Looking at many of the videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites, it's often difficult to decide if the sound quality is worse than the lighting – or vice versa.
In an earlier article, I looked at simple ways the sound quality of a video can be raised, so now we'll discuss how to improve the visual appearance of the video with some simple lighting tricks.
Oftentimes, you will see videos shot without any thought to lighting, looking like they were videoed at the bottom of a mine shaft. That's a great pity, because it is a simple matter – and fun – to light your video properly. Nor does it have to be expensive, because you can use the new low energy light lamps, which are becoming all the rage. Before these were universally available, I used to use full spectrum natural color fluorescent lights. The problem is these are awkward to handle, being about five or six feet (150 – 180 cm) long. Now, being able to use these low energy lamps (actually tiny fluorescent lamps) means it's easier than ever to light your "set".
If you live in colder climates, you could use the sort of halogen work lamps construction workers use. These are very cheap and very effective, with one proviso: they heat up the room very quickly. So if you are shooting in a small room or in a hot climate, go for the cold running, low energy, fluorescent solution.
Of course, to get a half-decent result, you should be using a camcorder, which is becoming cheaper by the day. And basically all camcorders have a simple adjustment you can make which will lift the quality of any video shot under artificial light. It's called the "White Balance".
This is an essential part of preparing to video under any form of artificial light of which many people are unaware. Yet this simple adjustment will make an awesome difference to the picture quality of your video. It simply takes a shot of a piece of white paper held up by the talent, with your video lights switched on. You then carry out the white balance set-up, as detailed in your camera instructions. In essence, it gives the camera a reference point of what really is white, in that particular type of lighting, from which it can adjust all the colors in the spectrum and compensate for the changes in color any form of artificial light inevitably brings about.