Lighting Basics and reflectors

Lighting is the most important aspect of any video or film. The lighting affects the mood and much of the quality of the film. Too dark and the pixels start to show through the film as noise and too bright and the camera may not be able to cut out all the light. But there is much more to lighting than just this.

Lighting can be natural or artificial and you will have noticed the colour of the light affects the shot as well. Bulbs can be a different colour to daylight and light early in the morning or before dusk can also be different.

With these ideas in mind, you have chosen your location and now you have to consider the light.

Light can either be natural - (from the Sun) or artificial regardless

There are two features with lights.

One is where to place them or where the sun is, The Direction

Two is about the light you are using. The properties brightness, quality, shape and colour. If we are outside and using the sun, then this is the time of day, where the sun is in the sky and the clouds etc. Inside then this depends on what lights are in the room or what lights you might have brought with you.

We need to worry about,

The colour of the light (how white it is confusingly called colour temperature), and contrary to popular belief there isn't just one white

The intensity or brightness of the light of the light,

Whether it is a point source or a wide source the shape

Whether it is diffuse or not, this is about the quality of the light.

Cameras use flash whereas video needs continuous lighting.

If you need more lights, then the cheapest and easiest route is to start using reflectors. The cheapest of these is a piece of white paper on a card, or foamboard you can buy reflectors. Normally a large one and a small one will suffice.

These reflectors from Neewar are large enough and fold up small and flat to be useful 

They are 5 in 1 which gives you white, silver and Gold reflectors for different lighting situations, a black reflector - known as a flag to block out the light, and a translucent screen which is great for reducing the power of the light source and making is more spread out and even. Illustrated here is a large version but for close up shots the smaller ones work really well and are light enough that you can fix them in position quite easily.

They can be fun to fold back up - something my son is yet to master.

If you want to use artificial lights then you have a great choice and you can spend a lot of money. But that will be the topic of another blog and video.


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