How to Make Amateur Videos Look Professional
There are a lot of elements that go into making a video look good. But there is one thing above all else that takes a vlog from amateur to professional. This is not the first time I've said it, and it won't be the last. The number one thing your next video needs is good lighting. Here are our three tips for using lighting to make your vlog videos look amazing.
1) Your subject should be more lit than your background
A typical room in your house has lights placed throughout to give the room an even lighting. When you turn on your room lights and start filming, the camera thinks the background is just as important as the subject (aka you). Something that looks good in three dimensional space now suddenly looks cluttered and undefined in a two dimensional image. While you don't want any weird shadows behind you, it's important that the majority of the lighting is focused on you. Ring lights are perfect for this. Because they aren't very strong, ring lights only brighten the subject directly in front of them. With a darker background, a well-lit subject is eye popping.
2) Soft lighting is "Model Lighting"
I once had a client ask me to use "Model Lights" on her. You know, the type of lighting models use to look flawless in their photos (spoiler alert: a lot of that is Photoshop; but that's for a different blog post). The lighting she was talking about was that gorgeous soft light that seems to grace everything it touches. Soft light is the difference between a beautiful glow and harsh shadows. This is why professionals use those giant softboxes over their lights when they film interviews. If you don't have a softbox, try hanging an opaque shower liner in front of your light source (be careful it doesn't touch it and melt!). You can also experiment with bouncing your light off of a wall or the ceiling instead of having it pointed directly at you.
3) Go au naturale
Sometimes less is best. Turn off the lights in your room, sit by a window, and open the blinds. Filming with just natural light can be an easy way to get that professional look. A cloudy day provides plenty of soft light. By turning off the rest of the lights in your room, you ensure that you're more lit than your background. Plus, if you're only using daylight to film with, you don't have to worry about different light colors on screen.
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