3 steps to perfect video lighting

Light is an integral part of our lives. Imagine for a moment a world without light: without streetlights, without screens and without stars. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But light is also very important when shooting videos. Finding the right lighting for your video really is an art. Nevertheless, we would like to explain to you step by step what you should pay attention to.

  1. What lighting is available for video sets?
  2. What should you look out for when buying lighting?
  3. How do you arrange the lighting for your video?

What lighting is available for video sets?

The sun. That will probably be the first thought that comes to your mind. Of course, it is the most obvious and at the same time even a free solution. But on closer inspection, it turns out to be very complicated to film with daylight. You are dependent on the time of day and the weather can also throw a spanner in the works. When the sun does shine, the light is sometimes so harsh that the shadows on the objects are too strong.

You soon realize that you can’t manage without additional lamps. You are probably wondering whether your own room lighting is sufficient? No, in many cases even this is not enough. As the light from ceiling lights comes from above, the person’s face is not fully illuminated and also casts shadows. The usual desk lamps or floor lamps that are available in an office or home are also only suitable to a limited extent. However, the biggest problem with them is the color temperature.

Do colors have a fever?

Your question is justified. How can we talk about temperatures when it comes to colors? Imagine a sunset in your mind’s eye: The warm rays of the sun glide over the smooth water; even if it were below freezing, the light would appear warm. Now take yourself back to your last visit to the dentist, think of the bright ceiling lights and the spotlight shining directly into your mouth. It is a cold light that is very bright, but illuminates everything precisely.

Specific tips on color temperature

It is also important to pay attention to the right color temperature for your video. Light that is too cold can appear very uncomfortable and sterile, while light that is too warm can create an unattractive yellow tint. In addition, all lamps or spotlights used should have the same color temperature to create a harmonious effect. The color temperature is specified in Kelvin. The sunset described has around 2000 Kelvin, which is clearly too low for your video recording. You should choose lamps that have at least 5500K, which looks the most natural as it corresponds to daylight.


What should you look out for when buying lighting?

You will quickly realize how many different lamps there are. The choice is huge! But here are the most important factors you should pay attention to:

Color temperature

As already mentioned, it is advisable to use lamps with a color temperature of over 5500 K. You will find the Kelvin specification on each lamp. There are also lamps that allow you to adjust the color temperature. However, these lamps are usually more expensive.

Soft spotlight

You probably have a desk lamp on your desk. This emits as much light as possible evenly to the front. However, such spotlights are not suitable for video recordings. You want to achieve an evenly illuminated image, which is possible with soft spotlights. These spotlights diffuse the light, creating a soft appearance.


Bear in mind that the spotlight must be fixed in a certain way. Think about which tripods you already have or make sure you buy a suitable mount.


Of course, the price range for lighting technology is enormous. You can get a spotlight for just a few euros, but you could also spend several hundred or even thousands of euros. Your budget and the aim of your shoot play a major role here. Nevertheless, you should not underestimate the importance of light in enhancing your video quality.


Another crucial question is how many spotlights are needed at all. The answer to this is: three. You may be asking yourself: “Why exactly three?” We will explain this to you in the following section.

How do you arrange the lighting for your video?

Now you have decided on spotlights. But the placement of the lighting for your video is also crucial. To explain this to you in more detail, I will go into a widespread application:

The three-point lighting

Let’s assume a movie set for a monologue in a studio setting. We therefore have an object that needs to be optimally illuminated. As you can see in the graphic, the camera is aimed directly at the person. Now imagine a clock face to help you memorize the angles.

Guide light

First, the guide light is set to four o’clock. This light is the brightest light source in the setting and should also shine the brightest. It should also illuminate the person slightly from above so that it looks like natural sunlight.

Fill light

The guiding light creates strong shadows on the person’s face, making facial expressions more difficult to recognize. To compensate for these shadows, a fill light is set up at eight o’clock. This light should also shine at a slight angle from above and should be weaker than the guide light. The shadows should only be softened and not completely eliminated. It is also advantageous if this light is more diffused than the guide light.

Tip: You can achieve this by sticking a sheet of transparent paper in front or by indirect lighting on a reflective surface.


To top it all off, a top light is set up. This light is used to make the person stand out from the background and sharpen the contours. To do this, set the third spotlight to ten o’clock, i.e. opposite the guide light. It should be aimed very obliquely at the person from above and should not be softened on purpose.

Now everything is ready for your video shoot!

Now your lighting is optimally set up and your video marketing can start! We have learned what light sources there are and why sunlight is not necessarily the best choice. That’s why we’ve looked at the different spotlight options together and you now know exactly what you should look out for when buying. Finally, you have learned how to position the selected lighting correctly to achieve optimum results.

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