How to Light Night Exteriors On a Budget

Lighting large areas at night can be a serious budget challenge. Even in night interiors you can end up needing more lights and grip you might be able to afford. Here are a few solutions that can get the job done without breaking the bank.

Director and cinematographer Matthew Rosen finally published a new video with a couple of ways to shoot night exteriors, which can be used indoors too. At night it is dark, obviously. The only way we can see objects is by the reflection of light onto these objects. The moon is the natural source of light we have at night and this is what we frequently try to emulate in photography in video. Another source of light we try to mimic is the street lights.

Moonlight on big sets is usually created with a so called “balloon light.” It is a light modifier similar to a China lamp with a bare bulb inside. It becomes a 360-degree soft source. While such lights are not cheap to rent or buy, Rosen gives you an idea how to create one on a budget with very affordable means.

Another approach he has to lighting bigger areas is to use an array of smaller lights each pointing to a specific spot. This is similar to having an LED strip, but instead of a single diode on the wired strip, you have a light.

The good news is both approaches can be applied with both continuous lights and strobes, whether you shoot video or stills.

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