If you have any tips you would like to share with blog readers about the making of business video productions then please add to the comments or send them to us at email@example.com
To get things going I have added in some tips for people starting out who have little or no budget but still want to give things a go. I am all for that.
Here, I am going to look at lighting as it can make a big difference but it doesn’t have to be a big budget. Just doing these few simple things can really make your video look like it was shot with a really good camera.
Generally you want to keep your light level up but the trick is to work within a certain range. Too bright and everything gets washed out too much. Too dark and you get a grainy image without much colour.
Modern cameras are fantstic at handling low light but still there are times when you need to try and get a bit of light on the face of the subject.
A great option is to try to use natural light so consider filming outside or if indoors try to get close to the source of light like a window. Be aware that day light can be a little blue and give a cold feeling to your video so you might have to think about your white balance settings. Try to get the subject as close to the source of natural light as possible. Dont sit a subject directly in front of bright window as you will get a silhouette. Try to position the subject so the light through the window drops on to them face on or slightly at a 45 degree angle.
Depending on how bright it is, you may then find you get a shadow where the light is not falling on to the subject. This could provide quite a nice effect but if you dont want shadows then you may find you can use a reflector to bounce some of that light back on to the subjects face to even out the light and avoid shadows on the face. I will talk about reflectors in a different tips page.
Generally too much light directed at the subject creates harsh shadows so you either need to keep the subject away from any background walls or you need to soften the light by either finding a way to point the light away from the subject or find a way of diffusing the light.
Get the most out of your camera.
Cameras do a pretty good job on automatic settings but if your camera has manual Iris controls then you could look to open up the Iris as this will allow more light in to the camera. You might find this creates too much noise in the picture (lots of tiny dots across the image like you might get on a badly tuned tv program). When this happens you just need to try and adjust the settings to get the best results.
On board camera lights.
Not ideal. I do use them for interviews but you have to be careful as they sit on your camera, draining battery power, over a distance in a dark space they have all the strength of a decrepit glowworm. but if you get too close to a subjects face they blast them with head on light, which flattens rather than flatters your subject and creates big shadows over the rest of your picture.
Battery powered / portable lights
If you dont have access to mains power and you need something more flexible than a light on top of your camera then look at something like a hand basher (I know, a strange name). You light is powered by a really heavy battery belt and is limited in how long it will work for (45 – 60 mins is fairly typical). You can hand hold them or fix to a tripod if your working on your own. Don’t leave then on any longer than you need to so you can conserve power
Now for the big lights. Proper big lights like the pros use. Remember our budget (or lack of budget) here so don’t buy ‘em, rent ‘em.
Mains powered lights
The obvious thing would be to try and put as many lights and lamps on in the room as possible to increase the room’s overall light level. Even a desktop angle lamp can throw a good deal of light on to a subject but you will need to play with the distance you place it from the subject.
Hope these help you get started. Lighting does not need to be expensive. You can probably hire the lights listed above for around £15 and £30 per day. Dont forget that reflector too. If you have plenty of nice natural light you can use the reflector to bounce light on to your subject and it doesnt have to cost much either.
If you have any experience of do it yourself approaches or in the use of the light described above that could be useful to know then please add your comments. Good luck