Interview Lighting: All You Need to Know

As a content creator, you understand the importance of lighting in creating visually appealing and professional videos. But have you considered the specific lighting needs for interviews?

Interview lighting requires a different approach than regular video lighting. After all, you want your interviewee to look their best, convey their personality, and feel comfortable to provide clear, articulate responses.

In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about interview lighting.

Table Of Contents
    Interview Lighting

    Key Principles of Interview Lighting

    Before diving into the specifics of interview lighting, it's important to understand the key principles that guide the process. These principles are:

    • Illumination: The goal of interview lighting is to illuminate the subject's face and provide enough light to make them visible.
    • Shadows: Shadows can be used creatively to add depth and interest to your shot, but they should not detract from the subject's face. Shadows should be placed in such a way that they enhance the subject's features, rather than obscuring them.
    • Balance: To create a natural-looking shot, the key light (the primary light source) should be balanced with the fill light (a secondary light source used to reduce shadows and soften the overall look).
    • Color temperature: Different light sources emit different color temperatures, and it's important to choose lights that have a color temperature that matches the ambient light in your shooting environment.
    • Quality of light: The quality of light refers to the hardness or softness of the light. Softer light is more flattering for interviews, as it reduces harsh shadows and makes the subject look more natural.

    Essential Equipment for Interview Lighting

    Now that we've covered the key principles of interview lighting, let's talk about the equipment you'll need to get the job done.

    Here's a list of the essential equipment you'll need:

    • Lights: You'll need at least two lights to get started: a key light and a fill light. A third light, called a backlight, can also be used to separate the subject from the background and add depth to the shot.
    • Stands: To position your lights, you'll need light stands. These are adjustable poles that hold the lights in place.
    • Softboxes: Softboxes are boxes that attach to your lights to diffuse the light and make it softer. This is essential for creating a flattering look for your interviewee.
    • Extension cords: To position your lights where you need them, you'll likely need extension cords.

    How to Set up Your Lighting

    With all the equipment you need, it's time to set up your lighting. Here's how to do it:

    • Start with the key light: Place your key light directly in front of the subject and to the side. This will provide the primary source of illumination for the face.
    • Add the fill light: The fill light should be placed on the opposite side of the key light and directed at the subject's face. This will fill in the shadows created by the key light and create a more balanced look.
    • Use a backlight: If you're using a backlight, place it behind the subject and aimed at their back. This will separate the subject from the background and add depth to the shot.
    • Soften the light: Attach softboxes to your lights to diffuse the light and make it softer. This is especially important for the key light, as it will be the primary source of illumination for the face.
    • Adjust the height: Make sure your lights are at the right height so that they illuminate the subject's face evenly. You can use light stands and tripods to adjust the height as needed.
    • Check the color temperature: Make sure the color temperature of your lights matches the ambient light in your shooting environment. This will ensure a consistent look throughout your shot.
    • Test your lighting: Once you've set up your lighting, take a few test shots and make any necessary adjustments. You may need to tweak the position of your lights, the angle at which they're directed, or the strength of the light to get the look you're after.

    Tips and Tricks for Getting the Best Results

    Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best results from your interview lighting:

    • Experiment with different lighting setups: Don't be afraid to try different lighting setups to see what works best for your particular shooting environment and subject.
    • Use flags and gobos: Flags and gobos (pieces of material or metal placed in front of the light) can be used to control and shape the light. This can be useful for avoiding unwanted reflections or casting shadows in specific areas.
    • Be mindful of your background: The background is just as important as the subject in an interview shot. Make sure your background is clean, uncluttered, and well lit to avoid distractions.
    • Consider the mood of your shot: Different lighting setups can evoke different moods. For example, a dramatic lighting setup with strong shadows can create a tense or serious mood, while a soft, evenly lit setup can create a relaxed or friendly mood.
    • Pay attention to skin tones: Make sure your lighting is flattering for your subject's skin tone. This may require adjusting the position of your lights, the strength of the light, or the type of light you're using.


    In conclusion, interview lighting is a critical component of creating professional and visually appealing interview videos. By understanding the key principles, having the essential equipment, setting up your lighting correctly, and using tips and tricks, you'll be able to create stunning interview shots that engage and inform your audience.

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    I'm a filmmaker with extensive training in multiple sectors of content creation whose films have been shown all over the world. I have also served as a speaker and jury member in multiple events. Nonetheless, in recent years, I became extremely disappointed with the course of the art world in general, and as consequence, I've developed an interest in topics I believed would become crucial for the future, namely, cybersecurity, self-education, web design, and investing in various assets, such as cryptocurrencies. All those events have driven me to launch RushRadar.

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