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Start with one light: Your paper lantern lighting kit

Start Small with Video

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by Zach Wolfson in Blog, Start Small with Video
November 4, 2016 0 comments

If you want your videos to look and feel more professional, you’re in the right place.

You might be thinking that to increase the quality of your videos, you need a better camera. Right?

There are some great reasons to buy a better camera. But the reality is when you improve the lighting (and the sound) in your videos, you can see some pretty amazing results even when you’re recording with your smartphone.

In today’s episode of Start Small with Video, let’s start small and improve your lighting setup with a few simple tools. I’m going to show you how to light yourself with a paper lantern when you’re talking to your camera:



Tools you’ll need:

  • A white paper lantern (18-24 in. / 45-60 cm to fit a large light bulb)
  • A CFL or LED light bulb (200-300W equivalent; daylight balanced)
  • A hanging lantern cord (ideally 12 ft. / 3.6 m or longer)
  • Plus, something to hang your paper lantern from (a light stand, a hook in the ceiling, etc)

Now let’s setup your paper lantern lighting.

Position your paper lantern just above your camera, just above your eye line.

This will create beautiful shots of you when you’re talking to a camera in a more controlled environment like your workspace.

With your lighting roughed in, record some test clips to check the lighting:

It’s worth taking 10 minutes to test your lighting, especially when you’re filming yourself alone. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Hit record.
  2. Stand in front of the camera.
  3. Talk to it for maybe 15 seconds.
  4. Stop recording.
  5. And play back the video clip to see what you think of your lighting.

If you like the way the lighting looks, then go with it and record your video. But if it’s not quite there yet, adjust the position of your light and repeat recording a test clip until you like what you see in your lighting.

Why am I sharing this lighting technique in particular?

Soft lighting is one of the most flattering for people’s faces.

And a white paper lantern is a wonderfully simple tool for you to use to light yourself beautifully. Plus – it’s a great, affordable upgrade to your lighting setup too.

Your turn – how are you lighting your videos? Let me know in the comments. Love to hear about it.

Thanks for watching!

Get my free Ready to Record Handbook

Plan your videos and be ready to record in 30 minutes (and easily do it again).

Send it to me