In 2012 I made a goal to start making YouTube videos. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew the most important thing to do was to get started. Like anything that someone gets good at, they have to practice and practice and practice some more.
I get asked all the time about my set up – it allows me to shoot videos from overhead, giving a bird's eye view of the action on my craft table. Over the last couple years, I have gotten advice from fellow YouTubers, like Tanner Bell of A Little Craft In Your Day or Liz Hicks, attended conferences, and read blogs and searched out tutoriuals to learn how to shoot and edit my videos. They are still a work in progress but if you look at my first video and compare it to the videos I make now, there is a noticeable difference and evolution. The same will happen when you start and continue making craft videos – they will get better over time.
One of the biggest issues when filming craft videos is lighting so let's start there:
I have an issue with lighting in my current studio space. The tables are immediately under can lights which makes my camera rig cast a shadow on the table (like in this video) that was driving me nuts.
I don't have any windows that get good direct light (one faces north and the other faces north west) so it is already kind of a dark room in general.
The big kick in the pants was when a big website said they would love to work with me on videos but my lighting needed improvement. Argggh! I looked online for lights and since I have no idea what I was looking at, and the prices were all over the place, I got really overwhelmed. I talked to my friend Tanner Bell about this situation and got some great advice – he told me about a softbox lighting system he got on Amazon. I bought it right away (it is even more affordable now) and it has worked wonders! Here's what it looks like (click the photo to check it out in more detail):
After I got the lights, my lighting improved a lot. But I still had the shadow problem with my camera rig. I recently moved where I shoot videos to another table and removed the can light above the camera rig – problem solved! I also moved one of the softboxes to cast light from behind me and one to cast light from the opposite corner, in front of me.
I attended a session at NMX with Caleb Wojciki of fizzle.co where he shared about lighting and learning how to position the boxes to not get shadows. He also said you need 3 softboxes – some day I'll get another.
Here are some other quick tips I have collected over the years:
- 3 sources of light
- Try to use natural light, like a big window. You should face the window, not stand in front of it because you will cast a shadow on your project
- Position one light at 30 degrees from your left, the other light 45 degrees to the right of that, and keep them at 75% power
- Use a softbox or umbrella to diffuse the light so you don't get hard shadows
I hope this post helps you with lighting for your video shoots.
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