Lighting. Indoors and Outdoors

Oh the wonders of filming. There is so much good about the process but then on the other side there is so much bad. Not bad as in like a bad time but bad as in difficulty in certain situations. Something I’d like to talk about is filming indoors and outdoors. Everyone is doing one or the other all the time and they each come with their own challenges. Almost every time I shoot I have to always try to remember to account for something that I wasn’t exactly planning for.

When shooting indoors and outdoors you always need to keep lighting in mind. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting. It is actually the main thing to keep in mind because without the right light then the video you are trying to capture just wont come out like you might have envisioned.  When indoors you will probably always have some overhead house lights that are normally used just to light the rooms for every day occasions. Use the to your advantage if you can. However if they don’t fit your shot then you will definitely need to bring along some extra lights. Then you have to be thinking about what kinds of light you want to bring to get the shot you want. Do you want a cool light? Then bring some LEDs. A warm light? Grab a light that isn’t fluorescent. Then you have to decide which parts of the room you want to lights and the subjects that are being shown. If you want to light a large area then bring along a floodlight. If you just want to spot up a subject then bring along a spot light for that dramatic effect. It is very time consuming setting up lights and moving them all around from one area to another but it is definitely worth it when you looks at the video compared to if you were just using simple house lights.

Now for the great outdoors. There isn’t usually an outlet to plug in any extra lights out here. So you have to use what you can get which is basically the sunlight. Unless you want that bright sunlight in your shot I would always recommend shooting either in the shade, early morning, or around dusk. Something to keep in mind when you are filming outdoors is continuity. I say this because I have run into this problem many times. I will start shooting a project say in the middle of the day and I will finish more towards. And what I wasn’t thinking about is how it was getting darker as time passed. So I had different looking shots for different scene. This is a problem when it comes to my continuity.

With that being said back to avoiding the bright sunlight. I’m sure you have noticed that when the sunlight is on a subjects face, it is just far too over exposed and you cant see anything at all. This is why you want to try to avoid the sunlight. If you have an area where there is no way around the sun then I would suggest bringing along a deflector or something to block it from the subject or important parts of the scene. Just don’t make it too obvious that there is someone standing there blocking the light. Filming at night can also be quite the hassle. Some lenses can bring in enough light to make out subjects in the dark so you might have to invest in some battery powered light panels or be creative in making some way to light a shot.

There are many obstacles when filming. The most apparent is lighting. I have been trying to light shots perfectly for a few years now and I still feel like I need years more practice before I know what I’m really doing. I know the basics but would light to know some new lighting tricks for both indoor and outdoor shots.


Posted on October 31, 2013, in Productions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. For me, as a reader, your voice continues to become more and more distinctive.

    I like how you are working to develop and extend your role as a writer working for, and within, a particular community. (On a related note, I was glad to see how you received a ‘thanks’ from the blogger you interacted with…)

    I find, too, that you are writing with greater and greater clarity.

    Keep up the good work!

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