Lights!

This week I thought I would share a little insight about video production that I gained from working for Hollywood and Madison Avenue for a number of years. Lights! Camera! Action!

A lighting diagram from Academy Award winning cinematographer, Roger Deakins.

A lighting diagram from Academy Award winning cinematographer, Roger Deakins.

The difference between the cinema and YouTube is lighting. Okay, there are other differences like wardrobe and make-up and set decoration, but good lighting is the most noticeable. Film cinematographers will spend hours lighting a scene. Watch the night scenes in almost any film and notice how the trees and buildings are all brilliantly lit against the night sky. Every interior light is on. Also notice how shiny the ground is. That’s because the crew wets it down with firehouses, even when there is no rain in the scene. Why? It just looks prettier reflecting the lights.

Most social videos on youtube are lit by the glow of a laptop screen. That’s good enough for amateur purposes. What if your company needs to look professional? You’ll need more lights than just a desk lamp, but not so many that you need to hire a 500KW generator and a crew of 20.

Documentary crews get by with a few small lights and bounce cards. But they still make their work look better than what you see on the web. That’s the kind of lighting we do at Skillman Video Group: simple, elegant, and fast. A simple three or four point lighting scheme not only makes your marketing video look professional, but you have to know how to get it just right. That can only come with practice. Check out some of our behind the scenes pictures on flickr to see our lighting setups in operation.