DIY Lighting for Video Tips + 8 Household Items You Can Use for Video Lighting

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In order to make your online courses and videos look their best, you need to know how to light them properly.

But what if you don’t have the money to invest in expensive lighting kits or a professional videographer?

If you’re on a budget, then you may want to consider DIY lighting for creating your next video.

In this guide, we’ll discuss DIY lighting for video using everyday objects. We’ll also cover some inexpensive lighting kits you can consider investing in even if your budget is small.

Stay tuned for more tips on video production!

Why is Lighting Important in a Video

Lighting has a major effect on video recording. Therefore, it is an essential part of any video production. It can help set the mood, create a certain atmosphere, and add production value.

Without proper lighting, your video will look flat, unappealing, and amateurish. Without proper lighting, we would not be able to capture great images or videos.

Creating a video with poor lighting can result in fewer people watching your video all the way to the end if they even watch much of it at all.

There are a few things to keep in mind when lighting your video:

  • The quality of light: Natural light is always best, but if you’re shooting indoors you’ll need to rely on artificial lighting. Be sure to avoid harsh fluorescent lights, which can give your video a greenish tint.
  • The direction of light: Light should be coming from the side or behind the camera, not directly in front of it. This will help to avoid creating shadows on the face of the person being filmed.
  • The intensity of light: too much light can wash out the colors in your video, while too little light will make it look dark and dingy. Be sure to experiment with different lighting setups to find the perfect balance.

Create Mood and Atmosphere

Lighting adds atmosphere to a scene. For example, if you’re shooting a romantic scene, you might want to use soft, diffused lighting to create a dreamy look.

Or if you’re filming a suspenseful scene, you might want to use shadows and backlighting to add an ominous feeling. Motivated lighting is usually used in horror movies or thrillers. This is often done with a lantern.

Light creates mood and tone. Think about the mood you want to create with your video. Lighting is also important for creating consistency across your work.

What’s in a Video Lighting Kit?

Lighting kits can cost anywhere between $100 and $1,000+ depending on how many different kinds of lights you want to include. When it comes to video lighting, there are a few essentials every kit should include:

  • You need a light stand. This will help to keep your light in place and provide support if you need to position the light overhead.
  • You need at least one light source. This can be a traditional incandescent light bulb or a more modern LED light.
  • In addition, you need some kind of diffuser. This will help to soften the light and prevent harsh shadows.
  • You may also want to consider investing in a reflector. This can help to bounce light into dark areas and give your video a more polished look.

Lighting kits aren’t cheap, but they’re worth every penny. You don’t need to buy expensive equipment to create great lighting for videos. Using common household items, you can easily create a complete lighting kit.

Quick Tips: DIY Lighting Kit

Household lighting uses are diverse – from simple bulbs to complex setups. A basic lighting kit consists of three essential components: bulbs, fixtures, and wiring.

  • To save money, purchase your bulbs and fixtures at a local hardware store.
  • When choosing fixtures, be sure to select ones that are compatible with the type of bulbs you’ve selected.
  • Wiring can be purchased online or at a local home improvement store.

Position your fixtures around the room before wiring them together. This will help you to determine the best placement for each light.

Once your fixtures are in place, wire them together using the proper gauge of wire. Finally, plug your lights into a power strip and test them to be sure they’re working properly.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to create a complete lighting kit for your next video project.

DIY: Make Your Own Basic Lighting Kit at Home

Natural lighting

Natural lighting is great for filming outdoors but indoors works too. You can use the sun or other natural lighting to create an interesting effect.

Photograph of dandelion backlight by the sun.

Position your subject near a window for soft, natural light. For a more dramatic look, film your subject in front of a door or window that’s letting in harsh light.

You can also use reflectors to bounce natural light onto your subject.

Artificial light adds depth to the scenes, while natural light gives them a softer look.

Household DIY Lighting Uses

Using household items to light your scene is a great alternative to buying new lighting equipment. Household DIY lighting uses everyday objects like candles, incandescent bulbs, and fluorescent tubes. These everyday objects can create amazing cinematography effects without having to spend thousands of dollars on professional equipment.

1. Candles

One of the most common household items that can be used for lighting is candles. Candles provide a soft, natural light that create a romantic mood or atmosphere.

A lot of candles in a room.

To use candles for lighting, simply place them around the perimeter of the room. Be sure to position them so that they’re not in direct line of sight with the camera. This will help to create a softer, more diffused light.

If you’re shooting a video at night, candles can also be used to light the way. Just be sure to position them so that they don’t cast any shadows on the subject of your shot.

2. Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are another great option for household lighting. These bulbs provide a warm, natural light used to create a variety of different looks.

To use incandescent bulbs for lighting, simply position them around the room. Place them at different heights to create a more interesting light. You can also use them to highlight certain areas of the room.

3. Fluorescent Tubes

Fluorescent tubes are a great option for ambient lighting. These tubes provide a bright, even light used to light up a whole room.

To use fluorescent tubes for lighting, simply position them around the perimeter of the room. Position them so they’re not in direct line of sight with the camera. This will help to create a softer, more diffused light.

Using household items you may already have will save money, space, and time.

4. Tape

Use tape to secure wires and fix kits.

  • Gaffer’s tape is a must-have for any DIY lighting kit. This type of tape is designed to adhere to surfaces without leaving behind a sticky residue. It’s also very strong, making it perfect for securing wires and holding reflectors in place.
  • Duct tape is another great option for securing wires and holding reflectors in place. This type of tape is very strong and will hold up even in the most strenuous conditions.
  • Zip ties are also a great option for securing wires. These plastic ties are easy to use and can be cut to the desired length.

5. Reflectors

Reflectors are a great way to bounce light onto your subject. They come in a variety of different sizes and shapes, so choose one that will suit your needs.

Photo of video lighting with a reflector.

White foam board is a great option for a reflector. This type of board is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It’s also very inexpensive, making it a great option for budget-conscious filmmakers.

A foam card can be used as a reflector or blocker. Foam cards come in different sizes and they can be cut into smaller pieces if needed.

6. Aluminium Foil

Card foam reflectors aren’t always enough to provide the amount of light needed.

Aluminum foil can be easily added to any foam product to increase its ability to reflect light. It can also be used to cover doorways or other areas where you want to add extra light.

7. Extension Cords

An extension cord is a must-have for any DIY lighting kit. This type of cord is designed to extend the reach of an electrical outlet. Extension cords come in a variety of different lengths, so be sure to choose one that will suit your needs.

8. Power Strips

A power strip is a great way to expand the number of electrical outlets available. Power strips come in a variety of different sizes, so choose one that will suit your needs.

Look Out for Glare

If you are using a lot of DIY lighting, keep an eye out for glare. Glare on lenses can cause headaches or even temporary blindness. Glare can come from a variety of sources, including windows, mirrors, and even the sun.

To avoid glare, position your lights so they’re not in direct line of sight with the camera. This will help to create a softer, more diffused light.

You can also use flags or gobos to block the light and reduce glare. Another tactic includes raising the lights higher on their stand to reduce glare or moving your key and fill lights apart to reduce glare.

Choose Your Light Color Temperature

Lights with warmer colors tend to look cool, while those with cooler colors look warmer.

To create a warm atmosphere, use lights with cooler color temperatures. To create a cool atmosphere, use lights with warmer color temperatures.

As a general rule, tungsten lights have a warm color temperature, while fluorescent lights have a cool color temperature.

To get the most out of your DIY lighting kit, be sure to experiment with different light positions and colors. When mixing lights, avoid mixing colors of different temperatures.

Chart of lighting colors showing warm to cool.

Picking the Correct Bulbs For Lighting

Different bulbs have different tones, which makes them unique.

When picking out bulbs, you should consider what type of shots you are shooting, and how much light you need.

For example, if you are shooting an interview, you will want to have a lot of light, so that the person being interviewed is well-lit and the background is not too dark. For a more mellow shot, such as a nature scene, you might want softer light, to create a more calming atmosphere.

Tungsten bulbs are the standard type of light bulb. They are very common and can be found in most homes. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and wattages. Tungsten bulbs produce a warm light, and are often used in living rooms and bedrooms.

Fluorescent bulbs are less common than tungsten bulbs, but are becoming more popular.

Consider what color shirt you are wearing when choosing bulbs. Also, choose the correct bulb type depending on the color temperature of the room. For instance, a cool white or neutral-colored room needs a warmer bulb.

Setting Up Your Lighting Kit

Shadows cast from key lights can easily be eliminated if you place the lights correctly.

  • Backlights should be placed behind the subject, and pointed toward the background. This helps create contrast and hides the subject’s shadow.
  • Fill lights should be placed on either side of the subject, and pointed toward the subject’s face. This helps to fill in any shadows cast by the key light.

Be sure to experiment with different lighting setups to see what works best for you.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start with the key light. This is the most important light, and should be placed in the most flattering position.
  • Place the backlight behind the subject, and point it toward the background. This will help to create contrast and hide the subject’s shadow.
  • Position the fill lights on either side of the subject, and point them toward the subject’s face. This will help to fill in any shadows cast by the key light.
  • Experiment with different positions for each light until you figure out what looks best.

Blogger Recording Podcast

FAQs for Video Lighting

Is softbox lighting good for video?

Softbox lighting can be a great way to create flattering, even light for your subjects. However, it can also be a bit more difficult to control than other types of lighting, and it may not be the best choice for every situation.

If you’re shooting video in a studio setting, softbox lighting can be a great option. But if you’re shooting video outdoors or in a less controlled environment, you may want to go with something else.

How do you set up umbrella lighting for a video?

Setting up umbrella lighting for video is actually pretty simple. All you need is a light stand, an umbrella, and a light source. Set up your light stand and umbrella in the desired position. Next, attach your light source to the umbrella. Lastly, adjust the angle of the umbrella until you get the desired effect.

What color lighting is best for video?

Warm lighting can give a more natural look, while cool lighting can be more stark and dramatic. What color lighting you use will depend on the look you’re going for and the feel of the video.

Another thing to consider is the intensity of the light. Too much light can wash out the video, while too little light can make it difficult to see what’s going on.

The bottom line is that there is no one right answer when it comes to choosing lighting for video. It all depends on your individual style and the feel of the video you’re trying to create.

What is the best lighting for video recording?

Good lighting is essential for any kind of photography, but it’s especially important for video. If you’re recording in a dimly lit room, you’ll need to use a higher ISO setting to compensate for the low light levels. You may also want to use a tripod to keep your camera steady.

Conversely, if you’re recording in bright sunlight, you’ll need to use a lower ISO setting to avoid over-exposing your footage. Be sure to keep an eye on shadows, as they can distort the look of your video.

How do I add lighting effects to a video?

Adding lighting effects to a video is a great way to add interest and dimension. There are a few different ways to do this, and the best method will depend on the software you’re using and the look you’re going for.

One popular approach is to add a spotlight effect, which can be done by creating a new light source in your software and using it to cast a beam of light on the subject of your video. Another common approach is to add a glow effect, which can be accomplished by adjusting the color and brightness of an existing light source.

Get the Perfect Video Lighting Setup

The best way to experiment with DIY lighting for video is to dive in.

With a little bit of experimentation, you’ll be able to find the lighting setup that works best for your videos.

And who knows?

Maybe you’ll come up with some new DIY lighting techniques that we haven’t even thought of yet.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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