Picture this: you’re getting ready to film your latest video, start a stream or join a virtual meeting. Your software is booted up, your outfit is on point, and your background is notably clean today. Everything is going great, but then you turn on your camera and see your video feed: blurry, dark and overall unpleasant to look at. Conversely, you might have lots of light from your window or overheads leaving you overexposed or a shadowy blob––also visually unpleasant. If this is the case, then you can greatly benefit from a proper lighting setup for video. In this post, we’ll walk through some basic tips for on-camera lighting, some video lighting techniques and how to get the look you want every time.
SET UP YOUR CAMERA
It’s an easy step to forget, but make sure your camera is properly configured before diving into anything else. The ultimate goal is to achieve a great on-camera look, after all, and that will be much harder to do if your ISO is too high or your white balance is off. Plus, while lights can do a whole lot of good for video quality, having a strong baseline will make for an overall easier camera setup.
With that said, using an external webcam or camera instead of a built-in computer camera will make a drastic difference in your overall video quality, since manufacturers typically sacrifice quality components in order to fit cameras into computers. With a webcam or regular camera, you can manually adjust important settings like white balance, light exposure, framing and placement (some cameras, like Logitech StreamCam, can even do some of these things automatically).
CONSIDER LIGHT PLACEMENT
Now that your camera is good to go, let’s get into lights. Check out our blog post on lighting techniques for more specific tutorials, but in general, a light source placed right next to or in front of your camera will get you even, flattering light with minimal shadows. In fact, Logitech’s new Litra Glow is designed to be the one light you need for professional, natural-looking video lighting. Made especially for streamers, content creators and work-from-homers, Litra Glow implements TrueSoft technology, pinpoint color accuracy and edgeless diffusion to wrap the subject in soft, cinematic light perfect for any setting and skin tone.
Litra Glow works great as your single light source, but it also plays well in multi-fixture techniques like a three-point lighting setup, which are crucial for getting that truly cinematic look on-camera. Along with Litra Glow, try using an additional fill light or even a three-point setup––a key light in the front, fill light on the side and back light behind you––to get a high-production look on camera.
UTILIZE COLOR TEMPERATURE
Color temperature is an effective way to set the mood without drawing too much attention to the lighting. You see color temperature used in movies all the time, maybe without even registering it. Tense or emotional scenes are often lit with colder blues, while warmer orange tints usually accentuate happy or romantic moments.
If you’re looking to boost your stream or video’s production value without shrinking your wallet, then utilizing color temperature is a surefire way to do just that. Litra Glow can give you anything from warm candlelight to cool blues with ease thanks to its intuitive variable brightness and color temperature settings. No matter how warm or cold you go, all skin tones look natural across Litra Glow’s color spectrum, so you’ll never have to compromise your creative vision due to looking too orange or blue.
ILLUMINATE YOUR BACKGROUND
Somewhat counterintuitively, good video lighting also involves using darkness and shadows to your advantage. A background that’s too well-lit might leave you looking a little flat and 2D on-screen, so leaving some shadows and lighting contrast in your shots maintains a sense of depth that looks more true to life. Litra Glow manages this balance thanks to its frameless diffuser, which illuminates the background with soft, seamless framing so that your light looks like a natural part of your setup.
EXAMPLE LIGHTING SETUPS
Now that we’ve established the basic things to remember for good video lighting, here are some examples of how you can put everything together to achieve different video lighting and setups.
Neutral and Professional
This kind of lighting is probably the most versatile setup you could have, working well for everything from job interviews to YouTube vlogs. A three-point setup––key light in front, fill light to the side and a back light behind you––will make you and your background look naturally and professionally illuminated with no distracting shadows or flare-ups. For this look, keep your color temperature somewhere in the middle: not too hot, not too cold.
Warm and Welcoming
A casual live stream, a chill vlog, a makeup tutorial, or a video with guests are just a few examples of content that could benefit from pleasant and sunny lighting. For this setup, you’ll want to use only one or two lights to create some shadows for depth, but still keep everything well-lit. If you’re filming during the day, you can even use a light source like Litra Glow alongside your window for pleasant and still controllable natural lighting. And as you might expect from the title, warmer color temperatures are perfect for establishing an open and friendly vibe.
Modern and Slick
Say you want something on the chill and low-key side for your gaming stream, storytime, or nighttime chat with friends. In this case, a simple but effective setup with cool hues is the way to go. One light to the side will give you a striking shadow effect by illuminating one side of your face, and a color temperature on the colder and more blue side of the spectrum will keep your background looking chill and even a little dark but still visible.
Find Your Own Light
Note that these tips on video lighting aren’t concrete rules. At the end of the day, anything from the size of your room to your outfit may impact your final on-camera look, so put aside some time to experiment before going live or hitting record. With Litra Glow, for instance, you can easily tweak and save your favorite lighting settings for Litra Glow via Logitech’s free G Hub desktop app, giving you the freedom to experiment and find your own video lighting setup. To learn more about lighting techniques, on-camera setups and more, check out the many other posts on our blog.