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3.2 Set Up the Lights

Proper positioning is key to getting the right look with your lights, and the setup will be a little different depending on what you want to achieve. In this lesson, you will learn how to position the lights to make you look your best in any live video chat or stream.

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3.2 Set Up the Lights

In this lesson, I'm gonna show you how to set up this exact lighting look with the parts that we just went over, and maybe a few extra parts that you can find at your local hardware store. So let's say, for example, that you wanted to do a very simple kind of stream with your desk here, a little laptop computer, and you wanted to set up the camera and make it look great for that. Well, here's how you would get the lights to look right. Right now, you are looking at this setup with only this one light. That's the only lighting in this space. There's no windows in here, and this room is painted black, because this is my studio here. So it's very, very dark. You're not gonna get a lot of light reflecting from this one light. So I can get the light to look right for me in this position on this camera right here, and we're gonna pretend for a second that this is the camera that I'm going to be doing my video stream on. You can see that it's a little bit tighter. As you kind of widen out the shot, it's going to be a little bit more difficult to place your lights, because you're gonna have to get them further back and further out. So with this one light, a really simple way to get this to look great is to bring it in close and get it out of the shot of that camera. Right now, my streaming camera is about six feet away from me. And that's doing a good job of kind of compressing this shot, it's making me look a little bit better, because the camera back at that distance allows me to kind of zoom in, and that's gonna compress the features of my face, and also show less of this background here, which is a good thing. But I need to find a good spot for this light. Now, I just kind of set it here, but I think it needs to be adjusted. So, what I'm looking for is for a little bit of dimensionality to the face. I don't want the same power of light on the right and the left cuz that's going to make my face look very flat. That's not super natural. What I want to see is just a little bit of a difference between the bright side and the darker side. So if this was my only light, or this is my brightest light, I'm gonna call this the key light. This is my main light. And any other kind of light that I either reflect onto my face or I shoot from another light source is going to be a fill light if it's coming from a different direction other than the main light. So this is my key light, and right now I can see that it's lighting most of this side of my face, but it's also getting pretty much all the way over to here and then this side right over here is pretty much in shadow. So, that is pretty close to how I might want it, but I need to adjust it a little bit because I can see the soft box in the monitor. So let me do that and see if I can find a better spot for it. I'm just gonna turn another little clamp light on here so you can see where I'm positioning the soft box, because black on black just is not very easy to see. So right now, I can see the corner of this in my shot. I'm just gonna try and move it up a little bit, [NOISE] and that looks like it's out of the shot of this camera here, which should be pretty good. Now, I can try and move it over, but eventually I'm going to get the light stand in the shot, so I want to get the light stand just out of the shot. It should be just about there. That looks pretty good. [NOISE] And I also want to get the height of this to where it's just out of the frame. Just gonna tip this so I can see the light a little bit better. Cool. That looks pretty close, right there. So that looks pretty good. I'm getting a nice amount of light on my face. The exposure looks okay. Now, if I wanted to fill in this side of my face, I have a couple of options. A very simple option is to just take the light that's coming from this light source, and just bounce it back on me. Because not all of the light from this light source is hitting me. Some of it's going over here, so we can see my hand. And if I put a reflector just out of the frame of this camera, right, so just like right here, I can take this light that's hitting my hand and bounce it back to my face. And I was using a reflector before. That's what this white disk is here. And so, I can use this in a different way to bounce the light back on this side of my face. Let me show you how to do that. Now, this is a five-in-one collapsible reflector. It has a diffusion material in the middle. It has a silver side, a black side, a gold side, and a white side. [NOISE] The silver side and the white side are very good for reflecting without changing the color. But the white side just doesn't have a whole lot of punch, because this light is not super bright the white side's not gonna get it done. So I'm gonna switch it over to the silver side, and I'm just gonna take a little clamp here and clamp it to another light stand. Now, you could clamp this to, pretty much anything. I don't have a whole lot here to clamp this to. So, I'm gonna use a light stand. And again, all I'm really looking for is this to be out of the shot of this camera. So, you can see, if I get this turned just the right way, I think this actually has to be just a hair higher. There we go. And if I get this turned just right, it's actually bouncing a pretty good amount of light back on this side of my face. So this is without. This is with it back. So, that's going to help to fill in the shadows on this side of my face. I don't necessarily need another light, although I could use another soft box on that side of my face. I don't really have to, though. I can get away with using a reflector just like this. Now what about the rest of the room? Well, [LAUGH] in this particular case, it's pretty dark because all of the walls in here are painted black and there are no windows. I don't have a lot of other ambient light to deal with. If you did want to throw a little bit of light on the back wall, it's very easy to do. Basically, you can just take another one of those BlueMax lighting lamps, throw it in a hardware store clamp light, and just clamp it to something right behind where you're sitting. Let me show you what that looks like. So what I have here is a hardware store clamp light. I have a BlueMax 26-watt daylight balanced bulb in here. To the front, I have taped on a piece of diffusion filter made by Roscoe, and this is to basically spread the light out everywhere and make it a very broad, wide lighting source. And to attach this I could use a really short lighting stand or I can just clamp it right to the back of my chair here. In order to make sure the clamp holds very strong, because these clamping mechanisms are really not that great, I'm just gonna use a secondary clamp here to clamp on the other side like that. [NOISE] There. And now I can throw a little bit of light here on this back wall. Now we could get even more fancy. I could, say, take a light and point it back at me in the other direction to give me a little light under here. Let me show you what that looks like. So again, I'm gonna use another hardware store clamp light with a bulb and a secondary clamp, and I'm just gonna clamp this to a really short stand, but you can clamp it to anything that you want down here. And I can kind of position this right down here and then just point it up this way. This will kind of give me a little back illumination. Boom! A little highlight under the arms here. That's looking pretty nice. I can also take this light and move it a little bit further back, get it a little bit higher to give me a little edge light around the side here. You might like that. Let me show you how that looks. So you can see where the light is in this main camera here. I'm just gonna scooch this off to the side so that it's out of the shot from the secondary camera here. For my main streaming camera, just kinda point it to the side. So it's hard to see here. I'll move my fake wall. You can see. And so that's gonna give me a nice little edge light here on the side, right around here. A little edge light on the face here. So I wanna show you one other element that you may want to add. And as you may have noticed, I've moved things around just a little bit, because I want to use this lighting setup for the rest of the course. And I wanna show you one thing that I like to do. It's not necessary, but it works pretty well for this kind of situation where I'm wearing a dark shirt, I have kind of darker hair, and I have a darker background. So right now I still have the same elements. I have my 30 inch octobox here with my two BlueMax 26-watt daylight bulbs in there. My one reflector over here, my hardware store clamp light with a little piece of diffusion taped on the front and that's doing the background light. I don't have a side light because I'm going to use that clamp light to do something else. Here, again, is just another hardware store clamp light, and another BlueMax HD Daylight 26 Watt lamp in there. And what I want to do for this light is, I want to add a little light on my hair and my shoulders to help separate me from this background. So to do that I'm going to use one more light stand. Now, at this point I am using three light stands. I have one here, and you're gonna need at least one for the octobox, but for the reflector and the background light you might be able to clamp those to whatever you may have over here and on the floor. I mean, on the floor you could get just a cinder block and clamp the light to that and that will work just fine. Same thing for the reflector. You can find something to clamp that to, so you don't necessarily need three light stands, but they are pretty inexpensive, so not a huge deal. But for the hair light, I am going to use one more light stand. This time, I'm going to use the same kind of eight and a half foot light stand that I'm using for the octobox. I put a sand bag on this one leg. Normally, I like to put sandbags on all my light stands, but for this one, in particular, this is going to be very critical that I get a sandbag on this because to this light stand I'm going to add this 40 inch grip arm here. So this is called a grip arm. It's basically a 40 inch long five eighths inch tube that has been riveted to this thing right here which is a grip head. So I'm gonna put this on the light stand, and this is going to be very important that you use a reasonably heavy-duty light stand. Because one of those really cheap six-foot stands, this is not going to hold up so well. You're gonna attach to the top and it's probably going to snap off. So this is going to give me a little bit of a boom here. So to the end of this, I'm going to take my clamp light here, and clamp it right here and use my secondary clamp to just bite right on here. I'm actually gonna swap out this secondary clamp here because this doesn't have a ton of clamping power. It's a little bit worn out from old age, so I'm gonna grab one of these metal, A-spring clamps here, which, these have a lot more clamping power. I'm gonna take the power cord here. I have attached to this a velcro cable tie. And I like to just strap this to the boom. And I want to get this right above where my head is, and then slightly back. So, if my head is right about here, right? I basically want the light essentially right where it is but I want it behind me. If it's directly over me, I'm gonna get the light spilling down on my head here. That's gonna look kind of Frankensteinish. I don't want that. So I'm gonna pull this back a little bit and then I'm gonna get it up nice and high. Now, I'm gonna look at my secondary camera here, the one that's kinda set up for my streaming. And I wanna make sure that it's high enough so that I am not going to get flaring in the lens. So now, [COUGH] I have a nice little light here. And it's giving me a little separation here on my shoulders and my head. You can see I get a little sparkle in the hair and a little bit of light dancing in the shoulders, and that really helps to set me apart from this dark background here. Now, if I am having problems with flare here, and that can sometimes happen, I may need to improvise a little lens hood. So, I have a little piece of black industry tape here, it's like high-tech gaff tape, and I might be able to just put a piece of tape over this lens. Just to make a little lens hood. So with that little piece of tape there, I've cut out the flaring on this front camera there. And you can see that it does make quite a bit of difference on my shoulders and in my hair there. And this is the look that I personally like. I think this is a nice, professional look. I have my key light, my fill light, again I can make this more dramatic by just getting rid of the fill light here. If you want a little more contrast on this side of your face you can do that. Pretty easy to bounce back, and again you don't have to use a five-in-one reflector like this. You can use a craft store piece of white board that you spray paint silver. You could use a cardboard piece that you glue some aluminum foil on, the shiny side or the dull side. Lots of different options for bouncing. I wouldn't use a mirror because that's gonna be a little bit maybe harsh to look at, but you may find that it works fine for you. So you may have to experiment there. But I really like the hair light here, this is kind of my standard, three light setup. Fill light, hair light, background light. And then technically, this is four lights, because this acts as second light source here. So now that you know how to set up the lights to make it look great, the next thing to look at is camera settings, and that's coming up next.

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