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Feb 29, 2024 | Design, Events, Thought leadership

Lighting is a fundamental component of video production. It serves various crucial roles, from setting the mood to guiding the viewer’s focus, and enhancing the overall visual composition. 

This blog shares insights into common scenarios we encounter with clients’ video and lighting needs. Here are five scenarios we often navigate:

Key Takeaways
    • Thorough pre-production planning ensured seamless production in commercial shoots despite challenges like weather fluctuations.
    • Crafting bright, sterile studio setups requires less pre-production effort due to easy lighting replication. Less pre-production effort is needed due to the ease of replicating lighting setups in the studio environment.
    • Flexibility in lighting setups allowed for intricate lighting in different environments.
    • Adaptability is crucial in creating a stylized lighting setup. Despite challenges in location and lighting, strategic planning and resourcefulness resulted in a compelling video presentation.
    • Capturing authentic moments in highlight videos requires embracing natural lighting and imperfections. Post-production color correction enhances the narrative, emphasizing the art of storytelling through genuine event footage.
    lighting setup for video

    Planning for Ideal Circumstances

    The Allianz commercial shoot in September 2023 provided our video team with complete creative control, allowing us to plan and organize the project meticulously. The shoot, spanning two full days, comprised a mix of indoor and outdoor scenes on the first day, followed by a second day focused entirely on indoor shots. The lighting crew included a Lead Gaffer, Best Boy, Director Of Photography, and two Utilities, ensuring seamless production. Despite the controlled setting, challenges like rolling clouds, unpredictable weather, and access to power underscored the need for adaptability during unexpected situations, emphasizing the critical role of thorough pre-production planning in ensuring a successful video shoot. Pre-production solved two main factors: firstly, we had two scheduled days for filming, so we planned to use the days as needed based on weather and were planning to flip-flop production locations if required. Secondly, we were prepared with appropriate gear for several different weather outcomes by having an entire lighting team.

    Studio Control

    In the context of studio control, in this case, for ClearPlan and Hitachi branded content, our primary focus is on producing informative and straightforward videos. These videos often serve internal messaging needs or are tied to events, communicating to internal and external audiences. Typically adopting a Talking-Head Style, with presenters looking directly at the camera or a fireside chat approach, these videos require a bright, sterile, and even studio lighting setup. Incorporating the brand-focused backdrop into our planning allows us to seamlessly integrate an organization’s brand’s colors, enhancing the overall visual appeal. 

    Notably, these studio shoots require less pre-production effort for location and setup, with an emphasis on crafting a compelling message. Frequently shot in parts or as part of a series, maintaining consistency becomes paramount. The studio environment provides an easy-to-replicate lighting setup, ensuring a cohesive look across multiple segments. The strategic use of color plays a crucial role, exemplified by the adaptation of Hitachi’s inviting white, black, and red color scheme.

    Scheduling For Light And Different Atmospheres

    In the case of the Allianz Paralympian shoot, we were fortunate to have both time and resources at our disposal, allowing us to light our interview in a specific location—a workout room. This setting added authenticity to the portrayal of an Olympic athlete in their natural environment. However, the spacious room presented its challenges, requiring additional lighting resources to cover the larger area effectively. Despite these challenges, the luxury of time allowed us to shape the light, casting our subject, Daniel Romanchuk, meticulously as the central figure in the shot within this expansive space. For the remainder of the video and the b-roll footage, we took Daniel outside to the track, capturing shots in the afternoon under even, overcast lighting conditions for a documentary-style video. 

    While the shoot didn’t permit a site visit, arriving a day early proved crucial for planning camera positions and logistics, ensuring our team was well-prepared and set up for success. This scenario highlighted the importance of allocating extra time to address unforeseen challenges and optimize the lighting setup for various portions of the shoot.

    lighting setup for video

    Crafting a Unique Aesthetic Without the Ideal Environment

    In the case of Spectral AI‘s project involving the AI Burn scanner, our challenge was to create a specific aesthetic without the luxury of an ideal environment. The client sought a stylized lighting setup to emphasize their product, particularly the green lights of the AI scanner. We wanted a dramatic and dim lighting environment, so we faced uncertainty about the shooting location. We adapted by conducting a day-before blocking session in a functioning hospital room. Our goal was to focus solely on the machine’s screen, creating a sterile atmosphere. Despite the unknowns, we utilized diffused natural light through drawn shades and additional lights to overcome challenges, ultimately achieving the client’s vision and goals for an impactful video presentation.

    How to Solve For Light: The Highlight Video

    Creating a highlight video with minimal control over the lighting environment poses a unique challenge. The overarching goal is to capture authentic moments without additional lighting, embracing imperfections that align with the organic essence of a highlight video. Operating under the Cinema Verite philosophy, we acknowledge the unpredictable nature of indoor or outdoor environments and prioritize maintaining a natural ambiance. The primary objective is to encapsulate the genuine feel of the event, with post-production color correction as a supplementary tool to enhance the overall visual narrative. In essence, this approach emphasizes the art of capturing events as they unfold, showcasing the authenticity and spontaneity of each moment.

    In this exploration of video production and lighting scenarios, we’ve explored the spectrum from ideal circumstances to the constraints of studio setups and the challenges of crafting unique aesthetics without the luxury of an ideal environment. Through adaptability, problem-solving, and a commitment to authenticity, we emphasize the crucial role of pre-production planning and understanding diverse environments in delivering impactful narratives.

    lighting setup for video
    lighting setup for video
    lighting setup for video

    Drop us a line if you’d like to get the conversation started; we would love to assist you in your next video production endeavor!

    Lighting and Video Production Vocabulary

    Lead Gaffer: The Lead Gaffer is the chief lighting technician on set and the head of the electrical department. They are responsible for the execution of the lighting plan for production.

    Best Boy: The Best Boy is the senior electrician, second in the hierarchy to the lead gaffer.

    Director Of Photography: The Director of Photography coordinates the lighting and production crews and determines the production’s visual aspects, such as camera angles.

    Utilities: Lighting Utilities are responsible for positioning the lighting and moving equipment as instructed by Lead Gaffer and Best Boy.

    Talking-Head Style: A Talking-Head Style is a video where a person speaks directly to the camera.

    Blocking: Blocking is a term used to describe how, where, and when subjects are placed and move through within the camera’s frame.

    Cinema Verite: Cinema Verite is a style of cinematography that focuses on realistic, typically documentary videos that avoid artificiality and artistic effects.