The Ultimative Guide to Get The Best Lighting for Your YouTube Videos

by Karin Schmid | | Category: YouTube Marketing

You want to create a professional YouTube video? But you don’t know how to light your videos and what equipment to use? We will provide you with some tips to get the best lighting for your YouTube videos.

So, let’s get started!

The main reason that many YouTube videos look bad is mainly lighting and not so much the camera. Lighting has a huge effect on the look of the videos and it’s mostly underrated how to light your videos properly – we’re going to look at this in this video.

Open video player in lightbox

Types of Lighting

First of all, let’s look at the types of lighting. What can we use to light our videos?

1. Natural Light

Of course, you can use natural lighting for your videos. Just sit in front of a window and use the sun as your source of lighting. That’s probably the cheapest way to light your videos, but also not that dependable.

Disadvantages

  1. Sunlight is not always available. Especially in the wintertime, when it’s getting darker quite early, it will be difficult to get proper lighting for your videos.
  2. Natural lighting changes a lot (especially if there are clouds). It can get really bright and really dark in just a couple of minutes.
lighting youtube videos with natural light

The most annoying thing is that you have no control over it: you cannot change the direction or how bright the sun is. It will always be this one constant thing that you just need to work with.

2. Artificial Light

So if you want to have consistent good light, it is pretty much necessary to use special lamps for video production. If you use actual lights for videos, your videos will look way better.

using artifical light for youtube videos

Advantages

  1. They’re probably brighter. So if you use brighter lights, your camera doesn’t need to brighten up the image afterward, which always causes noise in your videos.
  2. Regular lights can cause weird effects in the videos when their frequency doesn’t match the frequency that the camera has.
  3. You just have more flexibility.

If you want to make professional videos for YouTube, definitely look into proper lighting.

The Different Temperatures of Light

One important thing, especially when mixing natural and artificial lighting, is, that light has different temperatures. If, for example, we use sunlight, it has a temperature of roughly 5600 Kelvin – that’s the unit we measure the temperature of light in – so that’s daylight.

If we just look at a regular lamp that you might have on your ceiling, it usually has a temperature around 3200 Kelvin. Those 3200 Kelvin will look very yellow compared to the blue light of the sun. So if you mix those two, you might get different lighting temperatures in one image.

So it’s always easier to use lamps, that have a light temperature of daylight when you combine it with actual daylight. And also if you’re just using artificial light you want to look at getting lamps at the same temperature.

Make Sure You Buy the Right Lights

When you’re looking at buying lights for your videos, you will encounter different types of those:

  • Classic spotlights
  • Softboxes
  • LED lights

1. Classic Spotlights

First of all, there are the classic spotlights – you definitely know those. Those are the standard way to light from TV, for film, for videos, for theater productions even.

So those are the classic ways, but they drain a lot of energy and they always have a really hard shadow.

spotlights for youtube lighting

2. Softboxes

If you want a softer look to your videos, a softer shadow or no shadow at all, you probably want to look at softboxes. The light of softboxes is like their name suggests –  way softer.

They have kind of cloth in front of them, which makes your shadows and also your overall image just appear softer.

lighting youtube videos with softboxes

3. LED Lights

Last but not least – LED lights, especially LED panels. Those might come in way smaller sizes and they are quite good, especially for traveling and they might have batteries, so you can use them everywhere.

They drain way less power than those big lamps.

youtube lighting with led panels

How to Light a Scene

So let’s assume we have got our lights, how do we actually light a scene?

For this very standard way of lighting a person you use three lights:

  • Main light: usually placed off to one side of the camera.
  • Fill light: a diffused light that serves to fill in the shadows.
  • Hair light: a back light that separates the subject from the background.
3 point lighting setup for youtube videos

The important thing to mention: with lighting there always comes a shadow. You cannot light something without causing shadows, so you need to be aware of this.

It’s very easy to hide a shadow if you don’t want it in the background. But if you have a harder light source, it helps you to use the three-point lighting, because if one source of light comes from one direction, the other one comes from the other direction.

With the three-point lighting, you can, for example, make one side brighter and the other one darker or add other types of details to your background.

Executive Summary

Okay, so let’s quickly sum up what we’ve learned in this video as usual in our executive summary:

  • First of all, you probably want to use artificial lighting for your videos, even if it comes with higher costs. It is clearly worth it and will have huge effects on how your
    videos look.
  • The second thing we’ve learned is to use three-point lighting. If you’re lighting a person at least use a main and a key light to properly light the person.
  • And third: when you’re lighting always be aware that you’re causing shadows and be mindful of where you want to have the shadows.

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