Web Shows: Lighting Tips on a Budget

Lighting is a very important part of web shows, but the budget for web shows will be reduced compared to full blown concerts. However, just because you are functioning on a budget does not mean that the light quality should suffer. The lighting that is used is just as important as the performance and content of the video. The key to getting the most from your lighting equipment is the ability to mix and match and be as flexible with the equipment that is on hand.

Direct Light

Using direct light is the easiest because it does not need to bounced off anything or shaded. Think of this like the uncovered light bulb. Almost any type of device can produce direct light which can be used to create very intense shadows. Using a desk lamp found at home, it is possible to easily create direct light.

3 Main Lights

Of any type of lighting, it is best to have 3 light sources. The main lights should include a key light, fill light and back light. These lights can be arranged in different positions to create different lighting effects. When creating a web show, there is a lot that can be done with only 3 lights. Experiment with how changing the angle of the light changes the look of the video.

Color Gels

It is possible to create your own color gels with simple office supplies. Color gels can be expensive and they are not always necessary. To create your own, see about finding different colored transparencies at an office supply store. These will be heat resistant, as they are used on overheads. Simply tape it to the front of your light, and you have an instant color gel for a fraction of the price.

Fog or Mist

In order for rain, fog or mist to appear on the camera, then it needs to be back lit. Back lighting can easily be attained with any old light that is found in your home. Simply swap out the bulb for a low wattage so the back lighting does not overpower the scene. If you have too much backlight, then it is impossible to see the performer's faces.

Range of Light Bulbs

Have on hand a range of different light bulbs ranging from 200 watts to 500 watts. It is not necessary to buy the most expensive bulbs either. These lights will not be on at all times so ones with shorter life spans can help keep costs down.


The best way to be able to create directional light is to have the light mounted on tripods. This way, you can be shooting and still achieve the lighting you desire easily. There are special light tripods that are relatively inexpensive and can be found in a local hardware store.

Light Diffusers

Light diffusers make the light appear as if it is coming from all over instead of one direction. The easiest way to achieve this is to bounce the light off a white wall. If this is not possible, then an old white bed sheet can be hung in front of the light. It will be necessary to build the framework to hold the sheet, though an old clothes drying rack works well.


It is possible to do final light tweaks using video editing software. This is a good option if you do not have a lot of light equipment to work with.