How To Light Your Video (3 Easy Set-Ups)

Video Transcription

In this video, you will learn how to use lighting properly when shooting your video content!

Your lighting setup is a super important part of your video production and something that a lot of content creators tend to overlook. The thing about lighting is, when it’s done well, no one will ever notice. Done badly, and it can be all that people notice.

To help you get it right, I’m going to be sharing with you the top 3 simple lighting setups that we use here at Spiel, and how you can build them. I’ll also gonna be recommending some of our favourite lighting equipment for different budget ranges. By the end of this video, you’ll be able to light your videos like a pro!

Welcome, I’m Jess.

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To start with, let’s go through the 3 main lighting set ups that you need to be aware of…

3-point lighting

Firstly, there is 3-point lighting.

When it comes to lighting set ups, you’ll find that 3-point lighting is one of the most simple and effective set ups you can use.

As you probably guessed, it involves using three different light sources to light the subject of your video: a key light, fill light, and a backlight.

The key light is the most important and strongest light in this setup and will provide most of the light for the shot.

The fill light is there to fill in the shadows cast by the light of the key light. It’s a much softer light— around half the intensity of the key light.

The backlight is there to add depth to the scene by providing a soft glow behind the subject.

If you’re on a tight budget, the back light is optional. You can get by with a 2-point lighting setup with just a fill light and a key light.

Now, let’s move onto our second lighting setup.

Outdoor lighting

If you plan on shooting your videos outdoors, you can use the natural light from the sun to light your shots.

There are a few distinct advantages of using natural lighting, like the fact that It’s free and it’s stylistic. During early morning just as the sun is rising and late evening just before it sets, natural light from the sun is softer than the more harsher afternoon sun. And if caught right, looks really elegant. These times of the day are actually so popular with professional filmmakers that they have been dubbed as the ‘golden hours’.

The most important drawback with natural light on the other hand is that it is inconsistent, and even slight changes in the weather can lead to inconsistencies in your lighting and cast shadows.

To try to minimise inconsistencies in natural lighting, you can mimic the 3-point lighting setup we already talked about using different equipment. The sun can be your key light, and you can position reflectors on the other side and behind your subject to function as fill and back lights.

Soft light is more flattering than hard light so, when you’re shooting outdoors, try to film on an overcast day or during the golden hours, and use large reflectors. This all helps to soften the light.

So if you’re shooting outdoors – take this into account.

Clamshell lighting

A final lighting setup worth knowing about is ‘clamshell lighting’. This type of lighting is characterised by very soft light with faint shadows and lovely catchlights. It’s most commonly used by portrait photographers because it’s great for highlighting and accentuating the subject’s facial features, as well as providing a soft glow to images. 

Although this type of lighting is a firm favourite amongst photographers, it can also work really well for shooting videos. If you’re looking to create a piece-to-camera set-up, clamshell lighting can be a great option – it produces excellent results for an affordable price.

It’s kind of like a 2-point lighting setup, but with a few important differences. For example, the lights used in Clamshell lighting are typically blue lights paired with reflector umbrellas or cards. 

It’s also set up a little differently. Your key light is directly in front of and pointing down at your subject at a 45-degree angle, while your fill light is directly in front of and pointing up at your subject at the same angle. It’s set out like an open clamshell, or a crocodile mouth.

Then, you can enhance or direct the light as you see fit by using a reflector umbrella or card to create different lighting looks.

I’d recommend using soft boxes as the light sources for both your fill and key light to create a nice glow effect.

Now that you know the 3 lighting set ups let’s move on to…

The Best Lighting Equipment

You don’t need a Hollywood-budget to achieve Hollywood-quality lighting – it’s possible to build your own awesome lighting setup on any budget.

That being said, the more you’re willing to spend, the better the results you’ll be able to achieve. Here are my personal recommendations on the equipment to use, based on different price ranges.

If you’re working with a large budget, you can get yourself very professional, studio-quality equipment for around 2 to 3,000 dollars.

I’d recommend the Arri 650 Light Kit, which includes everything you need for a 3-point lighting setup, including three 650-watt Tungsten lights, filters, barn doors, and other accessories.

High-end equipment like this is essential for professional video production and filmmaking but, if you’re more of a casual hobbyist, or you’re looking for a basic YouTube setup, you probably don’t need to spend this much.

If you’ve got a more mid-range budget, I would recommend looking at kits in the range of $100-$500. You can find some pretty good ones that offer a balance of quality and affordability.

In this price range, I’d recommend StudioFx’s three-point softbox kit for most filmmakers as it includes everything you need for a great, versatile setup. If you’re a beauty or makeup vlogger or brand, I’d recommend Stellar’s ring light kit instead. Ring lights are well-suited to beauty vloggers as they completely eliminate shadows and produces a pleasing ‘halo catchlight’ in the subject’s eyes.

If you don’t have a big budget, you can still build a great lighting setup for under $100 that will do the job. For less than $50, you can get a 3-point umbrella lighting kit complete with bulbs, stands, diffusers, umbrellas, and other accessories from Fancierstudio.

As this kit comes complete with umbrella reflectors, it can help you to build a functional clamshell lighting set-up for under $50.

There you have it. Now you know exactly how to light your videos and create a professional lighting setup. If you feel like this video was helpful, make sure you hit the like button and subscribe for more top video marketing tips.

Which of the three lighting setups do you plan on using for your videos and why? Let me know in the comment section below! Or, if you have any other questions about video lighting, ask away! I love hearing from you guys and I’ll do my best to answer.

For more help with your video production you can also get in touch with spiel.  Just head on over to and get in touch.

Thanks for watching!