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Welcome to a new series that we’re hoping to hit you with every other week. We know that making videos is a tough process, and there is a huge spectrum of production value that you can land on as a creator – from studio level, high quality shoots, to down and dirty shoots with just you and your phone. These production tips are meant to provide advice and actionable tools for anyone and everyone on that spectrum.

Our first topic: lighting.

It doesn’t matter what type of content you’re creating – if your image is dark and full of noise, people aren’t going to want to watch it! It’s as simple as that. So today we’re going to go over some simple and affordable lighting options.

Natural Light: Free

Now for all you night-owls out there who are shooting in the cover of darkness…well, this won’t work for you! Sorry. But for most people, this is an extremely simple way to add more light to your videos and greatly enhance your overall picture quality.

If you’re using this option, I suggest you fully open your blinds to ensure there are no strange and distracting shadows striped across your face. You can also use a white sheet or curtain to help diffuse the incoming sunlight and soften out most of the shadows. This will create a nice, evened-out look on your face.

  • Pros: Free. Like really free! Until of course, the sun dies but at that point your videos are the least of your worries.
  • Cons: Natural light changes! Time passes and clouds shift in the sky, so you might notice some inconsistencies in your lighting as you edit.

Clamp Lights: $4 – $10

Now clamp lights are awesome, and when I was younger I would use them for every shoot! No joke. My room and my car were full of them!

These lights are extremely versatile because, well – they clamp on to pretty much anything! You can also tilt the head up and down to give you some sense of direction with the light, which is always helpful. Another great thing about these lights is you can pick them up at just about any store with a hardware section.

  • Pros: You can find them pretty much everywhere and they clamp onto things.
  • Cons: These can get a little hot, so be mindful of what you’re using as a diffuser.
  • Recommendation: Simple clamp light

Soft Boxes: $30 – $100 (Per Box)

Oh yea – it’s business time! We’re getting professional now. Soft boxes are fantastic and can really add a professional quality to not only your videos but also to your overall production setup.

There are lots of options when it comes to soft boxes, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when searching for which one to purchase. With this option you have a wide array of sizes from small squares, to rectangles, and even massive octagons. There’s single-bulb setups or the more popular four-bulb configuration, but other than that most boxes are pretty much the same and really just come down to how much light you need and how much space you have.

Prices on soft boxes are a bit scattered but if you’re not going for a name-brand, you can find a single box for very cheap and you can even find full light kits, with various boxes and stands for around $100. Picking up a 3-set soft box kit is definitely the best way to easily cover all your bases and have the proper setup to get you started with some 3-point lighting (which you can learn more about here).

  • Note: Make sure you are purchasing a continuous lighting setup and not a flash-photography rig!
  • Pros: Nice and professional! Easy to break down and store in a bag.
  • Cons: Quality bulbs can get a bit pricey, especially when you’re buying 4 or more per light.
  • Recommendation: Neewer Soft Box set

Ring Light: $80 – $200

Of course, we couldn’t forget about all you beauty gurus out there and this option is absolutely perfect for you! This setup is all about the glamour. With a ring light you’ll get a nice, professional system that provides a luminous light that evenly fills your face and removes virtually all shadows.

The reason this is perfect for beauty and makeup videos is because the camera is placed directly in the center of the ring, causing you to look into the light as you talk to the camera. This also provides you with a nice eye-light and can add a sense of “sharpness” to your videos.

Ring lights come in various sizes and some even cheaper options can be mounted directly to your lens instead of on a stand.

  • Pros: Very simple setup. Nice, even light which eliminates shadows on the face.
  • Cons: Not a natural looking light and can be very noticeable due to the catch light in the eyes. This light only works for very specific lighting scenarios, so if you’re looking for something with a lot of options – this really isn’t your light.
  • Recommendation: Neewer Ring Light (psst – we’re giving one of these away btw)

So there we go! Some cheap and effective lighting options that you can start using today! Let us know if this was helpful, and what kind of lighting setup you use by tweeting us a picture at @FullscreenNet!

And to make it even sweeter, we’re giving away a brand new ring light setup. All you have to do is head over to our contest page to learn more and enter!