Cameron Frost Reveals 7 Lighting Tips for Dynamic DSLR Videos


Fri, Oct 4th, 2013 | Posted In: Sponsored Stories | Written by: JD Liddil

As the video capabilities on digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras become more sophisticated, more still photographers like Cameron Frost are incorporating videography and video editing skills into their repertoire. “Lighting motion picture is just as important as lighting still photography,” says Cameron Frost. The following are some lighting tips to keep in mind to make videos more dynamic.

cameron frost lighting

Thinking small in videography is a good idea, just as long as it is not too small. One of the many advantages to DSLR video is that digital cameras are more portable than traditional video equipment. They allow the videographer to shoot in smaller spaces with better agility. Photographers are accustomed to operating with less equipment than traditional videographers, especially with lighting. “This gives photographers a more creative edge,” explains Cameron Frost. Additionally, DSLR cameras are better equipped to shoot in low light at a higher ISO with minimal camera noise.

A camera’s ISO is how sensitive to light film, or in the case of digital cameras, the digital sensor is. Traditionally, in order to shoot in low light situations, a camera’s ISO had to be very high, which often caused static-looking noise on the image. The more modern DSLRs become, the better they are equipped to photograph with less light and produce a clearer image and video. When cameras require less light to produce a good image, videographers are saved the hassle—and the energy—of carrying cumbersome equipment.

Something else that is just as important to a successful video as it is to a strong still photograph is the color temperature. As with many other factors in photography, the temperature value is opposite of its visual equivalent. For example a cool-looking blue sky would have a very high number, while a warm-colored candle flame would have a very low number.

Understanding color temperature is important when shooting in various light set ups. This is particularly challenging for videographers shooting with ambient light at night, where they have to contend with a mixed palette of colored street signs, yellow tungsten headlights, and green fluorescent store fronts. To combat this issue, photographers can apply plastic gels to the front of their lights to counteract and balance the ambient light.

The advent of small, battery-powered devices that produce continuous LED light flicker-free is one of the most practical innovations for DSLR video. Prior to these devices, videographers depended on lights with bulky battery packs and a much shorter lifespan. More modern lighting equipment provides videographers with a stronger light source and less battery usage. Some LED lighting equipment also has the capability of adjusting color temperature, which eliminates the need for carrying around additional equipment. The only caveat to LED lighting is the cost. “LED lighting equipment is not the most affordable, but what it will save a videographer in time and aggravation makes it worth the investment,” explains Cameron Frost.

Like other factors that bridge between photography and videography, light modifiers can be used to shoot video just as they can be used for still photographs. Something like a parabolic umbrella, a modifier designed for the still photography market, can add a sense of glamour and interest to a scene. These are also typically lightweight and inexpensive.

Although the issue with videography is often not having enough ambient light and having to light the scene with additional lights, sometimes there is too much light. “If you are not sure, block out the excess light,” suggests Cameron Frost. Ambient light has as much color temperature as the fluorescent storefronts and multicolored window signs. Too much ambient light can have a major impact on how consistent the color is throughout the video.  Cameron Frost’s advice when it comes to controlling the amount of ambient light in a scene is to block it out and add in lights. This will ensure there is consistent color temperature in the each scene.

Videographers need to go into a scene prepared with different lighting options. Shooting with DSLRs gives videographers greater portability and flexibility. While these cameras are more compact, and videographers can in a sense do more with less, it does not mean they should abandon the more traditional approaches to lighting. In the past, both the cost of the camera equipment, as well as the lighting was very cost-prohibitive. “These cost barriers have effectively been removed,” says Cameron Frost. “However, just because videographers can light most scenarios without a ton of gear, it does not mean the old methods should be forgotten.”

Location scouting prior to a shoot is always a good idea. It is especially helpful in terms of determining lighting set ups. First, scouting a scene saves the videographer and their crew money. The videographer will know exactly what time to be on location, and how much ambient light they will have to work with. “The sun will do much more for lighting a scene than any artificial light will,” says Cameron Frost. Indoor shoots also have this obstacle, especially in larger spaces where lights might have to be hung. If the venue is much older and does not allow lights to be rigged up in the ceiling, use a simple bounce card to easily and effectively light individual subjects or the whole room.

Cameron Frost Lists Ways to Achieve Emotional Appeal in Videos

Video advertisements these days are adapting a much more editorial quality. More factors like characters and plot are being utilized to make the advertisement seem less like a sales pitch, and more emotionally appealing. The following are a few ways that videographers can achieve this appeal in their future video assignments.

  • Use a dynamic opening scene to grab the viewer’s attention.
  • Consider DSLR video cameras to traditional video equipment. Aside from their other benefits, they have considerable consumer demand.
  • Use speech within the advertisement quickly and concisely. “Make sure that beyond all of the creativity, you are still featuring the product. Furthermore, do not over embellish the video with unnecessary elements,” says Cameron Frost.


In a pursuit to expand his photography knowledge even further, Cameron Frost has become more and more involved with shooting and editing video. He is currently the art director and lead photographer for Excelsior Media, and resides in Las Vegas with his canine companion, Milo.



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