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Lighting for Video: Introduction and Light Output

Dave Bode

We kick off our Lighting for Video series with this intro to light types and understanding output!


Which light is right for your video shoot? How do you know how much output (or brightness) you need? How can you keep exposure consistent between shots?

Our Lighting for Video series is geared toward the professional video creator that’s looking to take their lighting knowledge and skills to the next level. In this first tutorial we take a look at how light output is measured and how to use this info for determining the right light for your shot.

We start off taking a look at light performance data from 3 professional lighting manufacturers. Each light has it’s own specifications on the throw distance, light diameter and illuminance (light output). Understanding these metrics will give you a good idea of how a light will perform.

But how do you ensure a proper exposure on-set? Next we’ll discuss a few tools that will aid in aligning you camera settings with your light setup for a proper exposure, as well as a simple formula for calculating how many foot candles (light intensity) are needed based on your camera settings.

Lastly, you’ll learn a few ways to reduce the output of different types of lights. It’s often preferential to have a light that’s too bright but dimmable, than having to have more lights with less output. Understanding the basics of lighting and how to quantifiably measure light output will ensure that you have consistent lighting and exposure between shots.

Stay tuned, as we’ll be adding more videos in our Lighting for Video series!