Video Lighting Kits: A Guide to Choosing a Lighting Kit

Lighting is one of the most vital parts of creating your video. It helps set the tone and the mood for your entire shoot. Inadequate lighting can leave you with the wrong feel to your video or, worse, make it impossible for your viewers to see what you want them to see. By putting together a great lighting kit, you can produce higher-quality videos that are more likely to catch your viewers' attention.

What is in a Lighting Kit?

In general, your lighting kit should include:

  • A key light: This provides the majority of the light for your video and helps highlight your subject.
  • A backlight: This provides lighting from the back, illuminates your subject, and prevents unwanted shadows.
  • A fill light: This will help fill in shadows on the subject's face and get that great illumination you want for your video.

You may also want to use reflectors, which will help bounce light back into your video frame and brighten the scene.

Your lighting kit may also include stands, extension cords, and clips, and clothespins.

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How to Build an Inexpensive Video Lighting Kit

Need to put together a lighting kit on a budget? The good news is, while you can certainly go all-out with expensive equipment, you can also produce an inexpensive lighting kit without blowing your budget.

Step One: Select Clamp Lights

You can find clamp lights in most hardware stores. They produce bright light, depending on the size and wattage of the bulb. Even better, thanks to the clamp, you can hang them anywhere! You will want one large clamp light to use as your key light and several smaller lights, depending on what you're filming and the size of your room, to use for fill lights and backlights.

If you're purchasing a lighting kit for a single video, base your purchases on what you'll need. For example, if you're planning to shoot most of the video in low lighting, you may need lower wattage lights. On the other hand, if you're picking up a lighting kit for long-term use, you may find it more practical to choose larger lights.

When you're picking out your clamp lights, choose lights that you can dim. This will allow you to easily control your lighting to create the look you want no matter what or where you're shooting.

Step Two: Add Stands

You may need to spring for decent stands for your lighting kit. Look online for high-quality stands that are unlikely to wiggle or rock. While you may have a budget to stick to, you don't want your lighting wavering in the middle of your shoot.

Step Three: Pick up the accessories

You may need a few utility clamps to help secure your lights so that they don't tumble to the ground at the worst possible moment. Depending on where you're shooting, you may also need extension cords. You may also want to add diffusers. In some cases, wax paper or even drafting paper can create the diffuse look you want. However, if you'll use hot lights, you don't want to use something that can melt or catch on fire. Instead, choose a professional light diffuser.


Putting together a light kit doesn't have to be complicated, nor does it have to break your budget. Experiment with some budget options to allow you to create stunning, well-lit videos without having to purchase a professional-grade lighting kit. You may find that, over time, you're able to add more professional-quality lighting options to your light bar--but in many cases, you'll also find that your budget options are just as effective.

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