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How Lighting Can Make or Break Your Video

How Lighting Can Make or Break Your Video

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Lighting is one of the most essential elements of any quality video. The right lighting can set the tone, mood and emotion for your viewers. It can also direct attention towards the subjects you want to highlight and away from ones you'd rather let fade into the background.

The most essential element

A video can be made without color, without sound and without movement, but it cannot exist without light. Light is the visual storyteller's most important medium, like a color palette to an artist. So paying close attention to the lighting of a set is essential to getting the results you want from a video.

Setting the Mood

One of the most important ways lighting can affect a video is by influencing the mood of the overall footage. The right lighting helps you to establish time and space and directs the viewer's attention toward what's most important to notice. A cheerful video of children playing will usually have bright, natural lighting to create a happy mood. But using that same type of lighting for a somber documentary-style video would create dissonance with the viewer, and make them unsure of whether they are supposed to feel cheerful or serious.

Inferior to the human eye

The human eye is an incredible organ, and cameras simply cannot pick up and process all the detail that the eye can see naturally. While we are used to our eyes adjusting to darkness to see detail and shadow, cameras need a bit of help in this department. The proper lighting is essential to picking up on the most important details of a set and creating comparable quality to what the human eye sees.

The time is worth it

There's no two ways about it, setting up lighting can take up a lot of valuable time on set. But although it can be one of the most time consuming elements to get right initially, the high-quality results are worth the careful consideration of lighting elements. Making changes to the lighting during filming can also save hours of edits in post-production trying to salvage a set that was not lit correctly the first time.