A few years ago I wrote about some affordable ways to light your race track when shooting video. My solution at the time was painter’s lights and white lights. It worked well for quite a while, but since then it’s just as affordable to get some more pro-ish lighting.
Better but still basic
After going back and rereading some discussion with 3DBotMaker last year about what he uses to put together his awesome race videos, I decided to look into lighting solutions again. I thought maybe it was time for a upgrade.
Turns out, making that upgrade didn’t require a lot of extra expense like it once did. What a difference a few years makes!
However, quick obvious disclaimer, that anything I recommend here won’t instantly make your videos look like 3DBM’s that you see on YouTube. Making top quality videos requires more than just good lighting. Having good tools is great but they don’t do the work for you.
That being said, I did some quick browsing around the aisles of Amazon and found some ridiculously affordable soft box lighting kits...almost too affordable. A going price of about $60 for two light stands seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t.
Spend a little, get a lot
Let me be clear: This is not professional grade gear, but it is a big step up from the Home Depot painter’s lights. The reviews on Amazon pretty much cover what I have experienced with the set so far - don’t expect a lot but it’s not complete crap. In short, it’s a great place for a beginner to start.
I got the Raleno set seen below. There are several other brands that seem to sell the same type of kit. I can only imagine that they’re all pretty much the same, and all around the $50-$60 price point. It was a crap shoot of sorts but as long as I kept my expectations in check, I figured it’d fine.
The 2 stand lights the kit came with was more than enough to replace my 4 clip lights. And lets me honest, it’s easier to setup, arrange, and pack up a couple of folding tripod stands rather than finding chairs for a bunch of clip lights. The price tag is worth the convenience alone.
My first race using the lights was the Rookie Rally and I was very happy with the results. Everything looked good and bright, even in slow-mo. And the 2 stands was all I needed. Here’s my setup..."Aziz, light!"
I’ve also been using the lights for car photos, quick live streams, and anything else that needs a little sunlight. I'm not a pro videographer or photographer, nor do I pretend to be. But I know this kit makes my track bright and the video results are better, therefore, they work great.
So if you’re looking for something to boost your race video quality, lights are certainly the first thing to start with, and a soft box kit like the one I got is not a bad place to start. If you got a bigger budget, then go for better stuff, but if you’re kind of on the fence about this video stuff, there are some nice affordable sets are available.
For more discussion about shooting race video, check out the Video & Photography tag collection.. It’s full of great tips and insight from folks like 3DBotMaker who pretty much produces videos for a living.