Skip to main content

Lights For Home Videos

Old school film can.
Photo:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.
Lighting your YouTube or home video is still important even if you are using a state of the art cellphone or digital camera. 

There are companies that rent lighting equipment but you don’t have to take that route because you don’t have the budget Ryan Coogler had, for shooting Black Panther.  You can also find basic lights at the lights section of department stores.

However, the story comes before lighting.  Is the video about a child naming ceremony, Bar Mitzvah, wedding anniversary, music video about a pianist, rock video, your 2-year-old’s birthday party or college application video?  The story will determine where you put the lights.   For example, you shoot low for toddlers because they are running around, so lights would be on the floor.

·         Cellphones.  Your phone has a torch or searchlight.  Use two phones on either side of the subject you are shooting so that the light meets.  See the effect. Decide if you like it.  For example, you can place them on the floor, to show the actor taking off his shoes.

·         Garden lights.  What is in the basement at home?  You might find garden lights you can use for exterior shots of the video.  No tripod?  Put them on a drum.

·         Home lights with more power might do the trick for interior shots.  Explain the video scene to the person at the store.  They will advise accordingly.

·         Reflectors are cheap and easy to carry.  Professional studios that take photos of models and cars use them all the time.  Play around with the reflector and see how it changes the light on the person’s face.  Avoid pointing it directly.  It will blind the subject.

·         Twelve tea lights cost or five dollars depending where you buy them. You can put them strategically around the person or thing you are shooting.  Candle sticks also a light source but you need  candle holders.

·         Observe lights.  Some produce a yellow tinge, others a snowy colour.  Old school photographers used blue gels for night scenes.  Go outside and look at the night.  It’s either pitch black or looks blue.

Just be creative.  Lighting also means studying the sun, where it falls throughout the day, its shadows around the house and outside, how it behaves in winter and summer.

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang


Popular posts from this blog

Black Panther Africa Here and There

Black Panther is about Wakanda a fictionalized country in Africa, but it has delightful snippets of the real Africa.

The movie has tall people, like Kenya’s and Sudan’s sons and daughters. Dora Milaje, the royal guard supervised by Okoye (Danai Gurira) is composed of tall women.Okoye is a common surname or family name in Nigeria, as in Oge Okoye, the actress. There are also scenes where men on horseback are wearing colourful blankets, a common sight in Lesotho, the country surrounded by South Africa.Locals, the Basotho, call these blankets seana marena.The country’s beauty sinks in as one drives from Maseru the capital, up to Leribe and further up the mountains.Great roads too.

Costume design.That’s another snippet about Africa. There is Angela Bassett’s character looking regal, in what is called isicholo in Zulu.Well! it looks like isicholo, a married woman’s headdress. You probably saw the re-mixed version of isicholo in what Beyonce is wearing in the Sorry video. They also speak isiXh…

Black Panther Casting

Chadwick Boseman sure looks like a younger John Kani in Black Panther.That is why the movie won the Best Casting category in my little awards.  Envelope please!

Kani plays King T’Chaka.Boseman is T’Challa, his son.What a striking resemblance.It reminds me of my arrival in New York City some years ago.I used to stare at African Americans because they looked like a cousin, uncle, neighbour, teacher, friend, doctor or someone on the bus. Sure, we learnt about slavery at school, how slave traders stole Africans and how internal wars between chiefs also led to humans being taken to another continent in chains. But being in America, seeing people who look like your world, in Africa, was painful.

“Death is better than bondage.” That is what one character said in Black Panther.Was it Erik Killmonger?I’m not sure but I will double check when I go back.Yes, again.The movie is a cinematic buffet.Don’t talk with your mouth full, as mama would say. We gave the film the Best Casting category for other…

Toddlers And Thanksgiving

Toddlers wail and holler because of boring parents, not because of presumed reasons.

He is wet.
She must be hungry. Toddlers cry because parents are predictable.Getting into the stroller is either good or bad news.Good news if it is going out of the apartment or house to interact with the world, bad news if it is going back home to spend another day fenced in, like convicted criminals.

They can have beautiful pink or blue rooms with toys bought from Toys “R” Us, before the business filed for bankruptcy, but toddlers want more, to touch and feel the world.They itch for adventure. That is why they smile at strangers, extend their tiny hands to touch the bus window, point at dogs and run around the mall with mum in hot pursuit. Toddlers are not born equal.Toddlers in the north of the world spend most of their time indoors staring at blowing snow while their counterparts down south in Africa drive their brothers and sisters crazy, because they want to follow them everywhere.Rain is the only t…