Look, See, Light! Simple Approaches For Lighting Video

If you feel you need a little more separation of your subject from the background, you can use a small fixture to place light on the background.

Look, See, Light! Simple Approaches For Lighting Video
Look at the room or setting that your video will be shot. Where is the lighting coming from in that setting?
Credit: Jim Sippel
Look, See, Light! Simple Approaches For Lighting Video
Look at the room or setting that your video will be shot. Where is the lighting coming from in that setting?
Credit: Jim Sippel

Photos & Slideshow

Look, See, Light! Simple Approaches For Lighting Video

Lighting the Video Shoot News

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2017
The March-April 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine includes articles pertaining to trends in youth and children's spaces, and a profile on a Colorado Christian high school that built a state-of-the-art performance venue.
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You’re “on location” for your video shoot, camera placed, now the scary part… I am often asked, “Where do I start with lighting my video?”

My simple answer would be to:

Look: at the room or setting that your video will be shot. Where is the lighting coming from in that setting? Look at the main graphic in this piece.

See: Once you have identified all of the natural and artificial light sources, you can now decide how “motivated” your lighting will look. Motivated lighting is basically lighting that looks natural for the room or setting. This is achieved by placing your light sources, so that they look like they are coming from the same direction as the light sources in the room.

Take a look at the second graphic, or the first in the associated slideshow.

Now it’s time to Light for your Look.

Don’t worry too much about what kind of lights you have or don’t have to light your scene.

There are several ways we can approach this room setting with lighting.

We can place our key on the window side of the camera so it looks like the natural sunlight is our primary source. And place a 4’x4’ foamboard bounce card or a Flexfil on the opposite side of our key to provide a subtle fill light into our subject. I like to start the bounce card far from the subject and walk it closer until I just start seeing the fill light. You may not need a backlight if you can see part of the window in your camera frame.

Take a look at the third image, or second in the slideshow.

If you feel you need a little more separation of your subject from the background, you can use a small fixture to place light on the background to help separate them. This is done in films all the time.

Review the fourth image, or third in the slideshow.

Here’s a different way you can light the same setup, only this time we are not going to use the window a the primary motivated light source. We may not have lighting fixtures that can give us enough light to light against a window, or the light keeps changing from the window so we close the curtains or it’s nighttime. 

This approach shows how you can “motivate” your Key light source from an off-camera room source to give your subject a nice modeled look and use the table light as your “Practical” source to provide an edge light. Now a “Practical” light is a light source that is seen on camera that is actually providing some light.


More About Jim Sippel
Jim Sippel is a three-time Emmy© Award winning lighting designer. After working full-time with WCFC TV38 Chicago for 10 years, he joined Willow Creek Community Church in 2000, serving as Video Producer/Production Manager/Director of Photography. While at Willow Creek, he helped developed the capabilities of their video production department to tell powerful stories to advance the cause of Christ. Currently he works as an independent contractor, with his experience covering Lighting Design/Consulting, Director of Photography, Production Management, Production Design and many other production roles.
Get in Touch: [email protected]    More by Jim Sippel
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Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2017
The March-April 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine includes articles pertaining to trends in youth and children's spaces, and a profile on a Colorado Christian high school that built a state-of-the-art performance venue.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Background · Foamboard · Light Sources · Lighting the Video Shoot · Location · Setting · All Topics

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