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List of Video Lighting Accessories

written by: Shawn S. Lealos•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 5/23/2011

When preparing to light a video, it is always important to be ready for anything and have all the video lighting accessories needed to battle specific lighting conditions. Whether you are wanting to soften lights, change colors or limit the light in your shots, here are the items you need.

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    Reflectors

    Shooting the light directly at a subject is not always desirable. The reflectors are video lighting accessories used to bounce the Key Light off of to help evenly light your main subject matter. Reflectors come in various size and colors. They normally come in white, silver and gold, each color providing different light quality.

    White reflectors help diffuse the light on the subjects to make it appear more natural and less harsh. Silver reflectors cast sharp, sparking light onto the main subject. The gold reflector helps to warm the skin tones of the people in the shot.

    Reflectors are also used to bounce light from natural sources, such as lamps or the sun, onto the subjects to make sure the light is evenly distributed. This helps filmmakers keep the sunlight from shining directly into the subject’s eyes, as the reflector will allow you to turn your subject from the sun and use the reflector to make sure the face is still lit up.

    The price of reflectors is reasonable with a multi-pack costing around $20 as of December 2010. People on a shoestring budget can also buy white poster board to use as a stand-in for reflectors, although it produces a lesser quality of light.

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    Gels

    Gels are tools to help change the temperature of the lighting in a shot. These video lighting accessories are used to correct light levels, diffuse light levels and to add color to specific shots. Some gels can also be purchased to correct colors of fluorescent lights and outdoor lighting while shooting indoors.

    Gels can be used to add artistic touches to scenes by allowing the filmmaker to splash areas of the set with colors. It is important to understand the color levels of your shot before choosing to use a specific gel. Certain colors, like red, are warm colors and give off a high energy. The gels can also be used to give the shot a specific look, such as using a blue gel to create the feel of moonlight.

    The price of gels is very inexpensive, ranging from $5 up to $35 as of December 2010. Most gels can be bought in packages with various colors in them. It is also important to buy a gel frame because if the gels get too close to the bulbs, they will melt. Gel frames run between $6 to $25 and clip onto the light fixture.

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    Barn doors

    A barn door is a video lighting accessory that clips onto the front of a light and has four hinged doors, one on each side. The barn doors keep light from reaching areas it is not intended to go. These are very important when you want to make sure one subject in the shot is lit up completely while something else is cast in shadows.

    The price of barn doors ranges from $14 up to $40 as of December 2010, depending on quality.

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    Umbrella

    Umbrellas are an inexpensive video lighting accessory that hook to the light poles and reflect a soft light back onto the subject. A light shone directly onto the subject produces a harsh light with crisp shadows. An umbrella offers lighter shadows with the light wrapping around the subject. The use of two umbrellas can eliminate almost all of the shadows completely.

    The price of umbrellas can range from $5 up to $20 based on the size and weight of the umbrella. Kits can also be bought, with the lights and umbrellas coming as a package deal, with the more reasonable rates around $35 to $85 as of December 2010.

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    Softbox

    A softbox works the same as an umbrella for a slightly different look. The softbox turns a bright, harsh light into a softer tone. Using the softbox, a filmmaker can achieve two different looks in the shot, a harsh key light from one direction and a soft light from the other to emphasize outlines of subjects and shadows. Unlike the umbrellas, these video lighting accessories do not completely eliminate the shadows. By placing the large softboxes close to the subject, the light wraps around the subject and lessens the harsh shadows.

    The price of softboxes as of December 2010 range from $10 to $50, depending on quality.

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    Mounts

    There are times where light poles are not feasible and the lighting needs to be clipped and hung in various places around the room. In those cases, it is always important to carry mounts to place lights on shelves, window seals and more. The mounts vary anywhere in price from $30 to $100 depending on the type of mount. Some mounts can suction to windows while others bracket to ceilings.