Lighting Techniques in Video Production

Lighting Techniques in Video Production

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Lighting Techniques in Video Production

Even the best camera in the world cannot catch a perfect image without good lighting. In a video production, the camera team uses lighting to improve shots, add depth, and support the tone and ambience of the narrative.

To enhance the narrative’s drama, depth, and atmosphere, cinematic lighting goes beyond the conventional three-point lighting arrangement. Lighting techniques used in filmmaking include light reflecting, light diffusion, and temperature adjustment.

Importance Of Lighting

Lighting is essential in video production because it gives the audience a visual mood, atmosphere, and meaningful sentiments. Every stage of the cinematic process, from dressing a set to booking talents, impacts the lighting setup and vice versa.

Here are the ways how lighting can affect your video:

1. Lighting tells your audience where to focus

The lighting setup draws attention to a particular actor, item, or aspect of a scenario.

2. The character’s psyche is reflected in the lighting

The characters’ surroundings can be altered by changing the light’s brightness, size, colour, and intensity to match their feelings.

3. The video’s theme is defined and supported by the lighting

Lighting is the most effective instrument for mood expression. For instance, film noir, one of the film styles most recognised for its distinctive lighting style, is distinguished by stark contrasts between light and dark, dramatically patterned shadows, and original framing and composition decisions.

How To Create A Simple Video Lighting Setup

The most straightforward lighting configuration is the three-point lighting setup that highlights a scene’s primary actor or subject and makes them stick out from their background. This is how you do it:

1. To cast a faint shade on the actor’s face’s opposite side, position your key light, which is your largest and brightest source of light, off to one side of the actor.

2. To reduce any angular shadows the key light may have produced, add a second light, also referred to as a fill light, on the actor’s opposite side.

3. To help define and emphasise the actor’s features and outlines, position a third light, a backlight, behind them.

Lighting A Scene Without Professional Equipment

If you’re on a production budget, you can still explore and play with various lighting setups with a DIY video production setup. Invest in a few things to create your own if you don’t have a lighting kit or access to expert lighting gear:

1. Get low-cost clamps, LEDs, or work lights mounted on tripods from a hardware shop.

2. Purchase some basic heat-resistant colour filters, such as soft filters to soften harshness and blue gels to change the yellow tint of halogen light to white.

3. To help focus and guide the light, wrap black cinefoil around the lamp’s edges.

12 Video Lighting Techniques You Should Know

Here are the 12 basic lighting styles used in film and video production:

  1. Key lighting
    Key lighting is the primary and brightest light source in a scene or on an actor.

  2. Fill lighting
    The key light’s sharp shadows are softened and given more depth by fill lighting.

  3. Backlighting
    Backlighting is used behind to define the actor’s features better and set them apart from the backdrop.

  4. Side lighting
    For a dramatic, high-contrast effect, side lighting illuminates the actor from the side and focuses on the features of their face.

  5. Practical lighting
    A light source that can be seen within the setting, such as a lamp, a light fixture, a candle, or a television, is considered to be practical lighting. They typically don’t have enough brightness to light a subject, but they do enhance the scene’s cinematic atmosphere.

  6. Hard lighting
    Hard lighting is a lighting style with harsh shadows that highlights a particular actor or element of a scene.

  7. Soft lighting
    Soft lighting is a lighting style that is bright but balanced, with few to no harsh shadows.

  8.  High-key lighting
    High-key illumination has no shadows and is extremely bright, almost to the point of overexposure. High-key lighting is frequently used in sitcoms, music videos, and advertisements.

  9. Low-key lighting
    A lot of shadows are used in low-key lighting to evoke a feeling of mystery or tension.

  10. Natural lighting
    Natural lighting uses and alters the available light at the shooting site.

  11. Motivated lighting
    Motivated lighting is a type of controlled lighting used to simulate natural light sources such as the sun or moon in the setting.

  12. Bounce lighting
    In bounce lighting, a reflector is used to bounce light from a powerful source towards the actor, softening and spreading the light.


Trial and error are needed when applying lighting for a video shoot. Before you start your video production process, take time to find the ideal balance of light and shadows for your shots by spending some time experimenting with three-point lighting, soft light, hard light, low-key light, and high-key light.

Nonetheless, video production is a complex skill that requires time and plenty of practice. If you’re looking to produce a high-quality video soon, it’s better to get in touch with the pro and have your video made professionally. For more information on how this can be done, get in touch with us today.