Video Production Lights Anyone Can Afford

Watch on YouTube: Affordable Video Production Light Kit

This post is all about video production lights that anyone can afford.

I was on a music video shoot a few years ago and the gaffer (the person who lights the set), who was a veteran in the music video business told me that, “lighting is everything.” (You can watch the behind the scenes music video shoot below)

That is the truth.  Without light, what do you have? Darkness, and if you’re trying to capture an important moment, or an interview, the light you use, or don’t use will  make or break your shoot. Lighting sets mood, helps establish time of day, and should help focus the viewer to what’s important on screen.

Bad lighting is a sure way to cook up a bad video. Garbage.

Before I go any further, understand that all light is not created equal.
You can invest in professional video production lights which can cost thousands, or hundreds generally, or use more affordable, household  lights to light your set or subject.  You can even use hardware store halogen work lights, but these lights are hot, cast hard light and strong shadows. Not ideal.  I’ve used lights that range from halogen work lights to pricey LED lights.

For the affordable, low budget option, I’ve taken a liking to compact flourescents (CFLs). I started using CFLs recently in my home studio with hardware store clamp lights.  This is certainly an affordable video lighting  solution, especially if you have a couple of music stands or spare tripods to use as light stands.

Affordable Video Production Lights


$60 Cowboy Studio Lights

In surfing of the Internets, I  found a light kit that was too price friendly to pass up from Cowboy Studio

My son Devin was so excited when the package arrived that I asked him to help me open it. This kit comes with three 45W CFLs, three light stands, two umbrellas and three light sockets which connect the light to the stands.

It was very easy to set up and since the lights are much cooler than traditional incandescent lights, I didn’t have to worry so much about my son turning them on and handling them. The quality of the stands and sockets is okay. I probably won’t use these outside of my home studio, and these are certainly not professional lights.

The 45W (225W) CFLs work fine, but you may find yourself having to place the lights close to the subject to get the desired illumination.

The good thing is that once you buy the kit, you can find ways to upgrade the lights.  For example, you can swap out the 45W (225W) lights with ($33) 105W (400W) CFLs and you’ll get a stronger throw.

You could even buy a ($13) dual light socket and two 105W (400W) CFLs for each stand, and you should be good to go.

I think these lights will work great for any simple home studio.

Daylight Vs Artificial Light

Unless you’re familiar with basic light principles, you probably never paid much attention specifics related to lights.  For example, did you notice that daylight has more of a cold blue hue, while most household artificial light has more of a warm orange hue?

Daylight or natural light has a color temperature of 5500 Kelvin which is whiter light, while artificial light is 3200 Kelvin which is more orange as noted above.  Just pay attention to the color temperature of the lights you buy because you should make sure that all of the lights that used to light your set or subject are the same.  One last thing: don’t forget to white balance! More on that later.  

Just remember any light is generally better then no light.

What kind of lights do you use?  Have any questions?

Here is that music video shoot that I was talking about at the beginning of the post.

About Amani Channel

Amani Channel is a former news reporter, a vlogger, an award winning video producer, and an adjunct professor. He also helps organizations and companies create visual stories through VisualEyeMedia.

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  1. ms.johnson says:

    hi sir I was just browsing the web because I am learning final cut plus.
    I will like to know a little bit more about mobile technology for video production and what it is. in other words what does it consist of.
    I don’t have a web site yet. because I am learning how to build a website

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