You’ve finally upgraded your lights to the big leagues:  Beautiful, professional lights that will make your subjects shine bright.  However, you may have run into a problem.  Maybe those lights are too bright.  Maybe you’re getting all sorts of shadows, and your subject doesn’t look natural, not to mention they’re uncomfortable with these harsh lights bearing down on them.  Not to worry: there is a way to reduce that harsh light by using diffusion.  A simple way to make the light easier on the eyes, on your subject, and in your video.

Diffusion: When Your Lights Are Too Darn Bright

Why do you need diffusion?  You’re changing the quality of the light you’re shooting with.  If you’re unsure of whether your light is hard or soft, take a look at this nifty article.  But essentially, hard light creates very defined shadows, soft light creates opaque and spread-out shadows.  Tungsten lights tend to be harsh (brighter).  They produce darker shadows, and bring out imperfections.

Diffusion comes in several different grades to help give the light a softer look, allowing the light to wrap around the subject more, reducing the strength of the shadows, and giving the subject’s skin a smoother, younger look.

Decide what kind of diffusion you need from the variety of options you get in a package, and simply clip them to the light’s barn doors.  It’s basically like sticking a piece of wax in front of your light to bring down the intensity of it.  You may need to counter this by opening the iris on your camera to allow in more light.  If that’s not possible, you may simply need to bring the lights closer to the subject.  The light’s brightness will go back up, but you’ll be able to keep the softness.

It’s easy, but don’t just use the first gel you try out.  Try all the different ones in your arsenal to find the one that best works for you.

A ton more Reel Rebel tips on all kinds of lighting:

For the very basics on lighting, go to this video right here.  It’s Video Lighting Basics 101.

Need to know the basics of color temperature?  Look no further.