Help. Any Ideas On How to Create This Kind of Flattering Lighting for Vlogging??

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by VideoNewbie, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. VideoNewbie macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    i really like the lighting the lighting (Jack) has here:

    and this girl (Michelle) here:

    now before anyone says "just use a 3 point light system"

    why is it that this other girl (Oxana) using a 3 point light system has a vastly inferior result:

    Oxana's video is sullen and drab whereas Jack and Michelle's video are way more vibrant and polished
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Michelle looks like she's in a room flooded with light... if you're making a video why not play with the light until it looks bright enough? I can't explain why the third one looks bad, it looks like raw ungraded footage to me plus if the lighting is decent you can make it way better by pulling up the highs in post.
  3. VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009

    is it really just a matter of "looking bright"?

    look at this guy (Tyler) for example:

    his video is pretty bright but the result is not as flattering as say this guy's lighting:

    i guess my question is how specifically can you create flattering lighting like michelle and jack and avoid videos that look like Oxana or Tyler
  4. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I've bought two of these kits... one back when they made them much higher quality and a second one when they started making them cheaper (warning: they're really cheap!). I can get results with this... just play around with them, it cost won't you much. If you already have a light setup then try experimenting with them and with lights that sit on top of the camera too.
  5. Unami, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014

    Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    the first one could be a softbox or a kino flo on the person and some lighting on the background and also use of existing lighting.

    michelle has probably one big softbox that lights up the whole scene.

    and with oxana, it might also be a softbox on her, but it's not set or positioned bright enough for her lit background. i don't know anything about her lighting kit, but she could probably use it better, if it is indeed a three point kit.

    you might very well produce lighting similar to michelle and jack with oxana's kit and vice versa.

    and that's it - you have to learn, how light works and how to use your lighting kit and existing light to your advantage to get the look you want - if you know that, you can achieve good lighting pretty cheap. one lamp, a reflector, some stands & some gels might be enough - some people even achieve great results by mostly blocking light strategically.

    you're probably looking for a big, soft keylight and something to control the background - you could even add a third light source for rim lighting to get even better results (something your examples have not done, except maybe jack - who has some redder light on his hair and right neck - but that might just be the same light that brightens the background )
  6. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Its not just the lights.. its the camera (lensing, format, fps, etc) and color correction.

    Lights are truly important during a shoot.. but there is alot to be said about a great camera.. and color correction/post work on a video...

    all are important factors.
  7. Small White Car, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014

    Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Welcome to the world of post-production!


    Oxana's lighting is just fine. She just stopped halfway and didn't punch up the video.

    It's true that you can't fix bad lighting in post. But you also can't take good lighting and just let it lie there. It's a 2-part process. Light well and then learn the color tools in your NLE.

    And not just the "brightness" slider. Usually there's ones that let you break it down by color. Isolate the reds and make the face look great. Then find the colors in the wall and play with the saturation to make it look good but not quite as good as the face. Don't be content to adjust the whole image with a single control. Really break it apart and fine tune it.

    It'll make all the difference in the world.

    (And don't forget that sharpening filter! Too much is horrible but just a little bit usually helps a lot.)

    Similarly, this is just a guess, but I suspect this is what this guy's footage looked like before it went through the computer.


    Which is honestly what you want to do. Flatter footage gives you more data to work with. Any time you push the brightness or saturation in the camera you're locking in choices that are harder to undo. A more 'boring' image is usually easier to correct in post. Do some experiments and you'll start to get the hang of it.
  8. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    Oxana: Good Lighting but a few bad techniques

    I think Oxana has the same 'lighting setup' as Michelle but here is what went wrong I suspect:


    1. She is using a consumer camera, probably in auto exposure mode. Notice that she is right up against white walls. There are no highlights and no dark areas in Oxana's frame thus the autoexposure is fooled and tries to turn the white background into middle grey, thus everything becomes muddy.

    But Small White Car is correct, she could have easily fixed this in post by upping the contrast.

    2. Notice also how the colors are vibrant in Michelle's video and the pink flowers on the backround in Oxana's are dull. She should have upped the saturation in post as well.

    -It's best if you can make the host stand out from the background. To achieve this, put some distance between the host and the background, 5 to 10 feet if possible. Then have the camera about 3 feet or so from the host. Not too much closer or lenses can begin distorting facial features. The more wide angle, the worse it is (Below 50mm on a full frame camera).

    4. It's also preferable to have a large sensor camera like a DSLR (Canon Rebel, 5d2, 5d3, 7d, Sony a7s, Panasonic Lumix is OK). By getting away from the background, and having a large sensor, you can get a shallow depth of field so the host is sharp and the background is soft. This is what Jack did.

    Oxana did the exact opposite. She shot with a small sensor camera with her back up against the wall so everything is in equal focus. Using a longer lens or zooming in will also help achieve host/background separation if you must use a small consumer video camera.

    5. COLOR: Michelle makes good use of color in the background, although if Oxana had popped her colors in post, the flowers would be nice too. Cool colors recede whereas Michelle's warmer fleshtones come forward. The color difference between the background and her face also helps separate them. Jack also has saturated blues, red, purples, etc. in his video, probably by upping the saturation in post.

    Oxana forgot to color correct her video, hence both her face and the background have a blue green tint which further melts them together. She probably didn't white balance the camera for the lights and once again, the auto iris sabotages her. Auto anything on your camera can and will bite you if you don't check it. Better to shoot in manual.
    Pay attention to:
    1. Focus
    2. Exposure
    3. White Balance (Iris)

    6. CONTRAST: The human eye likes contrast: an image that contains a pure white, a pure black, and everything in between. Michelle has the white boxes, a black dress and dark hair. Jack has the black stripes, poster, etc. and some highlight reflections, etc.

    Notice that even in the shadows in Oxana's hair, it's grey not black and her white backdrop reads as grey. A lack of contrast results in the audience's eye wandering around not knowing where to focus.

    If you squint, looking at all 3 videos, you will notice that Jack and Michelle's faces are the brightest things in the frame. This brings them forward. You generally want the host to be brightly lit and the background 1 or 2 stops darker so the face pops out.

    This is another reason to separate the host from the background by 5 to 10 feet. The light hitting you will drop off on the background, leaving it darker so it doesn't compete with your face. Jack does this well. Oxana, again, does the opposite.

    Sorry to pick on Oxana. The lights themselves are fine. You can actually copy her light set up. Just be a little more thorough in your camera settings and making color correction filter adjustments in editing. And separate yourself from the backdrop and you should get decent results.

    Good luck!
  9. jrodjared macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2008
  10. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Oxana is not using a traditional three point lighting setup.

    Traditionally it would be key, fill and rim/hair light.

    In her case all the lights are the same intensity offering a very flat diffused look. The lights look cheap therefore implying low quality bulbs with a low CRI value which results in poor colour rendition from the camera. Yes it probably needs some grading but out of the box the lights could look better. Equally there is a strong green tint to them.

    The first video looks to be sitting by a window or a large soft box replicating a window.

    If you want to emulate this look at home sit right in front of a window with your camera pointing towards you.

    If you look at the catchlight you can usually deduce where the light is coming from.

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