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Choosing lighting gear

From: Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Video: Choosing lighting gear

One challenge we have with video is as the light level drops, we can't simply choose a slower shutter speed than one thirtieth of a second. Once the lens is at its maximum aperture, the only thing we can do is increase the camera's ISO setting. That can be a problem because a higher ISO can mean more noise and less quality for your video. Or we can add some light. Lighting could be a whole course in itself. So, I will just touch on some things that can help you as you start shooting video. Lighting doesn't have to be complicated and I'm going to give you a few tips about choosing lights and using them very simply.

Choosing lighting gear

One challenge we have with video is as the light level drops, we can't simply choose a slower shutter speed than one thirtieth of a second. Once the lens is at its maximum aperture, the only thing we can do is increase the camera's ISO setting. That can be a problem because a higher ISO can mean more noise and less quality for your video. Or we can add some light. Lighting could be a whole course in itself. So, I will just touch on some things that can help you as you start shooting video. Lighting doesn't have to be complicated and I'm going to give you a few tips about choosing lights and using them very simply.

With video, you have to have a continuous light source. That light has to be on all the time while you are shooting. You have two basic types of lights to choose from for a typical video shooting. Quartz lights or LED lights. Quartz lights are a traditional light source that work very well. They're relatively inexpensive. In fact you could go down to Home Depot and buy some quartz work lights that could be used for video. Although the protective cages over them might create some odd shadows. But even quartz lights made for video are not necessarily all that expensive.

It is important to note two things about quartz lights. First is that they have incandescent color temperature. That means they have to be used with your white balance set for tungsten or incandescent light. The other thing is they get very hot. That's why I don't leave it on all the time. You have to be careful with quartz lights because you can literally get burned from them. In fact, all this heat can be enough to make your subject uncomfortable as well. So, I am going to turn this off now so I don't burn myself. LED lights are relatively new for video.

They are rapidly coming down in price but they're still more expensive than quartz lights for their power. They also usually don't have the output that quartz lights can have and as you see they are actually balanced generally for daylight, which the conditions are here. Now, LED lights are great because they are never hot. You can turn them on for a long time and at most they get warm. You never have to worry about getting burned from them or about overheating your subject.

How do you use these lights? Again, that's a whole another course. However, there are two things you can do immediately without having to know a lot about lighting. Sometimes, this will help you capture video that could not be captured in any other way. First, just bounce the light off the ceiling. Turn the light up toward the ceiling, turn it on and this works actually very well with quartz lights. It gives an immediate boost to the light level of the room and it looks natural. You may find that the light looks better bounced from one side or the other of the subject, but basically you just aimed the light at the ceiling.

Second, you can put a light up high and to one side of your camera. You could bounce that light off of anything white, from an actual photo reflector or a white wall, or you could put some diffusion material in front of it to soften it. But be careful when using diffusion with quartz lights so that you don't set the diffusion material on fire. Keep it away from that hot lamp. Then use a reflector on the other side of the subject if needed to fill in the shadows. Simply, having a key light and some sort of fill light can make a big improvement of shooting your subject.

As you progress, you can start to think about adding hair lights and other lights to the background. Now, if you want to go further with this, you will find lots of books on photographic lighting techniques. Just substitute one of the continuous light sources I've discussed instead of a flash or strobe that is mentioned in the text. But most of all, turn those lights and experiment. You will learn a lot by recording video as you position a light around a subject.

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This video is part of

Image for Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR
Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

33 video lessons · 25197 viewers

Rob Sheppard
Author

 
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  1. 2m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. What video can do for you
      1m 27s
  2. 23m 13s
    1. Stopping time in photography vs. recording over time with video
      4m 14s
    2. Shooting for movement over time
      3m 58s
    3. Composing for constantly changing visuals
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting to shooting for a non-RAW medium
      3m 26s
    5. Understanding resolution for video
      3m 36s
    6. Choosing a video frame rate
      3m 17s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders
      6m 18s
    2. Comparing sensor sizes among DSLR cameras
      5m 26s
    3. Considering noise when comparing sensor sizes
      3m 8s
    4. Choosing memory cards and batteries
      3m 33s
    5. Understanding video tripods
      6m 10s
    6. Working with other camera supports
      3m 19s
    7. Using focusing aids for shooting video
      5m 29s
    8. Choosing lighting gear
      3m 58s
  4. 26m 23s
    1. Adjusting how you shoot
      6m 11s
    2. Limited "fixing" of images
      3m 42s
    3. Understanding the challenge of shutter speed
      3m 56s
    4. Getting the right exposure
      6m 59s
    5. Setting the right white balance
      5m 35s
  5. 19m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of audio
      4m 5s
    2. Learning to work with sound
      4m 54s
    3. Gearing up for audio
      7m 19s
    4. Recording with external audio gear
      3m 21s
  6. 33m 56s
    1. Basic shooting
      6m 12s
    2. Shooting video to tell a story
      7m 27s
    3. Shooting for coverage
      4m 52s
    4. Understanding how to shoot movement
      4m 10s
    5. Shooting the moving subject
      4m 17s
    6. Creating movement
      6m 58s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Preparing for the edit
      6m 57s
  8. 1m 47s
    1. Stay focused
      1m 47s

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