Mass Communication theory describes anything that interferes with a message as ‘noise in the channel.’   Noise can be more than sounds.  In video, it can be poor writing, bad audio, shaky camera work, a distracting background, to name a few.

Poor lighting is something that turns people off in a real hurry.  Why?  Because production techniques have advanced so much over the years that we just plain expect good lighting.  True, what I call the ‘YouTube effect’ has lowered our expectations, but bad lighting can be so distracting that you lose message credibility – just like having a websighte phull of missppellings.

Remember, on the Internet viewers are only one click away from going somewhere else, and while they’re watching your video you can bet their finger is already on the mouse, ready to click!

Lighting is important because of an indisputable physical fact:  the camera sees light differently than we do.

  1. It does not have the contrast range from light to dark that our eyes do.  Consequently, really dark and light things do not show up well, and other differences appear extreme.  For example, we can look at someone standing in the sun and to our eye they look pretty good.  But the contrast between sun and shadow in the camera looks terrible.
  2. Not all light is the same color.  Outdoor lighting is bluish, fluorescent greenish, and incandescent light yellowish.  Our eyes don’t have much trouble with those differences, but the camera sure does.

How can we deal with these differences?  Here are a couple tips:

  1. Never shoot someone in front of a window, the camera can’t handle the difference in light, and your subject will be a silhouette.
  2. Put them in the shade, not the direct sun.
  3. Avoid mixed types of lighting. Try to stay in one type of light entirely.

With online video becoming an essential element of business marketing, it’s important there be no distractions.

Author: Rick Dearborn is president of MarketVid, an online community of marketing video users.