Posted on 6 Comments

Izzy Video 171 – Dramatic Lighting

Izzy Video 171

How do you create dramatic lighting? And how do you light for video in a small room?

This video will answer these questions. In the tutorial, I show you the tools and techniques to create high-contrast, dramatic lighting. And the great thing about this technique is that it’s ideal for shooting in a small room.

If you need to shoot interview-style videos in a small room, you’ll likely find this tutorial helpful.

And the results can be visually awesome.

This video is available to members only.

You can click here to watch the trailer.

If you like this tutorial and want access to more than 160 other video tutorials like it, you should learn about an Izzy Video Membership.

Posted on 9 Comments

How to Turn a Hard Light into a Soft Light: An Important Video Lighting Technique

Video shooters benefit from knowing how to turn a hard light into a soft light, because most people look best under a soft light source. If you’re lighting a person, you’ll notice they look quite different depending on whether they’re under a hard light or a soft light. Here are the five most common ways that I turn a hard light into a soft light. Continue reading How to Turn a Hard Light into a Soft Light: An Important Video Lighting Technique

Posted on 14 Comments

Three Tips for Shooting Video Outdoors

Cristina at the castle

Do you like to shoot video outdoors? I do. The sunlight looks amazing, especially in the morning and evening.

I could give you many tips for shooting video outdoors, maybe enough to fill a book. But in this article, my goal is to give you three big tips that will dramatically improve the quality of video you shoot outdoors.

By the way, I’m going to assume that you’re shooting video of a person. (The tips would be slightly different if you were shooting video of a building, for example.)

Here we go…

Tip #1

Place the subject between you and the sun. This will light your subject from their back. That’s why the subject is said to be “backlit.”

Why put the sun behind them? A few things happen when you do this…

Your subject gets rimmed by a halo of light. This creates a bright line that separates your subject from the background. Because it appears to be separate, it also layers your subject in front of the background elements, emphasizing the 3D nature of the world — even though the video image itself is a 2D image.

Backlighting also emphasizes your subject’s form. If there is something important about their form that you want to emphasize (pregnancy, cowboy hat, unique nose. etc.), you can use the rim light to emphasize the characteristic.

Also, backlighting places their front in shadow which creates a more dramatic look. This is a good tip in and of itself — if you want more dramatic lighting, place the shadow toward the camera.

Tip #2

Blur out the background behind your subject.

Zoom in on your subject and use a wide aperture so you get a shallow depth of field. People ask me all the time how to do this, and it’s very simple. To get a shallow depth of field requires two things:

  1. A long focal length. If you have a zoom lens, then move it toward telephoto.
  2. A wide aperture (low F-stop, wide iris).

If you open the aperture and zoom in, you’ll get a beautifully shallow depth of field and that will create a blurry background.

Tip #3

It’s possible that your subject won’t stay in one place, so…

Use a fluid-head tripod to follow your subject with a smooth movement. Try to emphasize either tilting up and down, or panning back and forth. My personal preference is to try not to mix them. Either I’m tilting or panning, not doing both (usually).

One bonus tip about using a fluid head tripod: If you have the ability to adjust the resistance, turn it up very high. If you’re like me, you might find you get smoother movements with the resistance turned up. It looks better when you ease into the pan or tilt, and the extra resistance helps create that effect.

Bonus Tip #4

The best time to do backlighting is when the sun is at a 45 degree angle in the sky. If the sun is too low, the light shines directly into the lens, creating lens flare and reducing the contrast in your image.

If the sun is too high in the sky, the light falls too much on their shoulders and head. Also, it creates deep shadows in the subject’s eyes. This might not be the look you want.

I could say a lot more about shooting video outdoors, but these tips should help make a big impact in the quality of your video.

As always, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and any ideas you have. Please give me your thoughts in the comments…

* Photo by Florin Draghici
Posted on 3 Comments

Izzy Video 166 – How to Shoot Video in Low Light Situations

Izzy Video 166

When you shoot video in low light situations, the results can be very frustrating. You’ll find the image is full of noise, particularly in the shadows. The overall look is muted, under-saturated, and flat. Sometimes the image looks soft.

Yet we see examples of great-looking low light shots in television and movies all the time. How do they get those shots?

This tutorial will answer that question. In it, I show you the seven keys to shooting video in low-light situations.

This video is available to members only.

You can click here to watch the trailer.

If you like this tutorial and want access to more than 150 other video tutorials like it, you should learn about an Izzy Video Membership.

Posted on Leave a comment

Izzy Video 161 – Diffusion Panel Comparisons

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this video.

When it comes to controlling light outdoors, the main tools are reflectors, nets, and diffusion panels. How do you know what level of diffusion to use? First you have to know the effect of using different levels. This video tutorial will show you exactly what kind of effect you can get.

This is a members-only edition of Izzy Video.

You can download the trailer here.

If you’re new to Izzy Video, you should watch some of the free videos so you can see if it might make sense for you to become a member.

Posted on 3 Comments

Izzy Video 141 – Tungsten, Fluorescent, HMI, and LED Lights for Video

Izzy Video 141 - Tungsten, Fluorescent, HMI, and LED Lights for Video

When you start to dig into video, eventually you begin looking to purchase some artificial lights. This can be quite a decision for a couple reasons: 1) They’re very expensive, and 2) There are many, many options.

In this week’s video tutorial, I review several different types of lights, giving my thoughts on each. I show you an example of the kind of tungsten light I use for key and fill lights. I also show you popular fluorescent lights, an HMI light, and even an LED light. LED lights are all the rage right now, but I’ve got a couple problems with them, which you’ll see in this video.

This video is available to Izzy Video member only.

Posted on Leave a comment

Izzy Video 134 – How to Use Contrast Ratios [Members Show]

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Previously I showed you how to use a light meter to set a proper exposure for your subject. In this installment of Izzy Video, I demonstrate how to use a light meter to deliberately create contrast ratios on your lighting. This is one of the most fundamental ways of creating specific ‘looks’ in your video, and this episode will make it easy for you.

Also, I added a section that delves into F-Stops, how they work, what they do, and how one relates to another one. If F-Stops have ever been confusing to you, I believe you’ll find this section helpful.

Become an Izzy Video Member

Want more? Izzy Video Members get access to the complete collection of Izzy Video Tutorials. Please follow this link for more details on becoming an Izzy Video Member.

Want to automatically receive all the free shows as they’re released?

Subscribe to the free version of Izzy Video in iTunes, and have this episode plus future free episodes delivered to your computer by clicking on the following link:

Free Izzy Video Tutorials in iTunes

You can download the Quicktime version of the episode here.

Posted on 2 Comments

Izzy Video 130 – How to Light a Background for Video

Izzy Video 130 - How to Light a Background for Video

In past episodes of Izzy Video, I’ve spent a lot of time going over the concepts of lighting. What are the best ways to light a face? How do you position the lights? What kinds of lights do you use? That’s great information to know, but there’s something else that shows up in nearly every frame of video, and it certainly deserves some attention.

In this week’s tutorial I show you how to light a background for video. This is just the first part. There will be more to come, but this does a good job of showing you the fundamental information you need to know to light a background — especially if you’re just dealing with a wall, paper, or fabric — in other words, a flat surface that you need to make more visually interesting.

If you have questions or comments about this subject, please feel free to leave them in the Comments of this post.

This week’s video is for Izzy Video Members only. If you’d like to learn more about an Izzy Video Membership, please follow this link.

Posted on 8 Comments

Izzy Video 126 – How to Darken Your Background Outdoors

Izzy Video 129 - How to Darken Your Background Outdoors

In this video tutorial, I demonstrate the final tool I recommend as part of your outdoor lighting gear. It’s a black net. You can use a black net for a lot of things, but it’s an excellent tool to cut the light in a background. In this video, you’ll see how I use an 8×8 Scrim Jim with a double black net to darken the background behind the subject. This is the last lighting control tutorial I have planned for the “Shooting Outdoors” series. More on shooting outdoors is still to come, but not on lighting.

This video is archived in the members-only area.

Also, if you’re interested in the live workshop I’m doing on April 17th, 2009, you can get the details here.

If you’re not an Izzy Video member, you might want to check out how it works so you can see the rest of the videos in the “Shooting Outdoors” series, along with more than 100 other videos. Members get more. A lot more.

Posted on 1 Comment

Izzy Video 122 – How to Shoot Video Outdoors, Part 2

Izzy Video 122 - How to Shoot Video Outdoors, Part 2

As promised, this is the second video in a series I’m producing on how to shoot video outdoors. In this installment I introduce you to another critical tool for outdoor lighting. It’s the old reliable reflector. Additionally I show different types of reflectors and review the advantages and disadvantages of them. Also, I show how the reflector changes the image.

This installment of Izzy Video is only available to members. If you’d like to learn about becoming an Izzy Video member, please follow this link.

Also, did you notice that I added a Products and Services link to the navigation menu? If you’ve been wondering if I’d be willing to help with a project you’re working on, please check out that page to see my services and rates.