I have a Rebel T5 Canon camera I use to shoot short videos with. Interviews, short video sketches, scenes from plays. In my living room.

I'm having a huge problem with indoor shooting. No matter how many light fixtures I turn on, bring in from other rooms, or train directly at the person I'm shooting; no matter what kind of bulbs I use, incandescent, CFL, or "flood"; no matter how much I play around with the ISO levels or aperture: everything, and especially the person I'm shooting, comes out either too dark and grainy, or yellow, or too harsh and overexposed (and yellow).

I'm not a cheap moron: I'm a painter on a tight budget.

Would this camera light solve a lot of my problems?

enter image description here

It's NEEWER® 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera / Camcorder Video Light, LED Light for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic,SONY, Samsung and Olympus Digital SLR Cameras, and it's selling for $30 on Amazon.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


This light fixture will not solve your problems. As a painter, you surely understand the need to transfer paint to your canvas, so you choose the correct tool for the job. It could be a brush, an airbrush, a palette knife, your fingers, or you might just pour it on straight out of the bucket. So, too, must you learn to transfer light to your scene.

A light such as an ARRI 300W Fresnel is a scale model of the Ur-light for video. This design pattern scales down to 150W and scales up to 24000W, though it is difficult to work with more than the 1000W model in a home and more often than not you need dedicated electricity to handle more than 2000W in a commercial environment.

The basic Fresnel has good "throw", meaning that it gets a meaningful amount of its light onto your subject in a scene. Because a Fresnel can be focused, you can adjust it from a meaningful flood to a meaningful spot (much more meaningful than a 75W light bulb from Home Depot that lists itself as spot or flood). The basic Fresnel is also a standard input to many lighting modifiers, such as a soft box, which means that in addition to creating "hard" light (distinct shadows) you can create "soft" light (soft shadows or almost no shadows).

Straight-on lighting such as the above device will make your video look a bit like what a photo looks like when you use a flash (if it even has enough light to do its job). Which is not pretty. To light an interview, it is best to use Three Point Lighting as a starting point, and then creatively change from there. You can sometimes ditch the rim light. You can sometimes get away without fill. You can sometimes get away without key (especially if you are interviewing a criminal who does not want their face shown on video). But Three Point Lighting is the starting point.

Of course you can get fresnel lamps with other lighting elements than tungsten: LED, HMI, Plasma, etc. But these are all more expensive than "hot lights".

For your living room, 300W may be Just The Thing, or you may need to step up (650W) or down (150W) a level. But be advised that the way luminosity of LED panel lights is measured, it is much more about the source light level, not the level of light that actually reaches the subject 8' into the room.

Also, if you are getting blown-out highlights, it means your contrast levels (lighting ratios) are wrong. Again, Three Point Lighting is the ticket for balancing highlights and shadows, and with a little practice you can dial in 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 ratios between key and fill, avoiding the typical 10:1 or more ratios you get with only a single key light.


White balance! Can you lock in a color temperature setting on that canon? If you can't manually control shutter 1/30, 1/60 ( or maybe 180 degrees) or if it ignores your ISO when you hit that video button, the image processor may be trying to auto adjust on the fly. This makes tailoring a shot impossible. Consistency is also impossible.

Michael is 100% correct! I would add that diffuser hoods work well with hot lights. I use 1k watt hots with dimmers, it's seems to change the color temp a bit, but it's our only setup right now. I'm looking to get a kilo flow setup too, they are like a fancy fluorescent shop light but way more expensive. This is probably bad advice, "maybe try a shot light from a hardware store. I doubt it'll work, I imagine you'll see a nasty flicker or harshness. But hey it's cheap."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.