Soft or Hard Lighting

Video lights are typically divided into hard and soft sources.

A soft light creates gentle, blurred shadows and natural fall light off; it also helps the camera capture detail in darker areas. It’s widely used to wash an object, scene or model in an even cast of light.

While hard light sources can be used to dramatic effect for Batman style extremes of dark and bright and sharp shadows, it can also play a crucial role in every day shots. It’s great to pick out a feature, create a visual sense of depth when overhead conditions are dull - or just to give the impression of dazzling sunlight.

Modern LED lights typically deliver a soft light. This effect can be further enhanced with diffusers and soft boxes. Alternatively, they can be rendered “hard” with the use of barn doors, or, in the case of fresnels, with focusing lenses.