Video Production Manager, Envisiant, Inc.
David Rotan has been a film and video producer, director, and editor for the past 20 years, producing projects ranging from 30-second television commercials to feature-length motion pictures. David is now the Video Production Manager for Envisiant, overseeing the day-to-day shooting and editing operations for all in-house productions.
Basic Video Production Lighting Tips
David Rotan, Video Production Manager with Monkeysee, talks about some basic lighting techniques that will help you in your video production.
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David Rotan: Hi! I am David Rotan, Video Production Manager with Monkeysee.
com. Right now I am going to talk about some basic lighting techniques that will help you in your video production. Now there is a concept called Basic 3-point lighting, which consists of a key light, a fill light and a back light. Now we will start with number one, the key light, your key lighting source and if this was indoors, it would be your main lighting source and overhead light perhaps in the room you were filming, or a very bright lamp, or it might be a very large window where the sunlight was coming in. If you were outdoors of course, your key light is going to be the sun. Now second would be fill light, if for instance, your key light was to mainly one side of the other of your subject's face, it's probably going to create a little too much darkness or shadow on the opposite side, and a fill light is just that, it fills in the shadow and diminishes the shadow and sort of fills in where there is no key light. You know this is achieved with another light or are a balance card or a reflector card that just sort of balances the key light, the sun perhaps, back into the side of the face, that is opposite of the key light. Now back light is the light behind your subject and on professional shoots backlighting is used to achieve a nice little glow or rim behind the subject, but the problem that you have to look out for in basic video production is having too much backlight, and this is usually achieved by putting the subject in front of a window where it's just way too much sunlight coming in, and they are in silhouette, and they are dark and you can't see any of their facial features, that means you have way too much backlight, light behind your subject. And this can apply when you are shooting outdoors as well. The important thing is with lighting is your key light and make sure it's not too much to one side or behind, and watch the backlighting. Okay, now let's talk about White Balancing, what is White Balancing? Well all cameras usually have a feature where it calibrates the colors in your camera. Now this is kind of a hard concept to understand, but if have you ever looked through your camera lens and you have noticed it just looks too red or too blue and it just doesn't look natural. Well, white balancing is a way that the cameras can calibrate, usually manually it's done by holding up a white sheet of paper, just like this, and the camera operator will zoom directly in to the white, and then a lot of cameras have a little feature sometimes in the menu settings that says white balance, and you would hold that button down and you will it blinks for a minute and all of a sudden the color looks natural. It's not too blue or too red, because it's calibrating the color; it's telling the camera this is true white. What I was holding up, this is white, so all other colors in the color scale need to be based off of this being white. So that's what white balancing is, you know, hopefully you won't have to encounter too many of those situations. Most cameras these days are great with automatic white balance, automatically just correcting all colors in whatever environment, indoors or outdoors, but every now and then you get in a situation where it is too red or too blue, it just doesn't look right, and I would encourage you to read the user manual of your camera and figure out how to do manual white balancing, if you get in a situation like that. So those are some basic lighting tips when you are out there shooting your video.