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Wistia: The Down-and-Dirty Do-It-Yourself Lighting Kit

June 02, 2015 by Chuck Baker

The kindred spirits at video hosting site Wistia provide a lot of learning material for video production and video marketing strategies, giving their users a boost at any level from novice to those with years of experience.  In this video and accompanying article, Chris Lavigne of Wistia covers putting together an effective Do-It-Yourself lighting kit for less than $100, and the basics of good lighting techniques.  In step-by-step sequences, see exactly how proper placement affects the look of the video you are shooting, first in an open environment such as a room, and then against a flat background.  This is very clear and concise how-to on lighting for beginning video producers is one of the best we’ve ever seen.

Have a look at the video and article:  The Down and Dirty Lighting Kit … and then pop back here for  a couple more tips below.

Our Notes:

The choice of scoop lights also helps with close-ups. If you intend to zoom in on the subject, round lights make round highlights in the eyes, so you don’t end up with the distraction of some odd-shaped highlights from a reflected lighting rig in your subject’s eyes.

With the chalkboard background used in the video, the scoop light without the diffusion paper creates a “halo” background that can make the subject seem to “pop” out of the background.  Other good versions of this effect are seen in some of the sample clips within the video.  However, if you will be shooting against a green screen background for use with a virtual set or for later compositing, you will want to make adjustments to the backlighting to ensure a more even and diffuse lighting on the background.  There may also be times when you would prefer this “even lighting” effect on a standard backdrop rather than the halo background lighting.

Chris notes that getting a bit of distance from the background was important, as one element of separating the subject from the background, and this is just as important when the background is a green screen.  You may need to experiment with distance if you need to produce specific lighting effects on the subject without affecting the lighting of either a standard background or a green screen.

We cover this for shooting against a green screen in our article:

Lighting Your Green Screen Subjects to Blend with the Intended Background.

Other Tips we’ve shared from Wistia:

Wistia: Conversation with Sarah Green on Conducting Great Interviews


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