Video Lighting for Mood and Emotion, A Recipe for Ultimate Success

Lighting is a major component of any video production. Good lighting marries with the message, the talent and the music to create wonderful moods and emotions. On the other hand, bad lighting distracts the viewer and looks cheap and unprofessional.

If you want to drive a filmmaker crazy say “Can’t you just show up with a couple of cameras and shoot this?” If the answer you get is “sure,” run away as quickly as you can. Video lighting for mood and emotion is far more than throwing up some lights and “shooting this.”

A recipe for a great video requires the ingredients of script, talent, music and lighting. Done well, it’s professional and works. Done poorly it’s amateur.

Here are some decisions used for video lighting for mood and emotion. See examples below:


Lighting with rich colors creates a cheery, happy feel. Dark colored lighting creates drama and signals tension.


How bright; it affects the perceived mood of the viewer; the more diffused the light, the softer it gets. Brighter lighting is positive, hopeful, revealing.


Dark lit sets and actors create a dramatic and sinister feeling. Taking this to the higher level is to use silhouettes to create an even more dramatic effect.


To put all of your viewer’s interests on your speaker, light the speaker with a spot

with the back light falling off to black.


Soft lighting can create a warm feeling, especially when using yellow and orange tones to help accentuate softened shadows. Elements in the scene and actors looking and feeling smoother and softer to the viewer.


A harsh foreboding tone is created with hard lighting, more brightness with less diffusion. The shadows would be dark with a sharp edge creating a more contrasted, stark look.


Lighting from high above creates a neutral lighting look, akin to shooting outside at around noon, when the sun is directly overhead and not casting many shadows. This even type of lighting is used for many TV, corporate projects, etc. where a dramatic feel is not intended.


A stark, bright overhead light beaming down on a person or object with the background falling to black. It’s a wonderful way to put all the attention on the person or thing, helping to focus the audience’s attention.

If a “picture is worth a thousand words” then great video is worth many, many more. Here are TV frame grab examples from some of our past work to demonstrate what we’re trying to describe.

If you remember one thing about video lighting for mood and emotion it’s this:

“Lighting makes the look of the show. It sets the tone and feel of the piece.”

Video Lighting for Mood and Emotion

Click the images to see the videos.

Video lighting for mood and emotion, Alcon video Alcon Luxor LX 3 Opthalmic Microscope National Spot is an example of dramatic lighting combined with bright, dramatic colors to reach out to the most difficult to impress eye, surgeons. High quality imagery reflected positively on high quality product being manufactured while still connecting the quality of work with the quality of the patient’s final outcome: return to rich color and vibrancy with their improved eye sight.


Video lighting for mood and emotion, JadaToys spotJada Toys Battle Machines National TV Spot is an example of using high dramatic overhead lighting throughout this spot to create excitement, as well as mystery for the Battle Machines brand. Toy spots are intended to make the toys look like a lot of fun to play with, so demonstration is key to the strategy behind this spot.


Video lighting for mood and emotion, Boys & Girls ClubA great example of cameo lighting is revealed in this Boys & Girls Clubs Fundraising video CRM Studios produced.

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