One of the first things I heard when I got into doing professional video is that the difference between a professional and an amateur is lighting. Your average person simply takes their phone out and shoots whatever clip that they want to film, with little thought as to how light is affecting what they see. While modern cameras can do a lot with available light, knowing how to light a scene is key to increasing the level of quality for your videos.
The good news is lighting technology has really improved over the last decade, and with more options available, you can usually find an options that will fit any budget. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to the 3 standard lighting options: tungsten, fluorescent, and LED.
Probably the truest light in regards to skin tone and color grading is the tungsten option. Tungsten bulbs have been around since Thomas Edison created the incandescent light bulb. The drawback to these is most of your power is given off as heat, and that can be a danger in regards to burns or even fires. They also use of ton of power compared to the other two options. You also have to replace the bulbs for these quite often, and they are easy to shatter if they are on and get knocked about. Also, in order to use them outside, you have to learn how to use gels in order to change the color temperature. Ok, so some of you are wondering, what is color temperature? Film and television lighting is measured using the kelvin scale. For example, most indoor light is around 3200K and most outdoor lighting is 5600K. So, in order to get a tungsten bulb to match exterior lighting, blue gels will have to be used to change yellow light to blue light. The biggest pro for this type of lighting is that it’s the cheapest to purchase.
Fluorescent lighting is another option that is available, while the lights don’t put off a lot of heat, the color is not nearly as true as the tungsten bulb. It’s also a lot harder to control this light, as you can’t really spot or flood it the way you can a traditional tungsten bulb. There is also a danger of mercury exposure if you break one of the bulbs. This option is also very reasonably priced, so it’s not a bad option for the cost-conscious shooter.
Finally, LED lighting. It’s the newest bit of lighting technology to hit the market. Probably the best asset to this is that the bulbs or diodes are extremely long lasting. They don’t put off much heat at all, so very little risk of burns or fires while filming. This option is also dimmable, just like tungsten bulbs. However, just like fluorescents, this option is not as easy to spot or color correct as tungsten is. LED lighting is also the most expensive of the 3 options. In order to get really professional quality, you’re going to have to pay a hefty price.
If you want professional lighting and video for your next project, just let us know. The High Road Agency has produced quality videos for a variety of clients and we can do the same for you!