Video is a marketing opportunity your company cannot afford to miss! But if you end up looking like Norman Bates from Psycho, you may have missed the mark.
Too much of a good thing?
Too much light results in overexposure; not great if you want the viewer to tell where your nose, eyes and mouth are. But too little light means they won’t be able to see you at all.
If you’re not relying on natural, consistent light, the best option is three-point lighting. It’s popular because it allows for visibility and those soft shadows that remind the viewer you’re a real person.
What and where?
Three-point lighting is made up of the key light, the fill light and the backlight. And, no, the backlight is not the CSI-style “revealing-what-you-don’t-want-revealed” black light kind.
The key light is the brightest and it’s the one focused on you. The fill light, which is less bright, shines at you from a different angle and helps to “fill” the space, so that there aren’t awkward shadows on and around you. Lastly, a backlight is usually opposite the key light and it helps separate you from the background so you look more naturally three-dimensional.
Texture and temperature?
When you use hard lighting, you’ll end up with stark contrasts and dark shadows. Great if you’re shooting a film noir – but for an easy-on-the-eyes corporate video, soft lighting is best. It means your face will be complemented by soft shadows and the whole shot will have an even tone.
Mixing cool light (like the type you get from a fluorescent bulb) with warm light (for example, from an incandescent bulb) can be tricky in practice. Camera sensors will try to adjust the white balance in the shot – and they don’t always get it right. Go for one even tone throughout, e.g. warm, yellow and natural.
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