Home office video studios are almost always short on floor space. They are often set up in a spare bedroom that is 10 feet wide and 12 to 15 feet deep. That is about one third of the size of a professional video studio. The legs of a typical light stand open up to about three feet wide. Put two or three lights and a camera tripod in your tiny studio and it can get pretty challenging just to walk around. Maximizing your space means finding creative ways to support your lights without resorting to bulky studio lighting stands.
Rethink Your Lights
Large soft lights are generally the best option for studio lighting. They produce flattering light and soften the look of shadows. Many home office video producers turn to inexpensive CFL-based softbox lights, but these lights can be bulky and require those floor space devouring light stands to hold them up. You can get a beautiful soft light from other sources like rice paper lanterns hung from ceiling hooks or large floor lamps with rice paper shades. Use bright CFL bulbs in the lamps and lanterns to light up your studio without the light stands.
If your video productions mostly involve shooting with a webcam at your desk, try some table top lamps with rice paper shades. They come in a variety of sizes and funky styles. If you are creative, you can even make your own lamps.
Keep the Studio Lights and Ditch the Stands
Grips are the people on a movie set who are responsible for setting up the supports that hold the lights. Over decades they have invented many clever little bits of equipment for mounting lights without using stands. For us, the two most useful inventions they have come up with are scissor mounts and mounting plates. A scissor mount is basically a standard light mounting stud with a little x-shaped bracket at the end. This bracket can be clamped onto the support frame for a drop ceiling and lets you hang a small light overhead. The mounting plate is small metal plate with a light mounting stud attached to the center. The plate can be attached to walls, ceilings, or other sturdy objects using simple screws. Then, lights can be attached to the stud.
Scissor clamps and mounting plates are not very expensive and will let you securely mount the lights in your home office studio without using studio lighting stands.
The Devil is in the Details
Removing the studio lighting stands from your home office setup is not hard. But, the keys to getting great lighting for the videos you shoot are not so obvious. You have to pick the right kind of lights (or your colors can look washed out or pick up weird color casts, ) and you have to put the lights right lights in the right place.
Read my free guide and become an Instant Expert. You will learn how to pick the right lights for your studio and where to place them to get professional video results every time.