Lighting Daylight Interiors for Video

Guerrilla filmmaking means working with what you have to the best of your ability and in the area of lighting, nothing is better than using that great illuminator in the sky the sun. It shines without charge and is tax-free. Let’s talk about ways to leverage it for your interior lighting and how to augment it affordably. 
We have the sun in the sky, pumping out some serious lumens. Around it is blue sky, what we refer to as daylight. That’s our big soft box in the sky that fills in exterior shadows.
Outside the sun is our key, daylight is our fill. 
But inside, we have a roof and walls blocking it out, with just windows letting any light in.
That can mean few things, as in this shot, where natural daylight coming in the window is my key light. 

That daylight is also bouncing off the walls in this room, filling in my shadow side a little, our fill
and lighting the room, what we called ambient light. 

For tighter shots, I can add a card on my fill side, to bounce some of that window light, into my fill side.

Let's move away from the window and into the room. We get some drop off in light level which is expected, by about stop, so let's start augmenting this daylight with our own lights. But what kind of lights? 
There are many affordable lights out there, from CFLs to LEDs. The important thing, knowing the difference between daylight and tungsten bulbs. You may be familiar with setting the white balance on your cameras to the standard settings of either daylight or tungsten. 

All light has what we call a color temperature, that ranges from orange up to blue, but we don’t notice it because our eyes automatically adjust, they white balance themselves. Daylight is generally 5000k and higher, while tungsten is between 2800k and 3200k. 

How to find the Kelvin temperature on a lamps lighting facts label.

Since you’re working with daylight, you want to make sure any lights and bulbs you buy are 5000k or higher. Other wise you’ll get some crazy orange lighting in your shots. But that’s no problem these days because the Kelvin temperature is almost always listed either on the packaging or in the specs.
Let's add some lights
I think I’m getting a good soft key in the shot from the window, so I’ll add some soft front fill, close to the camera. Here I’m using a Neewer Umbrella soft box with a dual socket light, this one from LimoStudio, with two 45watt CFL’s. 

The front is about 26”x26” which has a nice soft lighting effect, simulating light from the window bouncing off the walls of the room and onto my face. Adding fill from the front helps fill in my shadows and adds some light to my key side as well.
Adding an edge light
I’ll use a single socket light, and place it behind me just out of frame. I’m using an LED par bulb and putting it on a portable dimmer. You can adjust the dimmer by eye for a look and feel you like, very bright, half way down, very low.

Edge light from camera right, from the key side.

Here I’m using it on the key side, to simulate being edge light by the window daylight. I could move it to my fill side, to simulate an edge light from bounced light in the room. 

Now edge lighting from camera left, the fill side.

So there you have it. We went from lighting with just window daylight, to augmenting my fill, my edge light and then my key, using affordable lights and bulbs you can buy on Amazon or at your hardware store.
There are many other types of affordable light kits available. The key is, making sure they’re daylight compatible and then start playing around with ways you can augment the natural daylight in your interior shots.
To make your own dimmer or get more info on soft boxes, check out our other videos on those specific topics.



Music & Audio
“Right Place, Right Time” (Theme Music) and “Dog Park”
By Silent Partner

“Comparsa - Latinesque” Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Electric Zap Light by Wakerone

Amazon Affiliate Links
LimoStudio 2 Pcs Studio AC Socket Light

Neewer Aluminum Photo/Video Tripod Light Stands 

Philips 12W (100W Equivalent) 5000K PAR38 LED Bulb