Lighting for streaming

What's wrong with this picture? (Mixing color temperatures)

[Editor's Note: Michael has taken down the video, so the link below does not work.] When you're a streaming producer, you can't help but watch other streaming videos with a critical eye. Here's one from Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development, who t...

Buyer's Guide: Light Kits

One of the most critical purchases a streaming producer can make is a light kit. In this article, I'll explain the factors to consider when choosing a light kit and tell you when it makes sense to spend $3,000 rather than $150.

Buyer's Guide: Light Kits

Looking to light that CEO talk or customer testimonial? You'll get what you pay for. Here's what to look for in lighting kits, and a chart comparing five leading options.

Lighting for Streaming Tutorials Released

I produced a DVD in 2008 called Critical Skills for Streaming Producers, in conjunction with Streaming Media Magazine. The product is now out of date and off the market, but some of the videos included with the tutorial still have some real value. In particular, the five videos relating to lighting for streaming are a bit quaint, but still pretty useful.

So, I've decided to present them for free on the Streaming Learning Center. You'll have to work through a ten-second advertisement for my new book for each video, but hopefully, you'll find it a small price to pay for the knowledge in the video. Click over to the main story to see a short summary of each video and the actual videos, presented in play list format courtesy of Sorenson 360. You'll also find worksheets for setting up flat and three-point lighting that should also be helpful, as well as a worksheet on shooting skills that covers setting exposure with zebra stripes.

Lighting for Streaming

Without question, lighting is the single most important determinant of streaming quality. Shoot a well lit scene with a consumer camcorder, or a poorly lit scene with the latest HD wonder with 2/3” CCDs, and the consumer camcorder will win every time. Fortunately, it’s just not that hard to get lighting right, which is what I describe in this article.

I’ll start with a brief look at the history of lighting, then describe the optimal procedures for lighting for streaming. I’ll conclude with a look at how to use your camcorder to determine when you’ve got sufficient lighting.

Setting up Flat and Three-point Lighting

The dramatic shadows created by three-point lighting have been a staple of movies and television production since their inception, and three-point lighting remains highly touted in most tutorials, articles, and books on video lighting. However, a quick survey of news sites such as ESPN and CNN, both online and on TV, confirm that most newsrooms eschewed three-point lighting in favor of flat lighting years ago. Perhaps not surprisingly, business-oriented, online-only sites such as BusinessWeek and also use flat lighting.

With two very different shoots coming up — one a physician seeking to go online with some pre- and post-procedure advice, and the other a local band wanting interviews for a promotional DVD and YouTube and MySpace videos — I had some decisions to make. What's the best lighting technique for streaming videos: flat or three point? If flat, what's the best technique to achieve it?

Review: The Lowel DV Creator 44 Light Kit

As the title suggests, a review of the Lowel DV Creator 44 Light Kit. If you just want to know how the story ended, here's the conclusion. "As a portable system, the DV Creator 44 is tough to beat. Fluorescent kits run cooler, but are generally bigger and much more expensive. When I actually buy a Lowel kit, which I certainly will, I may consider buying the Rifa Pro 44 kit, which includes the Rifa-44 softbox and a single Pro-light for around $850 retail. This will let me produce both a flat and shadowed look, though I'll miss the flexibility of the Tota-light and Omni-lights."