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Lighting for Video: Background Lights

Caleb Ward

Using background lights in your video interview setups is an easy way to make your talent pop.

In our ongoing series, Lighting for Video, we’re taking a look at different types of professional film/video lights and their subsequent accessories. In this video, we examine background lights and examine lighting examples from some documentaries that I have shot.

Background lights are a great way to make your entire scene much more dynamic. As stated in the video, you don’t simply want to throw a soft-box on the background. Try experimenting with color temperatures or gels, as different colors can drastically change the tone of your scene. Gels come in a wide assortment of sizes and prices but you should be able to pick up a variety pack for less than $40 on Amazon.

In the video I used a cookie to create a pattern on the background. You can make your own cookie by simply cutting out holes in some aluminum foil. However unlike a gel, a cookie isn’t attached to the light itself but rather sits on a stand in front of the light. This gives you the ability to adjust the sharpness and scatter of the pattern or design.

This was the 12th and final installment in our Lighting for Video Series. If you have any questions about lighting or tips to share with fellow filmmakers, please use the comments below.

Be sure to check out all the videos in our Lighting for Video tutorial series!