710 - Look great on video: Tom talks Video Lighting - Screw The Commute

710 – Look great on video: Tom talks Video Lighting

Today, we're going to talk about video lighting. I've been lighting video for about 43 years or more, and I got my training in Hollywood. And since then, I've had retired Hollywood people teaching me even more stuff. And I'm going to tell you about that today. You're going to get a bunch of tips and tricks and techniques and to make your videos look way better with simple lighting techniques and tricks. And I'm also going to include a technique to make you look 20 years younger instantly, and it will just knock your socks off.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 710

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[00:23] Tom's introduction to Video Lighting

[02:31] A little lighting knowledge goes a long way

[06:01] Lighting fixtures and how to light

[09:22] Using a “soft box” and a ring light

[12:15] Adding and using shadows

[15:57] Using natural lighting

[17:58] Color temperature

[21:38] Lighting your background and getting younger

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Lighting with Cookieshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-UIidGYpyc

Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com

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Tom Poland – https://screwthecommute.com/709/

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Episode 710 – Video Lighting
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode 710 of Screw the Commute Podcast. Today, we're going to talk about video lighting. I've been lighting video for about 43 years or more, and I got my training in Hollywood. And since then, I've had retired Hollywood people teaching me even more stuff. And I'm going to tell you about that today. You're going to get a bunch of tips and tricks and techniques and to make your videos look way better with simple lighting techniques and tricks. And I'm also going to include a technique to make you look 20 years younger instantly, and it will just knock your socks off. All right. I hope you don't miss episode 709. That was Tom Polen. He has a webinar method to get constant leads coming in for yourself. So that was episode 709. Anytime you want to get to a back episode, you go to screwthecommute.com/709 in his case and today is 710. I'm sure you're going to want to listen to this one because you learn this stuff. Your videos are going to look way better than your competitors. Guaranteed. All right. Make sure you follow me on TikTok at tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire. I've got one video now that's way past 600,000 views. I think it's hitting 610,000 views and still going. And this is short form video, which I recently did a an episode on that. You want to make sure you listen to that. All right. Make sure you grab a copy of our automation e-book. It's screwthecommute.com/automatefree. It's what allows me to do all this other stuff because I'm not fighting with my computer all day long. I'm taking care of customers, making products, bringing in money. That's why we do all this, folks. In case you didn't know. All right, so grab your copy. It's screw the commuter com slash automate free. And while you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app. It's screwthecommute.com/app. Put us on your cell phone and tablet. Take us with you on the road.

[00:02:33] All right. Let's talk about video lighting. See, lighting is just as important or even more important than what camera you use. Most amateurs hardly even give lighting a second thought. And this is a big mistake. And you can take a normal scene and make it look spectacular with just a little bit of lighting knowledge. And if you implement what you're going to get today, you're going to be on your way. And like I said, I have had my original training in Hollywood, and most of the techniques I learned way back then still apply today. But the types of lights have changed significantly from when I first started. But still, the way you light things is still the same. And since then I had a retired Hollywood guy teach me super tricks.

[00:03:24] And one of them I'm going to tell you about later will literally take 20 years off your face instantly. And it might cost you, oh, let's see, a whopping $2 purchase at Walmart to make it happen. Okay, so that would be a little bit later. But let me go ahead and tell you about this retired Hollywood guy who worked for me. See, I had an ad in Craigslist for a part time video editor and it was like, I don't know, ten, 12, $13 an hour or something. So this guy responded to the ad and included a link to his video demo reel, in other words, showing me what he could do. Right now, this demo reel had every celebrity you ever heard of on it. So I figured somebody was just pulling my leg, so I deleted it. All right. And then he started emailing me through Craigslist, wanting to apply for the job. And I kept just deleting the emails, figuring someone's messing with me. All right. So after a couple of weeks now, it's no secret where I am because of the Great Internet Marketing Retreat Center. So after a couple of weeks of this, I get a knock on the door at the retreat center. And it was the guy that was emailing me. And he said, Please wait before you slam the door. He said he said, Look, listen to my story. I'm retired from Hollywood, where I was a celebrity promo director.

[00:04:49] And I retired and I wanted to move as far away from Hollywood as I could because I have a 16 year old daughter and I did not want her growing up there. I wanted her to be in a a better environment. So we moved here to Virginia Beach. And the guy was kind of sounding credible, you know, believable. Now, I can't recall exactly, but I think he showed me either People magazine or The Hollywood Reporter that covered his divorce. So I'm thinking, wait, whoa, this guy's real. But I'm still kind of skeptical at this point. And then and then he said. I want to get into pro speaking, and I researched and learned that you were the guy that could help me. And on the other hand, I think I could help you with your videos. In fact, what he said was, you look like crap on video and I'll make you look better than you ever have. Well, that was it. I said, come on in. And he was with me for about a year, teaching me every advanced trick in the book on lighting. Now, I'll never be him, but I'm damn good at it now. All right. And all right, so let's get back to what you're here for. Well, the first thing I'll talk about is lighting fixtures. You can go super cheap here and still light things beautifully. And I'll start out with professional grade stuff that you can pick up super cheap.

[00:06:17] And I'm going to tell you the pros and cons. Now, my favorite light of all time is what I learned on in Hollywood was a Lowell Toda light low l0wll is a professional grade brand. The total light was really small, but at me it was like indestructible. I mean, I used them on a video shoot one time. It was really tiny, but it and I was in a giant warehouse and the machine I was shooting was 30 feet tall, and one light lit the whole thing up. All right. And it's virtually indestructible. I put it in my checked luggage and it made it to the destination in perfect condition. And you can pick these up. I checked today on eBay for 20 to 30 bucks, including shipping. And there's a ton of them on right now. Now, I do have to tell you the downside of these. The downside is that it's tungsten light bulbs and they put out enormous amounts of heat. Now, if you're cold all the time, you might like that. And you also need a good electrical circuit and real quality extension cords to run the lights on different circuits. If you get more than one because you don't want to blow your breakers out. And the bulbs are expensive and you never touch them with your fingers. The oil in your hand could cause them to burst. So anyway, you can pick them up cheap.

[00:07:39] They're indestructible, but those downsides may cancel it out for you. Now, on the other hand, the new total lights that are slightly bigger, but they sell new for like 350 bucks. Now, you're not going to have any of these other problems. And you might find some used at 150 to 200 I saw on on eBay. But see, LED lights don't use much electricity and they don't put out any heat. So this is a big deal for summertime shooting. So you aren't sweating all over the place from the tungsten lights. So there's a professional grade light you can get. But if you don't want the tungsten and the heat and the electrical electrical problems, then you've got to spend a little more to get the the LED version, if you want that. All right. You don't have to do that at all. I mean, I've lit scenes with a clip on shop light for $3 from Walmart with a regular bulb in it. So So you can really do this cheaply if you want to. All right. Let me take a little sidebar here. See, in most cases, soft light without harsh shadows is more pleasing to look at. See if you point that toda light right at yourself. Oh, my God. It's like flipping on a switch in the sun appears in your office or your home studio. It is really, really bright. So there are accessories like umbrellas that mount to where the light is diffused through like a cloth umbrella or bounced off a silver foil type umbrella.

[00:09:18] Now the next. So that's the little sidebar. Diffused light is usually better. Now the next one kind of light is called a soft box. This is where a light is mounted behind a large thing that kind of looks like a tent with the light going through a handkerchief type material which would like represent the bottom of a tent. But it's sideways or it's pointed at you. And from now on I'll be just talking about LED Lights. I mean, you can use these cheap tungsten lights. You can go get shop lights, the old style for now. It used to be seven bucks. Now they're 12 or 13 bucks, including the bulb at Home Depot. So you can do that if you want. But for now, I'm just going to be talking about LED Lights and just know that whatever I talk about can be found cheaper. Like the total light I was just telling you about, if you don't mind the heat, extra electricity and the cost of the bulbs. Okay. The next one that I'm sure you have seen that's come around recently, and that is called the ring light. This is a really handy light, but it has some serious drawbacks if you wear glasses and I'm going to tell you how to fix that. So let's start with you not wearing glasses. Well, many of these lights have a mount in the middle of the ring for a cell phone.

[00:10:37] Sometimes there's two mounts there for two cell phones. Also, many of the younger people, especially like the circular light being reflected in their eyeballs. All right. So this light is handy. It's very portable. It's frequently dimmable for the intensity of it and it doesn't cause any heat. So it's it's worth having one around. Now, the problem comes with those lights. If you wear glasses and unless you do what I'm going to tell you, you're going to have ring lights refracted reflecting off your glasses right back into the camera, making you look like some kind of alien. Okay, So so what do you do about this? All right, well, here's what you do. If you have a ring light and you wear glasses, you mount your camera on a separate tripod so that the lens of the camera is even with your eyes. Then you raise the ring light on its separate stand as high as you can and tilt it down towards you. Now the light is hitting your glasses at a steep angle, which means that the light reflects off your glasses, but it's going to bounce down towards the floor and not into your camera lens. Now, this tip focus is gold. Hardly anybody knows this. So. So make sure if you're using a ring light and you wear glasses, you use that tip a separate tripod with your camera at eye level. Ring light up higher, tilt tilted down, and you're good to go.

[00:12:10] And remember, I'm going to show you later how to take 20 years off your face. All right. Let's talk about shadows. And you say, well, wait a minute, Tom. I thought we were talking about lights here, not shadows. Well, shadows are what? Add character to your scene. So let me tell you how it works when you light a person and I'm going to give you a link later to you also want to light your backgrounds and make and shadows and lights on them, makes a gorgeous scene and you can get rid of all these stupid electronic zoom backgrounds, which nothing most of the time make you look just stupid because it's not natural. Just don't get me started on that. All right? So let me tell you about lighting a person now. What do you think is the number one place we concentrate on when lighting a person? I see. I don't see any hands going up out there. All right, well, it's the nose. The nose, nose. So I'm going to tell you about a very basic three light system for lighting a person. But keep in mind, we're going to concentrate on the nose. All right. So what you do is you place a light at 45 degrees to the person's face. It's usually as high as you can get it above towards the ceiling and tilt it down and pointed towards their face.

[00:13:29] But it's 45 degrees off to the side. Now, if that person perceives that they have the the proverbial best side. Ooh, this is my best side. Well, then put the light on that side. Okay. We're going to make this the brightest light. And we call it the key light. It's the main light of lighting that person. The key light. So what happens when you hit someone in the face with a light from the side at 45 degrees? Angles. Angles. Well, a shadow forms on the other side of their nose. Remember I said, shadows make the character. So you manipulate how dark of a shadow that is by putting another less intense light on the other side of their face to fill in that shadow. This is called obviously, the fill light. You're filling in that shadow. You can't make the light as intense. Or would they cancel each other out? It has to be less intense and you can make it less intense by dimming it or moving it further away. All right. Now, how much you reduce the shadow on the nose or around the nose Depends on the effect you're trying to get. Leaving a harsh shadow is more cinematic and dramatic. Leaving a little bit of shadow is more natural and businesslike. All right, so there's the key light and the fill light. Now, the third light you have is above the person and behind them pointed towards the back of their head. This light is the least intense and is designed to set the person apart from the background.

[00:15:14] And just overall, you'd like to be as far from your background, even in a small office as you can. Sometimes we open the door and move the camera down the hall and zoom in so you can get further away from the wall. We don't want what we call the convict. Look where you're up against a white wall, Right? So? So we don't want that. Now, this backlight, a lot of times, if you see the award shows and really watch the stars, you can see like hitting it on the back of their shoulders and their heads. Even though they're 40 feet away from the background, they still want to set them apart. And that's what a backlight is. Now, if I only had two lights, the backlight is the one I'd leave out. You know, I definitely need to fill light in the key light. Okay, Let's switch gears and talk about natural light. See, the problem with natural light is that you can't depend on it. Maybe you have some beautiful light that comes into your office. Well, the problem is it may change or it will change in the middle of your production. All right. Maybe it's a cloudy day, and one minute the sun is blasting through the window, and the next minute a cloud goes by and blocks the sun. And what happens when the sun goes down.

[00:16:27] See, this will drive you crazy trying to get things done. You're better off getting a blackout cloth from go down to Joann fabrics or your fabric store and tell them you want blackout cloth and just cover the window. You don't have to put it permanent if you don't want to. You can just clip it up there with clips from Home Depot and and cut out the lights. This way you can shoot any time, day or night and depend on getting a good video every time You're not crossing your fingers that the light will be good that day. All right. Now, earlier I mentioned soft and diffused light is the most pleasing. Well, if you're planning to shoot outdoors, the absolute best time is when you have an overcast sky. There is no better diffuser or thousand mile soft box. All right. Than an overcast sky. See if it's a sunny day. It causes all kinds of problems with harsh shadows and squinting and sweating. And now there's ways around all this, and I'll be glad to teach them to you If you want to come to one of my video weekends and I'll put the link in here for it. It's screw the commute slash video weekend. I believe you've got to take special precautions if you're shooting outside. And in addition to that, we're not talking about audio today, but you do have wind and birds and dogs and everything else making noise. So that's another for another time.

[00:17:54] And don't forget the tip on taking off. 20 years is coming soon, right? Now, the next topic that I don't want you to get too whacked out on. I just want you to know it exists. And and it's called color temperature. See, I'm not going to go into this too deep, but just jot down and remember these two numbers, 3200 K and 5600 K. Now, don't ask me why, but light has a temperature to it listed on what is called the Kelvin scale. I have no idea. I don't pretend to know the science behind this, just the practicality of knowing what kind of color light I want. Now, do you remember the kind of yellowish light it would have? Like a yellow tint from an older light bulb? Well, that's 3200 K and that's considered warm. Light warm is the lower the temperature for some reason is the the warmer it is. I mean, a candle is like 1500 K it's so warm and fuzzy and cuddly, you know. So if you want your scene to be warm, you'd want to use and give them that warm fuzzy feeling. You'd want to use 3200 k lights. If you see a video light bulb listed as 3200 K, you know, it's a warm light. Now the other common one is 5600 K, which is more like daylight at like high noon and it's considered cool light. So, you know, so that's crazy. Like, what does this mean to you? Well, if you were doing a sales presentation, you would want cool high noon daylight.

[00:19:33] You wouldn't want warm and cuddly storytelling in front of the fire light that's going to put him to sleep. The. Now, much of this can be done with filters nowadays, so don't worry about it as much. And and I guess I would be remiss in this basic lighting episode if I didn't talk about white balance. So first of all, you're really gung ho and let's say you want to manually control your camera to the nth degree. And most of you don't need to do this. Virtually all cameras you would ever use has have automatic white balance. So what's white balance? Well, in the most simple terms, it's that after you set up all your lights, that the things that are white actually look white to the camera. Maybe you mixed up two different lights, one warm and one cool. Well, don't worry. Most cameras will figure it out and give you an acceptable video. I didn't say great video, but certainly acceptable. But actually, my Hollywood guy taught me that the only thing that really matters is your flesh tone. So he may be a white mug, looks white, but if your face looks green, then you messed up. Okay? It's not going to matter too much if the drapes don't show up their exact color. But if your face looks weird, well, that's not good. Mine looks weird even when the white balance is on.

[00:20:57] Right. But that's a different story. Now, one of my advanced tricks that I learned from the Hollywood guy is much too deep for our discussion. But he taught me you can get a set of cards that are different colors, like off white and blue and green. And he taught me to trick the camera, to adjust all its colors by, let's say, holding up a blue card and telling the camera it's white. All right. The camera is going to adjust all its colors, thinking that blue is white and make a more cool scene. I think it might be backwards and I forget. Again, it's too deep for this discussion, but it's a great example of learning from a real pro. All right. Now, let's talk about lighting your background. This is now there's a video you must watch on YouTube. It's about 9 minutes long and it's the way you find it. You go to Tom, you Google, know your YouTube, Tom Antion, and then lighting with cookies. And I'm not kidding. All right. The the device that we're talking about here is called a cookie, short for the term cookie loris from Hollywood. And and so in the theater. So just type in Tom Antion lighting with cookies and it's going to show you how to do beautiful, gorgeous lighting effects with a piece of cardboard and a cheap light. Okay. It's just gorgeous. If you went to buy the piece of cardboard at the video place, 80 bucks I show you on the video how to make it with an X-Acto knife.

[00:22:33] That's it. So so make sure you check that out because your backgrounds can really make you look the whole thing look gorgeous. And it's natural. It's not electronic and it's just beautiful. If you really want to take it to the next level, watch that video. Okay. Are you ready to take 20 years off your face now if you're only 20 years old and listening to this, I'm not sure this works that great. Right. But here's the technique and there's two ways to do it. One is that you have a piece of white foam core on your lap. Now foam core is just a rigid sheet. I guess it's some plastic type material and you position the foam core so that the lights in front of you bounce off the foam core and up under your chin. You can't really just use a big piece of construction paper because it's flexible and the light will be bouncing all over the place. So go to Walmart, ask them where the foam core is and buy a white one. A lot of the kids use these at science projects and stuff like that. $2 probably. The other method is to have a small spotlight low to the ground out. The camera doesn't see it, but it's pointing up under your chin. I mean, the people when this guy, this Hollywood guy was teaching this for me during the retreat.

[00:24:00] The the people, mostly ladies, but the guys works just as good for guys. Just couldn't believe it. I mean, they were just flabbergasted on the way they looked on video with this light hitting them up under the chin. Now, my Hollywood guy also told me that when Katie Couric answers excuse me, anchors a program, she has lights in the desk shining up through plexiglass so that she keeps looking younger than she is. All right. So there you have it. Make yourself look great on video with lights if you want. Hands on training. Check out my two day VIP video weekend where you learn how to market with video. We shoot a bunch of videos for you. You learn how to make a great and interesting video out in the field. We travel around Virginia Beach and and I show you how to make a marketing video that will never be duplicated by anybody else on location. It's really cool. Check that out at screwthecommute.com/videoweekend. We have groups a couple times a year or you can book a one on one or if you put together for other people then you can come for free. All right. For that VIP video weekend, screwthecommute.com/videoweekend. That's my story. I'm just going to stick to it and I'm going to go light a video. See you later.