Ambient Light

What is Ambient Light?

Ambient light, also known as available or existing light, refers to any source of light in a scene that is naturally present. This could be the sun, moon, or artificial light sources such as street lamps or indoor lighting. It is an essential element for video editors, filmmakers, influencers, and YouTubers as it significantly affects the overall mood, tone, and quality of your video content.

Understanding Ambient Light in Video Production

Ambient light is a critical aspect of video production because it determines how well objects and subjects in your shots are visible. It can create various effects, from dramatic shadows to soft, evenly distributed light, depending on the time of day, weather conditions, and type of indoor lighting.

Types of Ambient Light

  • Natural Light: This is light that comes from natural sources like the sun or moon. It changes throughout the day and can create different effects depending on the time and weather conditions.
  • Artificial Light: This includes any light sources that are man-made, like lamps, ceiling lights, or street lights. These can be controlled to a certain extent to create desired effects.

How to Control Ambient Light for Video Production

While you can’t control natural light sources, you can manipulate how it affects your scene. Here are some techniques:

  • Use of Reflectors: Reflectors can bounce the light onto your subject, filling in shadows and creating a more balanced light distribution.
  • Diffusers: Diffusers scatter light, softening harsh shadows and reducing contrast.
  • Neutral Density Filters: These reduce the intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light equally, allowing for better exposure control without affecting the color of the light.

With artificial light, you have more control. You can adjust the intensity, color, and direction of the light source. This allows for more creative freedom and the ability to create specific moods and atmospheres.


Understanding and controlling ambient light can significantly improve the quality of your video content. By learning how to work with different types of ambient light, you can enhance your footage’s visual appeal and storytelling potential. So take the time to study your surroundings, experiment with different lighting setups, and watch your video production skills grow.

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