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The Video Camera, has a one to three chips or plates, called CCD's (Charge Coupled Device's), these are electronic devices which measure the amount of light striking the various parts of the surface. A signal is sent what amounts to a small computer, which reads that light and converts it to a series of lines. These lines are the lines that are traced across your television screen to make the picture.

These Chips are 1/3, 1/2 or 2/3 of an inch, most of the consumer cameras are 1/3. The larger the chip the better the picture, because more light hits the chip giving camera more information to make a picture.

The newer cameras have color viewfinders and many have doors which open with a small screen. The addition to color in the viewfinder and screen has improved the cameramans ability to actually see what he is recording, and it has also given him a few more problems to solve. The screen is really useful and frees you from looking in the viewfinder, but it may confuse you about the color and the exposure. These screens can be tilted and the tilt of the screen will change the way you see the picture. It may be dark or light and the color may seem strange, you should close the door and use the viewfinder when you are checking to see if the exposure and white-balance color temerature are correct. Then open the door again and use it for reference to frame your shots and follow the action.

This is the technical side of the camera, the way the light is read. Now we will talk about lighting itself.
We have two basic types of light available to us, sunlight and artifical lights. Both of these present problems for the videographer and the problem is compounded when you must deal with both.
You should remember to WHITE BALANCE after you have established/set your lights.


1. the quality of the sunlight will change durring the day. The Early morning and late afternoon light is considered to be the best for video. The light is even and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky.
2. Use the white balance "SET" control, this control will read the exact color temerature for that moment and set the camera appropriately.
3. Pay attention to where the sun is when you shoot, you will have better results if the sun is behind you. 4. Sometimes, your subject will be heavily shadowed on one side and bright on the other. Reflecting the sun will often correct the problem.
you can make an efficent reflector from and aluminium sided piece of foam insulation. One side will be highly reflective metal, the other white and soft. On location you can decide which to use for the effect you want. Look through the view finder (hopefully you will have a color viewfinder) have your assistant move the reflector untill the picture looks good.
5. Do not shoot into the sun.
6. When you are in the shade, reflecting the light using one or more reflectors will make your subject look good. You may still have to compensate for back light, by opening the iris, if the background is bright.

Remember this - light is light - and the camera is designed to capture it. Another way of stating this is - you are recording the light reflecting off of objects.
You will find there are advertisements for "Video Lights". but any type of light fixture may be used. The placement of the light is the important thing.


This section will have illustrations to show the methods for this technique

With 3 point lighting you are exactly controling the placement of the light - fresenell lights - allow you to make these controls.
The light fixture itself - will have a slider on the bulb - this movement places the bulb closer or farther away from the reflector - this allows you to spot light or flood an area.
The metal shades are called barn-doors, these allow you to shade the light and only light an exact area.
(plans will be shown later for making your own fresnell lights, materials - tools - and plans - these units can cost a few hundred dollars each )

This is a very general description for lighing one person. with 3 point lighting you should remember you are lighting each person individually. 1. one light above the person high and behind them. This light will light the edges of the person and set them off from the background.
2. set two lights each at a 45 degree angle to the person and both shine downward at approximately a 45 degree angle- 3. One light is useally closer than the other - strong light on one side and softer light on the other will make the person round instead of flat. 4. Your camera is useally placed between these two lights, but not always -


This light is useally near the camera
This is useally a light with a white filter in front of it. This light provides a soft over all light on the subject. When you can only use one light this will even out the light on your subject.


When you are taping, dance recitals, plays, or bands is the most common time you will have to deal with color lighting. You will have to adjust the exposure, perhaps the shutter speed to make the picture look good. Adjusting the white balance, may defeat the color lights and ruin the effect which the group wanted.

Adequate light is more important than the type of light. In this vein there are a number of lights which I am experimenting with. The large battery powered flood lights and battery powered flouresent lights are the types I am playing with now. The term video light throws a lot of people off, making them think those are the only lights you can use. You must remember the white-balance function, by white balancing the camera for the light source you are using, you will achieve the correct color for your tape.
the strength of the light and the way it diffuses will be important for you. This really is falling into the realm of do it yourself. You should play around with different lights, and see what the results are.

Stage lighting and television lighting are parallel in use - the strength of the light is a major difference. The stage must have strong lights, but the studio needs less light. Distance is one factor and the cameras of today simply dont need the strong lights.

I want to bring us back to this point - this manual is for the beginner and the home video maker - You will benefit from knowing the professional approaches to production, and by being able to adapt what you have you can produce - work which will be as professional as the best.

One major point for all your location lighting, THE LIGHT MUST HAVE ITS OWN BATTERY. The camera battery will not sustain a light and last. Just when you need the camera your battery will die.

While on the subject of batterys, small motor-cycle batterys are an excellent choice. you can have a battery bag, which contains 1. the battery, 2 A battery charger, 3. a voltage converter, 4. Extension cords for both A/C and D/C. If you set this up correctly you could also power your camera from this same battery.

-----to be continued--- designs for home made light fixtures --
a list of commerical lighting sources
inexpensive subsitutes from discount stores and sporting good stores