Problems with lighting and colors

gqmartins Posts: 9 Just Starting Out*
edited January 2021 in Practical Filmmaking

Hello there,

I'm doing videos for my YouTube channel about cooking. I already finished one but had a hard time masking because lighting and colors kept changing, specially on the cutting board. Right now I'm only using natural light from a window in my kitchen, but I would like to buy some lighting equipment in order to make the video editing less of a pain. Do you have any recommendations on which equipment to purchase, or ways to deal with this?

I'll attach images to show the setup, and the difference in color. The window is in front of me.

Thanks in advance for all the help!



  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,641 Moderator

    @gqmartins It sounds to me like it’s your camera that’s giving you the majority of the issues. You mentioned that the colors and lighting in the video are always changing? Even though this can be partially caused by your window light source (especially on a partly cloudy day), it often has to do with your camera using it’s automatic settings. Even though using manual settings initially takes more time, it actually saves you way more time in editing.

    Look up a guide on how to use the manual settings on your camera. If you’re using a phone, there’s options you can use in the default camera app, but it may be beneficial to get an app that can give you even more control (Filmic Pro is a good investment if you’re on iPhone).

    Once you nail down the manual settings, you’ll usually only need to use color correction for basic changes, and you can use color grading for that extra pop.

    While setting your camera manually makes a huge difference, lights can also help. You don’t have to get fancy, even a $10 lamp from Walmart can go a long way. Just remember to get bulbs that use the same color temperature. For your videos (just based on what I’m seeing) I’d recommend something between 4000K or 5000K (cool white or daylight). Once you’ve gotten more light, consider covering the window so that you’re not at the mercy of the sun and clouds.

  • gqmartins
    gqmartins Posts: 9 Just Starting Out*

    @triforcefx Never thought it could be the camera, but now that you mention it makes total sense! Thanks for the tips!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,292 Power User

    Getting the camera locked on a manual white balance setting will take care of MOST of the problem. As the sun moves across the sky color temperature WILL change, but a lot less than your two images.

    Do you have a budget? There are so many lighting options available, knowing your budget will help make recommendations.

    I do suggest taking a look on YouTube for "DIY video lights" and "Film Riot DIY lighting." Whatever lights you use the important things are that the lights themselves match in color temp. You could use a couple of scoop lights with tissue paper taped on the front as long as the bulbs you put in match.

    In general, for "video" lighting, well, 2021 is a great time to buy. There are ridiculous amounts of cheap LED lights available for well under $100 each. Many of these lights even have smartphone apps for dialing in colors, setting up special effects or neat utility functions like "take a picture of your wall and the app will set the light to the same color." Look for "RGBWW" lights. These will combine red, green and blue LEDs with "Warm White" and "Cool White" LEDs. If you don't need/want the ability to dial in vibrant light colors then look for "bi-color" LED lights. These will have warm and cool white LEDs just to match the color temperatures of "white" light from sun and lamp.

    Don't forget to take into account how you'll set up the lights. DIY lights with scoop lights - those will have clamps and you can stick em on almost anything. video/studio lights likely have 1/4" screw holes and you'll need some light stands. Light stands are cheap - should be able to get those for about $20.

    If you search on sites like Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo Video (I'm in the USA, if you're elsewhere your shopping site will vary) for light kits you might find some good bundles of multiple lights and stands.

    Here's a decent kit - two large panels and stands:

    This particular light might be of interest. It's an on-camera light, but it's got a unique articulating arm that makes it easy to aim if put on a stand, a camera or a mini tripod. If you shop around you can find it at a better price than shown here - Used ones going for as low as $35 on ebay. New as low as $75 on newegg.

    This light isn't the brightest, but it's got a lot of color feature, and, uniquely, has magnets on the back, so you could quickly stick them on, say a refrigerator. Also has the 1/4" screw hole, but the magnets are kind of nifty.

    I have a videographer buddy who has both the Boling and Aputure lights I've listed above. Both are great. I'm probably gonna pick up at least one of each for myself.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    The easiest way to light something like that would be to get a pair of the new Lowel LED Totas and a big, honkin' sheet of silk. Hang the silk at around a 45 degree angle above and in front of you, and flood the back of it with light from the Totas, and Bob's christmas list gets a little bigger.

    Since they have SOME dimming range, you'd even be able to make one side a little darker than the other, making you and your food look a little more 3 dimensional. If you wear white, you'd make a good reflector, conveniently back lighting your food, and helping to give it a nice highlight rim.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    The catch of course is that you'd end up with something that looks like it was shot by a professional rather than a typical digit-potato channel. 🤣

  • gqmartins
    gqmartins Posts: 9 Just Starting Out*

    Playing with the camera settings really helped and I managed to do what I wanted. I'll definitely look into the lighting further down if my videos get some views. Thanks you all for the responses!