Lighting for a cake tutorial

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: May 11 2010

Hi - I'm a newbie to this and I am looking at purchasing a lighting setup suitable for filming me doing a cake decorating tutorial. I have been reading up on lighting but as I have no experience I think it wise to ask the experts. I am on a tight budget - ideally wouldn't want to spend more than £300.

It will be filmed using a Kitchen Island for the worktop, probably in a bedroom or living room with a plain wall behind me.

I am interested in advice on type of lights to go for, also tips on the lighting setup if possible, I have read some about standard 3 point lighting etc.

Thanks for your help in advance - greatly appreciated.

Joined: May 11 2010

Also just seen these lights on ebay.

Has anyone any experience of using these energy saving lights rather than halogen?

Joined: Mar 8 2007

I have some of those fluro lights and they are crap, dont waste your money and get one or two 800w redhead's and bounce them off the ceiling to soften the light.

Three point lighting is for the pro's and for what you need to do is keep it simple.

One even better thing is if you are using a a real kitchen get some dichroic filters for the redheads and use them to add to any daylight that is present for your set-up, buy the UK redheads though as the chinese ones are not earthed and it is worth getting them with safety in mind.

If you just need to try out then give me a shout as I have loads of kit here and you are welcome to use it if you pay shipping costs, there are two redheads if us need them.

Joined: Aug 29 1999

I can't agree with you Gary. The problem with redheads is that they generate heat - not good in a food environment. Also, they are a very harsh light, and whilst bouncing is ok, it is still a difficult art for a beginner.

Daylight fluoros that are well made are very useful (far from crap!) - I think there are some brands that you could get a 4-tube version for ?300. You could then use a white sheet or white polystyrene board for fill light, and make do with 2 light sources. The pictures will be a bit flat, but will be well exposed and clear - which would be the objective.


Time for a new signature now...

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
Joined: May 3 1999

Hire in a single 4 foot Kineflo, use either tungsten or daylight tubes to match any other lighting. And use a big sheet of polystyrene to bounce some of it. It's about as good as you can get, and runs cool, and is nicely diffuse.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Joined: May 17 1999

I've used some 3 way soft boxes from the bottom end of the market and they are good for what they are.

cost was I think £299 and they're flimsy and a bit difficult to rig, and use 1-4 non dimmable lamps. So the basic 3 point lighting can be done with 4 - 2 - 1 as Key, fill and rim lights.

ok for what they are. Bear in mind that a proper red head set up is nearer £1k

Joined: Apr 2 2006

I've just done 30 something cocktail preparation videos for a major, international drinks company as part of a new marketing initiative. I used 2 low-energy daylight soft-boxes (bought via ebay for about ?250) and whatever available light there was in the kitchens in which I shot. The results were excellent. Lights of that kind won't suit all situations by a long stretch, but they are certainly worth investigating. However, if you can stretch to Kinoflow you can't get better.

Duncan Craig
Joined: Nov 19 2008

I bought a load of italian openface 800W fixtures from They latest a long time and work very well.

But personally these days everything I do is using CoolLights kit. A 6x55w, 2x55w an LED600 with softbox and eggcrate and a 150MSR fresnel (and a dedolight kit for kickers). Daylight and Tungsten tubes, bulbs and CTO for the LED.

The fresnel has been a pain with 2 blown ballast which have both been replaced at their cost. The LED600 is a brilliant bit of kit, and the florries which I've had for years have been faultless except one day when it got so cold the kit started to ice up and the tubes stopped working.
They worked again once thawed thankfully.

A lighting guy I work who has lit really well known work (including some of my favourite telly ever) loves the CoolLights stuff for it's simplicity and output. He still insists on HMI's and 4x4 silks where needed, but always wants to use my kit for filling in, which I'm happy to offer.