Must-Have Tools for the Best Lighting

Must-Have Tools for the Best Lighting


We always hear “lights, camera, action” when filming starts to roll. It is a cliché, but there is a big reason why "lights" is mentioned first out of the three and that is because films (or even photos) look so much better if you have the proper lighting. It does not mean all shots should be overflowing with light. It is about having a well-designed plan that centers on lighting, which will bring the richness of bright whites and rich blacks in every scene.

To have a well-lit environment, you need the right set of tools. Your light kit should be of good quality at least with plenty of accessories, along with diffusers and reflectors. Here are the things required to achieve the best lighting:


Lighting Instruments

You have four types of choices here, and each of them has a unique style in capturing light:

Pan or broad light refers to the lighting instrument with an open face. As its name suggests, it is broad and is wider than its total height. The lamp it uses is a long horizontal tube. It is mostly used in TV and theater as the area lighting and set lights, specifically when they have the large, powerful versions. Pan light can be small as well and is used in video production for lighting significant areas and give a scene its fill light.

Reflector spot is also a piece of open-faced production equipment with a bulb surrounded by a bowl that has high reflective capabilities. It is a multi-purpose light used for fill, key, or backlighting.


Fresnel light comes with a Fresnel lens or a glass lens in its front portion. It is designed to focus on bringing the light forward, which makes it perfect for key lighting. Soft light provides light for interviews or in creating light without shadows. 

You can use one or combine some with the others to get the lighting effect you desire.



Aside from the lighting instruments mentioned above, you will also need to know about the types of bulbs to have the best lighting for your project. There are various types of lamps, but the major ones include halogen or quartz, incandescent, Hydrargyrum Medium arc-length Iodide (or HMI), and fluorescent.

You may be wondering which among these lamp types will work for you. Halogens are the most commonly used, especially in videos because they burn brightly and there are different wattages. They are also color-rated for shooting videos, meaning they mostly produce whites. Unfortunately, they can be very hot and may be dangerous.

Meanwhile, incandescent lights typically appear in living rooms. You will notice that they have that warm, soft light that gives an orangey tinge. They can be quite weak though and too colored, which is why they are not preferred in making videos. 
Most professionals choose HMI because it provides the color temperature of daytime while delivering intense yet even results. Unfortunately, HMI is expensive and may also need an external ballast to control its power.

Fluorescents, on the other hand, offer bright and steady light without getting too hot unlike with halogens. They also have low power usage, and they have tubes you can switch to daylight from indoor color temperatures.



Aside from the lamps and bulbs, you also need some accessories to have excellent lighting for your videos. Some essential accessories include:

  • Mounts
  • Barndoors
  • Carrying cases
  • Gels
  • Scrims
  • Softboxes
  • Adjustable bulbs
  • Stands
  • Umbrellas

For capturing videos, diffusers and reflectors are a must as well. You should not start a project without them.