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Bright Ideas: How Video Lighting Enhances Final Production

Lighting is a crucial element in video production that can make or break the final cut. Whether you’re shooting a film, a corporate video, a commercial, or a simple vlog, lighting plays a significant role. In this post we’re going to shed some light on successful strategies, and explore five reasons why lighting is important during a video shoot!

1. Lighting Sets the Mood and Enhances Visual Appeal

Different lighting setups can create different emotions and atmospheres, such as bright and cheery, dark and moody, or warm and intimate. The right lighting can evoke specific emotions, enhance visual appeal, and create a captivating visual experience for the audience. For example, in a horror film, dim and eerie lighting can create suspense and tension, while in a romantic scene, soft and warm lighting can convey intimacy.

Although this scene featured an actual fireplace, we used a Gemini Lite Panel to emulate the look of a cozy fireplace reflecting on the actresses’ face. Check it out starting at :14 in this video.

2. Defines the Subject and Adds Depth

Proper lighting can help define the subject of the video and take it from dull to dynamic. It can draw the viewer’s attention to the main subject or object in the frame and highlight its features. For example, in an interview, a well-lit subject with a soft key light can make them look professional and authoritative. Additionally, lighting can add depth to the video by creating highlights and shadows, which can give a three-dimensional look to the scene.

At this shoot, the existing fixtures in the restaurant were going to be featured in our shot so we used our lighting to enhance them and define the interview subjects.

3. Adds Creativity and Style

Lighting can be used creatively to add a unique style and aesthetic to a video. Different lighting techniques — such as using colored gels, creating interesting shadows, or playing with contrast — can give a video a distinct look and feel. Creative use of lighting can help convey the director’s artistic vision and create a memorable visual experience for the audience. It can also be used to reinforce the branding or message of a corporate video or advertisement.

4. Provides Consistency and Continuity

Consistency in lighting is essential for video production, especially for multi-camera setups or scenes that require multiple shots. Properly lit scenes ensure that the video has a consistent look and feel throughout, which helps maintain continuity and avoids jarring transitions between shots. Consistent lighting also contributes to the overall professionalism and quality of the video, making it more polished and visually appealing to the audience.

During this production, we used eight different lights! We were shooting an entire series in one day so the sunlight you see streaming in from the window was actually created by the GRiver team so every interview would have a consistent look. Unlike the sun, our lighting setup doesn’t move.

Would you like to see some behind-the-scenes footage from this shoot, all about how we got the lighting right? Watch on our YouTube!

5. Enhances Visibility and Clarity

Good lighting is crucial for ensuring that your video is visually clear and easy to understand. Insufficient or poor lighting can result in a dark, grainy, or blurry video, making it difficult for viewers to see what’s happening on the screen. Proper lighting ensures that the subjects and objects in the video are well-illuminated, allowing viewers to see details clearly and follow the story or message being conveyed.

Sometimes taking light away is just as important as adding it. In this episode of the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet holiday series, we used an 8ftx8ft curtain to block exterior light from behind the sliding door which enhanced the visibility of our subject and props.

Bonus Tip! Sometimes taking light away during a video shoot, also known as subtractive lighting, can be just as important as adding light. Taking away light allows us to better control the lighting, create contrast, shape the light, enhance mood and atmosphere, and achieve the desired visual aesthetics of your video. It is an essential aspect of lighting design and can greatly impact the overall quality and impact of the final video.

If you’re thinking, “Can’t we just fix lighting in post-production?”, the answer is yes, but at what cost? A thirty-second non-animated commercial will have about 720 frames, and we would need to go frame by frame to create the effect of proper lighting. Addressing a lighting issue in this commercial during post-production could require about forty-five hours of editing, and attempting to ‘fix’ it may result in imperfections that could be magnified when viewed on a larger screen.

Professional lighting techniques can elevate the overall quality of a video, making it visually appealing, engaging, and effective in conveying the intended message to the audience. So, whether you’re shooting a film, a commercial, or a vlog, don’t underestimate the importance of lighting in creating a compelling and visually stunning video. Does your brand need help setting the stage? Our team is here to help.

Contact Granite River Studios for your next project today.