Internet Lighting Tips

February 3rd, 2008 – 8:58 pm


Life is short. We all need Great lighting 

Here are some simple tips to help you create fabulous lighting for your next internet production.

THE 5 P’s of production:
Plan, Plan, Plan, Plan, Plan.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Production

Always go to the location. If it’s an exterior shoot it makes good sense to go the day before at the same time to check out the lighting and setting. If you’re on set make sure the set is ready to be lit.

Make a shot list. Develop your lighting plan beforehand. Have plenty of tape stock ( if your camera uses tape), and charged batteries.  When you have enough charged batteries take an extra set.

A producer one said to me, “a great picture is mandatory…but lousy sound will f&*k it up every time. They’re absoultely right. Nothing can screw up a picture quicker than bad sound.

Great Pictures Need Great Sound.

If you have a separate sound department, wonderful!

If you’re doing an interview or wrap around, and sound is up to you – Be sure you get great sound. Always use headphones and monitor sound consistently.

Using camera mounted microphones.

Keep your subject close to the camera if you’re using on camera microphone.

Eliminate background noise as much as possible.  Always use an external microphone if available and make sure the microphone is out of the camera’s view.

Get the lighting right.

When Exterior,  Talent Placement is key!

Determine where the light is coming from. Remember we can’t move the sun…. so be clever about talent placement. Use a bounce card to fill your subject

Set your camera to match your shooting conditions. (tungsten, daylight, fluorescent, etc.)

Clear and steady.

Clear and Steady footage is the name of the game.

Unless you’re on a steadycam mount, use your camera’s image stabilization feature, for handheld shots. Use a tripod whenever possible. No tripod? Bend your arm comfortably against your body or lean against a solid surface to stabilize the shot…make sure the object you rely on for stabilization doesn’t move.

Get the story.

Think Master shot first. Establish the Location at the beginning of each scene.
The master will always work for the entire scene. A close up won’t always.

We’re story tellers so besure you can tell your story. Find images that tell the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Mix it up change locations and take shots from different angles and perspectives.

It’s in the Detail.

Look for details in the scene that help tell your story.

In addition the 5 P’s…there are the 5 W’s:

Does your footage answers the questions, who, what, when, where, and why.


Make sure all parts of your shot work together — the subject, background, color, and lighting. Frame off center makes for a more interesting shot.Make sure frame is clean.Don’t forget the background and keep the background simple.

A great background makes the shot more interesting, and helps propel the story. 
Always check to see there are no objects in the camera’s view, wires, stands, etc. We don’t want to come back with objects that look like they’re growing out of your subject. No one wants  a telephone pole all door knob coming out of talent’s head.

Get great shots.

Go for as much coverage as possible for each scene you film: close-up, medium, or wide.

Use an additional camera when possible to capture the same shot from different points of view. Always anticipate the action so you get the shots you need.

Never cut camera on the last word of dialog. Like a fine wine…let it breathe. It’s easier to edit. Candid shots make great inserts

Other notes:

Make your talent feel comfortable. Professional conduct counts bigAlways take a still camera. Good for promotion and advertising.Protect your recorded image. When you’re finished filming, take the tape out of the camera and put it in the “lock” mode. Always mark the tape roll.

Don’t Fix it in Post!

Sure post has saved everyone’s butt (including you know who) one time or another. But the great reality is let post do what they’re supposed to do… and not correct sloppy camera work.

I am not advocating “in the camera” manipulation of an image e.g. changing telemtery or shooting black and white…unless you are 100% certain that image is going to 1,000% stay in B+W.

Capture the best image you can with the tools and time you have.

You like less detail in a shot? Put it in with a filter. Much better than rolling off detail – especially if you like a more organic look.

Skin tone. Make it accurate. White Balance.

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