Simple lighting to improve your interviews and webcams...

With so many interviews being conducted over Social Media and webcams these days we seem to be getting accustomed to very harsh and uninspiring lighting. This is the kind of lighting where people record interviews in their own home or at their office desk where the light comes from table lamps or ceiling downlights. These situations all tend to have the same thing in common; they are unflattering to the person on camera and usually ends up giving them either harsh shadows across the face or there seem to be no shadows at all and the image in very flat.  But there is something we can do about this. A technique I learnt many years ago while studying photography was the creative effect of something called two-point lighting. This is one of the simplest lighting set-ups but also one of the most effective. It is easy to create and will transform the appearance of anyone you light in this way.

Simple lighting to improve your interviews and webcams image
As the name suggest you will need two light sources: a broad soft light (see image) and a more narrow spotlight. The soft light is to light the face, giving no hard shadows and needs to be placed to one side of the camera and angled down towards your subject. The spotlight is placed high up behind the subject and should hit the top of their head and spread across the shoulders. Sometimes called the ‘hair-light’ it has the effect of both adding a highlight to your subject while also making them stand out against the background. It also adds a sense of shape and form to the subject and so avoids the opposite problem of having harsh shadows – no shadows at all. With no shadows you will get a very ‘flat’ image that tends to lack any vitality or energy.
There are of course other set ups such as three-point lighting but this will take longer to arrange and is probably best left for another blog. But if you want to instantly improve your lighting of people, whether that is yourself or someone you are filming, then consider a basic two-point lighting set-up. It makes your subject look good and will make your videos stand out from the crowd.
Simple lighting to improve your interviews and webcams picture