The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications

E023 - Importance Of Lighting In Your Videos

Joanna: Well as it says in Genesis let there be light. Let's talk today about lighting for video.

Joanna: Well just as I kind of joked on the intro here lighting for God was a big deal in the beginning of Genesis it's the start of creation. So it's actually like a really big deal for video to have great lighting. James tell us about what you're seeing in lighting. What's good? What's bad? How to make it better?

James: The point of today's episode is not to dive into any specific equipment because there are so many great lighting options in the past few years LED lights have really become popular and have really been affordable. I mean five to eight years ago I was working at a company and I remember needing lighting and asking our boss if we could buy lighting and he asked What's the quote? And we quoted him ten grand for two LED lights and he approved it which was astonishing. So we went down to B&H, I was in New York at the time. We bought ten grand worth of lighting, it was two interview lights on there were these panels and I would bet you that these lights are probably now five hundred bucks apiece. As opposed to 5000. So the prices have come down.

Joanna: There is tones of options so people can just use use whatever they like. I mean we won't get into the details of that today. So why does it even matter?

James: Yeah it matters because there's a lot of new video people or people who are not one hundred percent video people that think that you can get away with not lighting someone. And I've seen so much footage has been given to me on different projects where someone else has done the filming who is not experienced enough to know that if you're out somewhere and you're in a dark room having one little tiny window off to the side and having that person in the room sometimes it can look okay to your eye. But on video it does not look good. The person is not going to pop out and stand out properly and I've seen this on news videos I've seen this on missions videos. You need to light your subjects. And the reason why is when you go to color correct or when you go to edit if they're not lit properly they're not going to look good. And then the person on camera is going to feel self-conscious. They're not going be happy with the way they look is because we are all used to seeing amazing lighting on television. All your local television stations do really great lighting. And so those newscasters look great and we are used to seeing people pop and look nice onscreen and not have strange shadows casting from their nose all the way across their face or lights right on top of their head and so you know even their own brow casts a shadow on their face.

Joanna: Maybe that's a dramatic effect you're using in a video but for the most part it's not a dramatic effect it's just it hasn't been lit properly.

James: Yeah for the most part you don’t want to do that. I mean there are obviously situations where you need to do that or you want a dramatic look or you're going for something dark and and shadowy but for the most part you want people to look presentable and you want look you want the image to look quote unquote clean if you want it to look nice and so lighting is just something that I think a lot of people tend to cut corners with. We were talking earlier about why it's nice to have a light camera with you and having lighting can sometimes be heavier and like bulkier and so can be a bit of a problem. So that's where the world of LED lights which can use even your camera batteries are amazing. So if you're on a missions trip I would say buy a small LED light. It's not going to be amazing it's not gonna be huge just big Softbox or anything like that. But have a little bit of light so that you can at least improve a bad situation. So I mean I've been on a few missions trips where we've been in Uganda and we're filming people who are in these hopeless situation in these desperate situations and we're in their small you know their small home in a refugee camp and they don't want to go outside or they don't have the ability to go outside. And I have been so thankful that at least I brought some light because often these places have no electricity. It's dark. And if I didn't have lighting I would have had to say sorry I can't film anything inside the house here. It's just there's no windows or there's a tiny window it's dark and so you need to have something with you to at least help the situation. And I just think a lot of people would love to just feels that all I want to do is be able to you know take out my camera and I'll get everything I need and I'll look great. And the reality is you might be like get something but it's not going to look great. So this is more about just really encouraging people to look into some lighting options there are great three hundred dollar LED options on Amazon, B&H, and Adorama and there are there they are great options for people and you should have something in your church that can light well. And what I would like to say is I've also seen people who used like desk lamps and can work but try to avoid setting up desk lamps on a table somewhere does it to light someone. It makes you as the creative person maybe look like you don't know what you're doing. And so take some time do some research and invest a small amount on your lighting. Now if you have more money to spend and absolutely get a Softbox get a larger fluorescent or LED panel that's going to really make people look good. I try not to always push people towards you need to do the expensive thing because there's enough people out out there that are gonna tell you buy the most expensive all the time and that is not the solution. Yeah if you're a creative person you can create. You can find creative ways to use affordable resources to make a high quality product.

Joanna: And we're talking today about artificial lighting so not natural sunlight lighting but just as a just as an aside what is what is the best time of day? If you were gonna go outside to shoot because you didn't have the right lights what would be the best times of day to shoot outdoors?

James: You're always trying to push towards you know morning and evening and then not at sunset or sunrise. So you're just so trying to avoid like high noon sunshine right. It's not you're never going to make people look good but sometimes you have no option sometimes it's like well the person is appearing this video is only available at 12:00 noon so what do you do. So when it comes to lighting scenario like that get them in the shade for one unless it's a cloudy day. Get them in the shade and again have a light on you. If there's going to be a dominant light source you're still going to get shadows and so that's why you see even with higher end productions they will be outside somewhere. At sunset. I'm imagining a scenario like on a beach somewhere in there recording a pastor talking. They will still have lights set up on the shadow side their face to brighten that side up right. So even in full sun you will see the professionals in this industry still using lighting and that's because they know that they have to make it look good. And you still have to play with light to make the face not fully cast in shadows.

Joanna: Awesome. All right thanks so much James where can people find you?

James: They can find me on Instagram at visualmediachurch, you can check there for updates on what we're working on what we're doing.

Joanna: And I'm at Joannalafleur on Instagram.