10 Indoor Lighting Tricks For In-Home Video Content Filming
Have you started a vlog, and uploaded your content to all the social media platforms out there to drive viewers and subscribers, but you notice that your indoor lighting needs improvement?
When it comes to vlogging, all you really need to do is set up your camera and start shooting. A lot of people are taking up vlogging either because they enjoy reviewing products they bought, using videos as a marketing strategy for their blog, or trying to become full-time YouTubers.
The problem with many beginner content creators when they are filming their vlogs is that the video created oftentimes looks amateurish compared to those of YouTube stars and seasoned vloggers.
If you are looking to improve your content and gain new viewers and subscribers, you need to have a good setup, a great script, and most of all, fantastic lighting. Here are some Indoor Lighting Tricks and Tips on how to perfect your lighting in vlogs for indoor shooting.
10 Indoor Lighting Tricks For In-Home Video Content Filming
Take Advantage of Natural Light You Have
When it comes to indoor lighting tricks to light up your subjects and make your footage pop on a budget, take note of all the light sources where you are filming.
Natural light is the first thing you should pay attention to when you are shooting indoors. Take note of the number of windows you have, and where sunlight shines in from during the day. If you are using the natural light from outdoors, try to position yourself close to a window, so you can use any available light shining through it.
Place yourself near a window that lights up your face or one side of your face. Something to keep in mind is don’t sit with your back towards the window because your face will be in shadow and not lit up properly.
The key is to position yourself or a subject you are filming where one side of your face is lit up from the sunlight coming in from the window, then you can use a cheap reflector screen to bounce the light back to the other side of your face or object. Check out this article on why you should have a 5 in 1 reflector in your filmmaking or vlogging kit.
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Invest In A Inexpensive Lighting Kit
Using natural lighting in a pinch can help improve your lighting conditions indoors, but if you want to step up your lighting game, then adding an inexpensive lighting kit will make your videos stand out.
There are a lot of dedicated and inexpensive video lighting kits available on the market that can help you light your subjects better and be compact enough that you can store them when they are not needed. Check out this beginner’s guide on using a lighting kit for content creation that will help explain why you need a lighting kit for your indoor lighting shoots.
If you don’t have a lot of room to shoot indoors for your videos, a good option is to use a ring light. Ring lights are becoming the standard lighting fixture by vloggers and influencers shooting review videos where you only need to film your face or a subject head-on.
The great thing about ring lights is they cast an even light that leaves no shadowed part on a face, so you don’t have to worry about adding any fill lights. Plus, they’re incredibly portable and come in different sizes to provide good lighting regardless of your recording device.
Related Article: Best Budget Lighting Kit Ideas Under 150 Dollars
When it comes to indoor lighting, if you are shooting with direct light, your video content might create undesirable shadows in your background. Direct light can also underexpose parts of your face, creating more shadowed parts on your face, and can cause a headache when editing.
If you are stuck in this type of situation with your indoor lighting, using a reflector to bounce the light off can help diffuse the light. When using a bounce reflector while shooting in direct light, you can ensure that the lighting during your recording session will be more even.
If you are shooting by yourself, adding a lighting stand that you can attach the reflector to helps you redirect the light with more accuracy during your recording sessions.
Soften Any Intense Light
If you are content creating videos on your own, there is so much to pay attention to that you may not have time to play around with reflectors, so if you have harsh light in an indoor studio or room, dampening the harsh light works as well as diffusing them.
The key to having quality videos that will have viewers come back for more is to make sure there are no distractions like shadows that will take focus away from you.
For dampening the light, a lamp dimmer can help. Most video indoor lighting kits have that option available to dim the light to your preference, which will help you not overexpose the footage.
If you’re using natural light from a window, or you’re filming outside, shooting during cloud cover can help you immensely in avoiding shadows or harsh light from the sun.
Plus, clouds act as a natural softbox that softens the textures of your skin.
That’s why you often see photographers and videographers using big boxes with white fabric in front of light fixtures to soften the look of a subject.
If you buy a professional video lighting kit, you’ll often get a softbox included, but you might want to buy an extra diffuser if you find that the light is still too strong.
You can also use paper lantern shells to diffuse any light that’s too harsh.
An indoor lighting tip for those on a low budget, and who can’t yet afford a proper lighting kit and reflector is to use any lighting fixtures you have around your home and create your own DIY Lighting setup.
Find any portable lighting source you can find and test it out in your setup. Play around with your lighting to suit your needs, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
For example, if you’ve got a handheld work light in your garage, you direct it against a white wall or the ceiling, you can use the bounced light to light your face in a pleasing way. Or, you can use some white foam boards or a white wall to bounce light off of to give the same effect as a reflector bounce.
There are so many ways you can light yourself or the subjects in your video with lighting around your house, you just need the patience to figure out what sources work best for you.
But once you start to make money on your vlogging, or have some extra funds to play around with, I would suggest adding a lighting kit to your filming equipment gear. It just makes your vlogging life easier in the long run.
Play With Your Camera’s Settings
When it comes to lighting, sometimes even the best lighting kits available, may not look right on camera, and that’s because of your camera settings.
If you are a beginner vlogger still learning your camera settings, and not confident enough to switch to manual settings, you can still leave everything on automatic settings. But when you are ready and feel confident with your camera, you really should keep your camera set to manual settings. The reason is that sometimes the automatic settings on your camera will analyze the scene wrong.
And if the white balance is off, the skin tones can end up looking strange. And if the light unexpectedly changes, your camera will try to compensate and your footage will look messy.
You’ll get the best results in your videos if you take the time to understand your camera’s settings. Don’t be afraid to play around with your camera and learn from your mistakes.
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Choose the Right Bulbs (Color Temperature)
When it comes to indoor lighting, even with all of the lighting setups you try, and you still think the lighting still looks off on you in your vlog, it can be because of the bulbs you are using. Various light bulbs throw different types of light. Some cast a warmer light and some cast a colder light.
Most professional LED-video lights available today can dial in the exact color temperature you want to achieve. Keep in mind that if you’re using household lamps, you should consider changing the bulbs you’re using.
Incandescent bulbs are a good example of bulbs that cast a warmer light. This will help you get a relaxing effect in your vlogs, making your viewers more comfortable.
Compact fluorescent bulbs use less electricity and are more efficient. They also radiate a colder light than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are great for balancing out any shadows that may appear in the background.
Another thing to watch out for when using household LED bulbs is they can cause your video footage to flicker, specifically if you’re filming at higher frame rates. That’s why it’s always best to invest in professional video lights which are flicker-free.
Related Article: Best Portable LED Lights For Smartphone Filmmaking
Use the 3-Point Lighting Technique
From the video above, you can see the importance of three-point lighting for indoor lighting.
By using three separate positions, the photographer can illuminate the shot’s subject (such as a person) however desired, while also controlling (or eliminating entirely) the shading and shadows produced by direct lighting.
The key light, as the name suggests, shines directly upon the subject and serves as its principal illuminator; more than anything else, the strength, color, and angle of the key determines the shot’s overall lighting design.
In indoor shots, the key is commonly a specialized lamp or a camera’s flash. In outdoor daytime shots, the Sun often serves as the key light. In this case, of course, the photographer cannot set the light in the exact position they want, so instead arranges the shot to best capture the sunlight, perhaps after waiting for the sun to position itself just right.
The fill light also shines on the subject, but from a side angle relative to the key and is often placed at a lower position than the key (about at the level of the subject’s face). It balances the key by illuminating shaded surfaces and lessening or eliminating chiaroscuro effects, such as the shadow cast by a person’s nose upon the rest of the face.
It is usually softer and less bright than the key light (up to half), and more to a flood. Not using a fill at all can result in stark contrasts (due to shadows) across the subject’s surface, depending upon the key light’s harshness. Sometimes, as in low-key lighting, this is a deliberate effect, but shots intended to look more natural and less stylistic require a fill.
In some situations, a photographer can use a reflector (such as a piece of white card stock mounted off-camera, or even a white-painted wall) as a fill light instead of an actual lamp. Reflecting and redirecting the key light’s rays back upon the subject from a different angle can cause a softer, subtler effect than using another lamp.
The backlight (a.k.a. the rim, hair, or shoulder light) shines on the subject from behind, often (but not necessarily) to one side or the other. It gives the subject a rim of light, serving to separate the subject from the background and highlighting contours.
Backlight or rim light is different from a kick in that a kick (or kicker) contributes to a portion of the shading on the visible surface of the subject, while a rim light only creates a thin outline around the subject without necessarily hitting the front (visible) surface of the subject at all.
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Add A Background To Film In Front Of
Having the right background behind you while vlogging can greatly improve your indoor lighting conditions. The color you use in your background will help or hinder the lighting in your video. Understanding which color to use is essential in creating a good vlog.
A white background will bounce the light back to you. A black background will absorb the light. That’s why picking the appropriate color for the background during your vlog is important in the quality of your videos.
To be safe, using a dimly lit background is the way to go to achieve a well-lit shot.
Also, think about what things you decide to put in the background of your video. A cluttered background will take the focus away from your message.
A great option for a background is to opt for a green or blue screen, e.g. if you want to put video footage behind you, but you will have to keep in mind that a green or blue screen needs good even lighting to work best. Another alternative is to use a photography backdrop with a texture of your choosing.
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Do Rehearsals Before Each Vlog
Just like in filmmaking, it’s important to rehearse your scenes before you start shooting. Why? Because with all of the adjustments of the camera, background, and lighting, you need to look over a dry run of your video to make sure you are happy with the results.
The right indoor lighting can make or break a good vlog. Lighting is one of those key elements in filming that sets apart a professional YouTube channel from an amateurish one.
If you can follow these tips for each video you shoot, you will be able to always produce well-lit video content for your vlogs going forward!
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About the author: Trent (IMDB | Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.
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