi Tracie – Yes, we are all at different phases in our video journey. You can use your smartphone or any digital video camera to film. You can purchase a paper backdrop from a photography supply shop for around $70. If you have a big window with a lot of natural light you can position yourself facing the window and cover the window with a white sheet (it will act as diffusion). This usually offers beautiful lighting. The diva light is on our Pinterest page here: Best of luck! You can do it!!

  8. Catherine Hedden on January 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Great job Julia! Love your can-do attitude.

  9. Catherine Hedden on January 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Hi Anne, We haven’t created a make-up tutorial….. will have to add that to the list. 😉

  10. Steven J Fromm & Associates on January 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Very nice post on the lighting issues. By the way, of the two lighting kit choices which one do you recommend? Or why would one choose one versus the other?

  11. Amy Lynn Andrews on January 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    This comes at a great time as I was just contemplating putting a studio in my garage too. A few questions: I see the back light is shining down from the center, but I’m curious about the other two. Should they be higher and pointing down on the subjects being filmed or at the same level? Also, about how far away from the subjects should they be positioned?

  12. Mari Smith on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Great questions, @twitter-17225617:disqus — with the lighting kit that David & Catherine recommend, they come with 6′ stands. Catherine and I were sitting in chairs and the two main lights were above us pointing down. I believe David typically positions approx 6 feet away from the subjects. Hope this helps!!

  13. Mari Smith on January 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Hi @sjfpc:disqus — I believe the 3000k is good for daytime use and the 5400k for night. But I would get the 5400k and use for all-purpose. I’ll double check with David though and let you know for sure!

  14. Mari Smith on January 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Hi @facebook-690046779:disqus — love your giraffe avatar!!! hehee My fave animal. Yes indeedy, as @facebook-1205792243:disqus says, we’ll need to add a makeup tutorial to our list! Also styling/wardrobe as well! Meantime, I can say that I’ve learned a ton from my friend Carol Meredith who is a talented makeup artist with a couple decades’ experience working in television. She likes the line of HD makeup by Sephora called Makeup Forever. They also do a primer and a powder. Contrary to the old-style way of doing TV makeup, Carol says these days with the HD cameras, you actually want to go a bit lighter… the goal is to look flawless without looking too “made up!”

  15. Mari Smith on January 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Love this simple and inexpensive solution!!! Brilliant.

  16. Mari Smith on January 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Fantastic! Thanks for stopping by, Travis! Hope you’ll join us for the free webinar on the 24th! 🙂

  17. Donovan Moore on January 12, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Another good ideas is to shoot a light up under your chin from the front. makes you look better. Trust me.

  18. Dave on January 12, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Great tutorial. Two questions…

    1. I don’t see the soft boxes on the FloLight site. Can you point me to where those are located and why use an additional diffusor in front of the soft box?

    2. Your background light is hanging from the ceiling, but what if I want a portable setup. What is the best way to rig a background light so the light stand doesn’t show up in the background?

    Thanks for the help!

  19. Mary Gorham Malia on January 14, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Thanks Mari and Catherine,
    Here’s my problem. I wear glasses! I have an anti-reflective coating on them already but the glare or reflection in my glasses is still a problem. Help? How does one correct this?

  20. Heather Stone on January 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Hi Mari,
    Love these nuts and bolts posts for improving video quality. Breaking down great video production into its component parts makes it a bit less intimidating. Thanks also to Rachel Parker for sharing this post with the BizSugar community!

  21. Mari Smith on January 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Oh way cool – thanks a mil, Heather!

  22. Mari Smith on January 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Mary — hmm, as you saw, David wears glasses. Were you on our recent live webinar? Typically, as you move your head naturally, the glare/reflection isn’t constant and people can see your eyes. Especially if you have the anti-reflective coating. I wear glasses at my home office, but switch to contact lenses when doing video. I know it’s not always an option for everyone.

  23. Mari Smith on January 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Great, thank you!

  24. Mari Smith on January 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Dave — Hmm, you’re right the boxes David has in our video do seem different to the FloLights. The additional diffusor (paper) is to soften the lighting on our faces (with HD cameras, we don’t want every line/wrinkle and pore showing. Lol!)

    Ahh, I see what you’re saying about the back light… yes, David hung that one from my garage door track. Lol! I’ll need to defer to @facebook-1205792243:disqus on this one!

  25. Mari Smith on January 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    100% agree! The ‘diva’ light. hehe!

  26. Wayne Marshall on February 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Great videos! my only issue is with the music – is too loud when trying to listen to your voices. Just my 2 cents.

  27. StuartDunmore1 on February 28, 2013 at 3:41 am

    LED lighting is definitely something that is highly recommendable as they are top quality lights that can be available for a great price and they are definitely something that I would recommend to others.

  28. David on May 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Hey, can anyone advise me on how to get hands-on experience with lighting in film?

  29. Video Creation on August 17, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Appreciate your sharing this excellent post. I would like to visit again.

  30. Jon Waters on September 2, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Interesting article. The article took a lot of thought, which makes reading it more interesting. I may return and take a look at what else you have to write.

  31. iris on October 17, 2013 at 2:01 am

    thanks for the article. what will be the perfect watt for this fluorescent lights..

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  35. Gil on June 19, 2014 at 1:42 am

    What is the size (width) of the backdrop you are using in the video? Also, what is the difference between using the back-light you have mounted on the backdrop as opposed to using an over head light on a boom stand? Trying to figure out the best set up and what i nee dot buy. thanks!

  36. Naveen on January 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Very Good Video with well organised set up

  37. jhonynaga on January 22, 2015 at 10:08 pm

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