The Importance of Lighting When Filming With Your Mobile Phone


The Importance of Lighting When Filming With Your Mobile Phone

In my last article, I was reflecting upon how important it is to have a couple of gadgets at hand if you are going to be filming with your smart device.  The first gadget was a stabiliser to avoid the human inability of keeping the camera completely still.

The second important aspect of filming with your smart device is lighting and if you’re impromptu filming, then this can be really tricky because you can’t always be in control.

Making sure your video production lighting looks good all comes down to video lighting basics. The best place to start is with three-point lighting, ensuring your subject is well lit. Here is a basic explanation from Izzy Hyman.

  1. The Key Light – This is the main light used on your subject.
  2. The Fill Light – The purpose of this light is to fill in the shadows created by the key light, preventing them from getting too dark.
  3. The Back Light – This is used to separate the subject from the background.


However, this looks relatively easy if you’ve got the time to set it up, but the reality is, that more often than not, you’re not going to have the time to set this all up.

So what’s the solution?

  • Use natural light where possible – for example: If the person is outside, then all you have to do is use the natural light around your subject and by simply adding a key light, you can make sure the subjects face is well lit. If indoors, you could use the light coming in from outside as the back light or fill light and improvise with some portable lights for the others.
  • Buy portable lighting kit: Purchasing a portable, light-weight light pack can enable you to quickly and easily set up a three-point lighting system in a couple of minutes.

The moment I write this, this technology will be superseded with a newer version, but for the meantime I recommend you check out Rift Labs KICK Full Color Video Light along with its iPhone/Android App.

Fully portable, small, lightweight, remote control, battery & USB powered along with some really cool lighting effects. Purchase the diffuser and light stand, you’ve got your own portable film studio!

The most important thing is to keep lighting in mind when it comes to impromptu filming.  You’re not always going to have the time to set up a three-point lighting system, so just adlib with what you have at hand. Perhaps a desk lap, an iPhone light, natural light, what ever is at hand can work just as well if you follow the principles of the three-point lighting system.

Thinking about getting serious about filming with your mobile? Then here’s your mobile filming equipment shopping list.


If you’re interested in learning more about video production skills and techniques, then click here.

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