How to choose light for video recording?

Why a video light matters?

Choosing a suitable light for video recording is the first step to improve video quality. Brightness plays a significant role in video recording. Bad lighting can make the video mediocre while the good one can promote the level of the video. No matter how great the video content it is, without suitable light for video, it is hard for the audience to concentrate on the content.

The illumination of a film is one of the key factors that determine the story telling. It influences the mood of a scene and affects the audience’s emotions. Bright illumination creates a comparatively light-hearted atmosphere while a dark scene is usually connected with an oppressive mood. A professional video light conduces to the production of excellent video, allowing the users to control the light contrast of a scene, balance exposure, present details of a subject, and create the desired mood. Moreover, a good video light kit can help reduce editing time on dim scenes.

Four types of luminaire for video recording

According to the material of bulb, there are four main types of video lighting on the market.

1. Tungsten
Tungsten lamp is a powerful kind of incandescent lamp which are commonly used in houses and workplace. It produces high illumination. Meanwhile, the working temperature of it is much higher than that of a common incandescent. It used to be the dominant photosource for filmmaking, however, it is now gradually replaced by more efficient and more durable bulbs such as LED.

2. HMI
HMI is the abbreviation of hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide. It utilizes metal halide and mercury vapor to realize powerful illumination. The brightness of HMI can reach nearly four times that of the traditional incandescent bulb. It is often used to simulate the natural sunshine in indoor shooting. The cost of such fixture is so high that it is just suitable for professional filmmaking instead of ordinary video recording.

3. Fluorescent
Fluorescent lamp uses low-pressure mercury vapor to produce brightness. The intensity of fluorescent rivals HMI while it gives off less heat than tungsten and HMI. The main drawback of it is flicker that occurs sometimes.

4. LED
LED stands for light-emitting diode. It has high energy efficiency that is commonly used in video making. It is flicker-free and adjustable that it applies to various applications. It offers variable color temperature and illumination modes, allowing users to create various luminous effects according to needs. Nowadays, the price of it is coming down along with the improvement of technology. In general, with such excellent features, LED video light is a suitable option for both ordinary videomaking and filmmaking.

Chip on board (COB), which is composed of an array of LED chips on a substrate, is one of the most common luminaires for video recording. Featuring outstanding compactness and uniformity of brightness, COB light is applicable in outdoor and indoor shooting.
COLBOR CL100

Six factors to consider before purchasing a light

There are numerous luminaires on the market. Several factors need to be concerned before purchasing a light for video recording.

1. Lighting output
Intensity is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing the best video light for use. It is measured by the lumens. A fixture of high lumens can produce bright illumination. Besides, it is also important to check whether the brightness is adjustable because you may not always use the same illumination intensity in every scene.

2. Color temperature
Color temperature is measured in degrees of Kelvin(K). The higher the color temperature is, the cooler the light is. For instance, the flame of a candle is around 2000K and sunbeam is around 6000K. Cool light looks relatively blue while the warm one looks relatively yellow.

Choosing a light for video recording with suitable color temperature is important especially in a scene that requires multiple photosource as it influences the harmony of the ambient brightness. Generally speaking, choosing a luminaire with a wide temperature range is rational because it offers enough cool and warm brightness options to fit various needs. With a wide temperature range, users have more choices to create an ideal lumination effect.

3. CRI
CRI is the abbreviation of Color Rendering Index. It is a measurement of how realistic the colors look under artificial lighting in photography. It represents the capability of a fixture to reproduce the true colors of the object it lightens. On a scale of 0 to 100, the higher the color rendering index is, the more natural the brightness is. Generally, fixtures with more than 90 CRI can perform luminous effect close to the one of natural lighting. Fixture with 95+ CRI is preferred in professional video production.

Want to know more about CRI? Please see What's CRI meaning? Color rendering index explained

4. Noise
It is a significant feature to concern about since the noise may influence the video recording. High-power luminaires such as COB LED usually generate a lot of heat so that many of them are equipped with a cooling fan. The operation of the cooling fan may contribute to noise. Therefore, choosing a luminous equipment with low noise is crucial.

5. Battery capacity
The power solution of a luminaire in video determines the application versatility of it. For those who need to shoot outside for a long time, portable lights with large battery capacity are preferred.

6. Portability
Size and weight also matter because it determines the portability of the fixture  for video recording. For vloggers and common users, pocket light which features great portability is a good option in daily video recording. It is so lightweight that it can be carried around effortlessly. For more information about this portable fixture, see COLBOR PL Series.

Conclusion

The features mentioned above are not equally important. Knowing the basics of fixtures and your core needs make it easier to select the best lighting for video.