Lighting the subject is vital during any video production. Whether it is a recording of a lecture, a ‘talking head’ style video or a demonstration, it is important that the subject is well lit.

In most situations shooting in a well lit room, whether from natural or artificial light sources, should be more than adequate for the videos you will be looking to produce, but it is always important to consider how this light will affect your recording.

Main light

You should always aim to ensure that the main light source is facing towards the subject of the video. During talking head interviews this will ensure that the speaker is visible on screen and that they are clearly the focus of the video. Lighting any demonstrations in this manner will ensure that processes or equipment are well illuminated on screen and are clearly visible.

Additional light sources should be used to remove any unwanted shadows created by the main light source. This is especially important during interview style videos, where the additional shadows could make the speaker look somewhat sinister, adding an unwanted element to any message you are trying to deliver.


Where possible the main source of light should always be in front of the subject and not directed towards the camera, however it is not always possible to shoot this way. If the main light source is located behind the subject this will backlight the subject and make them appear in silhouette. While this can be used artistically in certain situations, it is not suitable for educational videos.

In situations where the only option is to have a subject backlit it is important to take steps to reduce this effect and provide more light for the subject. When a reflector is available this can be used to direct the available light to the subject, however where one isn’t available an additional light source can be added to balance the lighting. The additional light should be directed towards the subject, which should make them stand out against the background.


This UHI video explains a basic lighting setup, how you can use ambient light and even how you can make your own lighting equipment. 

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