Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lighting Options that Won't Break the Bank





     In our last post, we discussed a little bit about video conferencing. One of the most important aspects of video conferencing, or even for just making videos, is the ability to be seen, and that means having adequate lighting. Probably the most common mistake, when working from home through a camera, is using a room’s overhead lighting. This sort of lighting is really not intended for any kind of videography. It can wash out certain parts of your face, create odd shadows that make viewing difficult, or it might even not be bright enough for your camera. So, what is someone who is now working from home to do? Of course, there is the option to purchase professional-grade lighting systems and use them at home, but we are here to discuss some free options by using things that you probably already have available.

Utilize Natural lighting


     The Sun is probably the best light source for video making. Within your house, position yourself near an open window. Sunlight registers wonderfully with most digital cameras and has a way of eliminating much of the need for other light sources. Ideally, you would want the light shining directly on your face, meaning that you would position your computer directly in front of the window. If that is not possible, having an open window to your left or right can work well as long as you have another light source to fill out shadows caused by this. The most important aspect though is to ensure that there are no light sources behind you. If there are, your face will be effectively hidden from the camera.

Eliminating Shadows


     If you have a window to your side, you will also likely have shadows on parts of your face and on your background. There are two very easy steps to help eliminate these shadows. First, you will need an additional light source that can be moved around. A shop light with a clamp or even a desk lamp that can be positioned on a shelf could work well. The important thing is that it focuses the light in one direction. From there, find a spot on the opposite side of you from the open window and adjust its positioning until it gets rid of the unwanted shadows on your face and body. Finally, there is a really easy way to break up those shadows on your background. All you have to do is to create some separation from whatever is behind you. Instead of sitting with your back to a wall, see if you can increase that to a few feet and see how that helps the frame of the shot.


     No matter what options you choose, the important thing is that you do what works best for your situation. Personally, I have two desk lamps sitting on my bookshelf, but whatever works, works!

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