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What is diffused light and how to use it in video production? 

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A video production consists of multiple aspects that uplift the final product. There are actors, a sound team, a creative direction team, makeup artists, costumers, and so many more contributors. When you make a film you cannot compromise on the necessities of the production and lighting is one such department that needs to be pitch-perfect as it plays a huge role in creating the look and feel of the film. Lighting a film is an art that can come naturally to some but most budding filmmakers do struggle to achieve their vision as they lack practice.

While the basics of lighting might be clear to many, magic happens when you start playing and experimenting with lights on set! One such magic trick is the use of diffused light in video production.

What is diffused light and how to use it in video production? Let’s find out. 

diffused light set up on film set

What is diffused light in video production? 

Before hopping on to diffused light in video production, we must have an understanding of diffusion. Diffusion is the process to spread the light coming from the light source in a manner that reduces glare and crisp shadows. A diffused light does the same in video production, it is used so that the frame and the subject don’t get burnt out or produce dark shadows that can be a distraction. Diffused light can be applied in video production using a variety of methods and tools.

Why is it important to understand diffused light?

Diffused light is like sunlight on a cloudy day, we get enough light on such days but the shadows are soft and negligible. Similarly, while filming harsh lights can spoil the frame, making it unwatchable.

Harsh lights don’t have a diffusor medium that scatters the light to allow a soothing frame but there is no interference between the source of light and the subject. Sometimes, the intensity of harsh light is so close to the subject that it brings out awful results making it impossible to capture a scene. This is where diffusion saves the day and balances out the light coming from the source.

Diffused light

Diffused lights have a lot of applications in film and video. 

When to apply diffused light in a film?

Ideally, you would want to apply diffused light to create a realistic look and while keeping your subject in the focus. Using a diffused light enhances the frame as it adds an aesthetic value that comes across as beautiful.

You won’t always get the perfect light conditions according to the script on the day of your shoot. In such scenarios, angular diffused lighting helps create the desired mood of a scene.

Diffused lighting is an essential part of the lighting process and must be applied whenever required. If you want natural ambient light you can opt to shoot on an overcast day or during the golden hour. 

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How to use diffused light in video production?

Enough knowledge about diffused light and its applications, now let’s talk about utilizing it in your next shoot.

How to use diffused light? Well, there are many ways to approach light diffusion in video production. It all depends on the requirement and the scale at which you shoot your video.

Diffused light gels

Lighting Gels are sheets made of thin plastic that are colored and translucent. These lighting gels are used by filmmakers to shift tones. Similar sheets are available made of plastic that acts as diffusers as well as changes the tone of the frame. It helps in changing the color temperature and managing the intensity of the light at the same time. Choosing the correct color gel according to the mood of the scene is extremely important to hit the emotion of the film perfectly. 

Diffused light silks

Silks change the way light interacts with the subject. A silk is added on a light stand between the source and the subject with the help of a metal frame. When used with gels it can create a wonderful dreamy effect. Silks are often used to cheat golden hour lighting with the use of warm lights. They’re super effective in spreading the light and are often used in large-scale productions. You must use a sandbag at the end of the frame to perfectly balance the silk metal frame and to avoid any mishaps during the shoot. 

Diffused light bounce

Another way to create diffused light is by bouncing the light off walls using a showcard. On a bigger frame, the bounce is usually made out of Griffon material. This works well and helps you light the frame from the angle opposite to that of the source, thus saving you from the effort of setting up another light with a diffuser.

Light up your next video in Clipchamp

Now that you have ample knowledge to light up your scene, you can play around with the look and feel of the scene.

In case you don't get the lighting right, Clipchamp’s video editor is here to save the day with simple exposure, saturation and contrast settings that you can play with for free.

adjust lighting example made with clipchamp

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