Video Lighting you Need to Make Great Visuals

What type of video lighting makes for great visuals?

Light is one of the few constants of our daily lives;  it shows in different forms, colours and contexts. It is, in fact such a normal occurrence, that we rarely pay attention it.

But when making videos, using the right light is not as immediate as it seems. Catching the right light, or creating it artificially can easily become one of the biggest concerns -and challenges- we have to face.

One of the biggest struggles for video makers, is that video is a 2D medium that aspires to be 3D so that it can appear as realistic as possible.

The idea behind it, is that viewers tend to be drawn into products that are familiar to them. Thus,  “copying” reality (also in terms of lights) is very important when creating a video.

Tips and Tricks:

Setting up your lights correctly to achieve three dimensionality, is fundamental when filming a video that aims to be realistic.

There are many ways to recreate this three dimensionality; lens selection, set design, and how to light up subjects are just some examples.

In general, using light correctly can create depth and make your video more three dimensional and cinematic.

how to lights to show depth and three dimensionality
Use of neon lights to create the reflection in the water

Also, depending on where you position your light, the shadows will allow you to form different shapes and patterns on your subject.

An easy lighting trick, is to place the key light slightly above your subject and about 45 degrees from the camera and off to one side. This will put a strong  catch-light in your subject’s eyes, giving the subject that cinematic eye sparkle look.

Alternatively, you can use a strong catch-light to draw your viewers’ attention to the subject. If the subject of your scene is a person, this will also create a nice, flattering drop shadow on the face and underneath the chin that outlines the jaw which will help in creating dimension and depth.


Shadows are great to create dimension, but they can easily become a double edged sword if not used properly.

To show the use of shadows in old horror movies
Vincent Price, famous horror movie actor

If you place the light too high above the subject, you will create dark shadows around the eyes, below the nose and lips which could be very unflattering.

On the other hand, placing the light too low below the subject will highlight underneath the chin, the nostril and the eyebrow ridge, creating an unnatural and scary look.

This mostly happens because light sources do not naturally come from below us.

So, when lighting a scene, always observe the behaviour of lights and shadows on your subjects, and position the latter so that they will be complimented and used to their maximum potential.

By following all these tips and practicing, you will quickly notice the difference in your videos!

Do you want to know more about video making? Read our article on how to create a powerful video here or watch our Pro Tips series “Interview Like a Boss”.