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3.1 Create Your Video Lighting Rig

Even with a camera that looks much better than a webcam, you still need to think about lighting. Whether you want to do YouTube live streaming or make a good impression in a Zoom meeting, getting the lighting right is essential. In this quick lighting tutorial, you will learn how to build a simple, inexpensive lighting rig that doesn't take up a lot of space!

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3.1 Create Your Video Lighting Rig

Even with a camera set up that looks much better than a web cam you still need to think about lighting. In this lesson you're going to learn to build a simple, inexpensive lighting rig that doesn't take up a lot of space. Now I could talk for hours about lighting and all the different options out there, but what I want to do here is tell you what I know is going to work very well. And that is a daylight balanced soft box. This is going to be the best solution for most people. Now, you could branch out from here and you can get creative and experiment all you want. But I know that this is going to work for most of you out there. So let me show you how to put something like this together. So I mentioned daylight. What's the deal with daylight color? Well, your camera is likely going to have two presets that you can be sure are going to look great with a different color temperature of light. You're going to have a daylight preset and a tungsten color preset. I'm fairly confident that almost all cameras that you are ever going to use are going to have at least those two. Now of those two, daylight I think is the most versatile. Because if you are ever shooting during the day, and you have a window in your space and there is sunlight or skylight or light from the outside coming in, that is daylight colored light. And you want to be able to match that. What you don't wan is to use a light source that is much more yellow. If you do, and you set your cameras white balance for lets say tungsten, you are going to look okay but the light coming in from the outside is going to look like alien, blue light. So I think it's best to stick with day light color lights so you can match whenever you're in a space that has a window. Now it's best to kind of control the lighting and block all the light coming in from the window but sometimes you just can't. So daylight colored lights are the way to go. When it comes to daylight colored artificial lighting sources, you basically have two options, LED and CFL. I would recommend going with CFL lamps, lamps that look like these at the moment. I'm gonna tell you where to get the best-looking lamps for the best price. Because right now, although you can find LEDs that look fantastic, that have color that looks almost identical to sunlight, they are very expensive. Can we get the same color, or close to it, with a CFL? Yes, but first let's talk about what it means when I say, color and good color. What is that? Different kinds of artificial lighting render colors differently. Now that may sound confusing, but you've probably seen this. In the old days, five or six years ago, these type of CFLs, if you put them in your bathroom and you looked in the mirror, you would say, man I look sick. And that's true because they had a heck of a lot of green in the output and they had a very low, what's called color rendering index. Color rendering index is the ability for a lighting source to render a group of very specific colors. And then those colors are averaged to give you something called a color rendering index. The Sun renders everything perfectly. That is the standard, that's the gold standard for color. And that has a color rendering index of 100. Tungsten and halogen lights, almost all of them, also render colors perfectly. So they get a score of 100, a CRI of 100. LED and CFLs, most of them, especially the lights that you'll find at your local hardware store, fall far below that. All of them are around 80 to 85 CRI. Now that's perfectly fine for lighting up your house because your eye interprets colors a little bit differently than the camera does. And so to your eye a CRI of 85 looks pretty good. To the camera it doesn't look that great. It is probably going to look a little green. And that's problematic. At this point in time, I recommend that you check out two different types of CFLs. Blue Max HD lighting is a really good option. These are fairly inexpensive. These particular lamps are 26 watt, which is I think a little bit more than a 100 watt equivalent. They have a CRI that they say is 93. I'm guessing it's somewhere between 90 and 93 because I've seen two different ratings on two different sites. To my eye and to the camera, the color quality is pretty good. It's not the best CFLs that I've seen. The best CFLs that I've seen are made by Kino Flo, those are only available in a 26 watt version, and they're $25 a piece. So a light like this would cost $25. And for this setup, we're going to be using multiple bulbs. So that can get pretty expensive pretty quick. But I think these Bluemax HD lighting lamps look pretty good and that's what I'm going to use. So, for this set up you're going to need a few of these because we're going to modify the light. We're not just going to put this is a clamp light and stick it up there, although you could and get pretty good results. So at the very least you're gonna need two of these BlueMax HD 26 watt lamps. These run about $10 online USD plus shipping. To make them work with just one socket, you're also going to need this two to one socket adapter. We're also gonna be using a photography, umbrella, soft box. Or sometimes it's referred to as an octobox. I'm gonna show you that in a second. You're also going to need fairly sturdy light stand like I have right here. You can find this for about $30 a piece or sometimes you can find them as little as $50 a pair on Amazon. These are kinda the bare minimum of what I would set any light or really anything on. You also need some way to kinda adapt a traditional Edison light socket here, a twisty socket, to this light stand. So you need this very strangely named AC socket light stand adapter. We'll pop this guy on top of our light stand, put our lights in here, and then attach the umbrella to this. And that's gonna be the basis for our lighting setup. The next step is attaching this umbrella here. This is a 30-inch octabox softbox. So this is basically an umbrella or it's an umbrella shape. It's kind of got a parabolic shape so it's not your typical kind of walking-in-the-rain umbrella. It's much more curved, and this is actually good because I think it does a better job of kind of directing the light forward. And so these usually have a zipper on one of these flaps here that you can just put over your light stand. And than the shaft goes right in this hole here. Sometimes you need to loosen up the tilt adjustment to get these lined up. There we go, I like to slide these all the way back. And then very gently, just lock it in place. With a lot of this photo stuff, if you apply too much pressure to any of these knobs, you will break it. This socket stand adapter, you can find these online for around six, maybe eight, maybe $10. These are mostly plastic. They will work fine if you treat them nicely and you don't crank down on the knobs super tight. Basically, snug is good enough. So, this would be suitable for one lamp but we wanna use two lamps. Because on the front of this soft box we are going to put a diffuser. This is basically just a white piece of nylon fabric. And what this is going to do is take these two bulbs and turn it into one lighting source that's much, much, much larger. And this is going to make the shadows on your face much more pleasing. It's going to make you look nice. Now if you need more output you can always just take this off and use this as just kind of a giant reflector. The shadow quality will be not as nice because you'll get kind of a hard shadow. In fact if you use two bulbs you will get two shadows, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do if you need more light output. So, I'm going to screw into the socket here this two to one socket adapter and this socket adapter is unplugged and off. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to line up these lamps to be out of the way of the shaft here. You do want to be careful when you are threading in the lamps because it can be very easy to strip out the tiny little metal threads. In both this two to one adapter here and the socket stand adapter. So if I turn this on here, you might be able to hear a tiny bit of buzzing. That should go away in a minute or two as these warm up. These also get a good bit brighter as they warm up. Now you may notice that these look a little bit green, or the color isn't quite exact compared to these other lights that I'm using to light up me. That's because these bulbs are about 5,000 kelvin, and these other lights that I'm using to light up me and the rest of my studio here are more like 56 or 58,000 kelvin. So these are going to look a little bit warmer, they may look a tiny bit green on this particular camera. For some reason, they look a little green on my main camera here. The camera I'm gonna show you for doing the web streaming, they actually look just fine, and they don't look green at all. I'm doing to attack the diffuser panel. [SOUND] Which is just velcro, super easy. Because I have this front diffusion panel on this front panel here is acting as the actual light source. And because it's so big relative to me and my face It's going to produce really nice looking shadows. Shadows that are not very hard edged, that have a nice kind of gradation from the light part to the dark part, and that's going to be really nice. It's also going to be nice because it's so large that you may not have to use multiple light sources if you position it right. And that's something that we're gonna look at coming up in the next lesson.

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