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Shop to the Top part 2: Lighting

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

In this series, we’re sharing some of our favorite, affordable equipment we recommend using to make high-quality videos. We consider low price (<$50), medium price ($50 - 100), and high price (>$100) products. There’s an overwhelming number of amazing products on the market and by no means can we cover them all. We just want to give you a brief introduction into the world of video equipment so you can navigate it with confidence.

In this series we will cover:

  1. Microphones

  2. Lighting

  3. Cases & Tripods

Are there any gadgets you absolutely love? We want to hear about it! Share it with us by commenting below and let us know what is so awesome about it.

In a rush?

We feel you. Find a summary of the products discussed below.

  • Video LED Light Kit: 15 Watt 2 sets LED lights, come with full-body stands, dimmable bicolor LED light, good for full-body shots, high price.

  • LimoStudio Photography Photo Portrait Studio: 45W 3 compact fluorescent lights (CFL) with 2 full-body light stands and umbrellas and 1 shorter light stand, good for full-body shots, medium price.

  • iOgrapher Ring Light: 8 inches 24 Watt ring light, comes with a table stand, best for close-ups or upper body shots, medium price.

  • Neewer Ring Light Kit 18": 18 inches 55 Watt dimmable LED ring light, comes with a full-body stand, good for full-body shots, medium price.

  • Lumimuse 3 LED Light: Portable bright LED light, easily mounted onto a camera or tripod, best for close-ups or upper body shorts, low price.

Read on for more details on our choices and specific advice for your setup.

How to choose the right lighting?

We recommend shooting your videos in a space with natural light. Early morning and late afternoon are the most popular times to film given the softer, golden light. Suppose you don’t have enough natural light or you want consistent lighting throughout your videos (lighting can highly vary by day and time of day). In that case, you could buy an additional key light to brighten your shot and minimize shadows. The key light is your strongest light, positioned in front of you 45 degrees to the right or left. Experiment with different positioning and light setups to see what works best for you! There is no one size fits all.

It’s key that you avoid appearing shadowy or unlit. If you have the brightest light coming from behind, or you’ve placed a very bright light in your frame, you will appear dark. Instead, light yourself primarily from the front or sides, with the light positioned outside the video shot. Find a full professional lighting setup here. However, today, with high-quality cameras, some daylight and one additional key light should set you up nicely. If you want a full professional lighting set, this Video LED Light Kit is a great entry model. It includes adjustable and dimmable full-body light stands and two color options: white and yellow. A cheaper full lighting option would be the LimoStudio Photography Photo Portrait Studio. The downside is that they are more complex and challenging to set up, the lightbulbs can get very hot, and provide only one color and brightness level.

Filming close-ups?

If you are primarily filming close-ups or medium shots from the mid-torso up, a ring light is probably the way to go. This iOgrapher Ring Light is a good option that comes with a tripod stand and case. The tripod stand is for on a desk, so if you would like it to light the full body or be at eye height, an additional larger tripod is recommended. There are three lighting options: white, yellow, and warm white. There are larger ring light options for full-body shots, such as the very popular and highly rated (on Amazon) Neewer Ring Light Kit 18". The center of the ring gives the option to position your camera in the middle. Ring lights are also great if you have a small space. The kit provides white and orange light filters and a hot shoe mount (to connect the light to a camera or other accessory).

Need a portable light?

If you want to shoot at different locations and want a more portable light, the Lumimuse 3 LED Light is a good option. It’s small and easily fits into your bag. This light also comes with a hot shoe mount, enabling you to connect it directly to your tripod or another accessory. This light has three colored bright LEDs. Some people find this light too bright, so be aware that this light can be quite intense even though very small.

We'd love to hear about your favorite products! So let us know by commenting below. Also if you've got any questions or suggestions.

Note: We aren’t getting paid for these recommendations - we just like these products!

To read more in the series, navigate the links below: Part 1: Microphones


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