Nature's Perfect Studio
Like many people who make lots of videos, I have a roomful of LED lights, stands, softboxes—all the necessary stuff to create good lighting conditions indoors. But frequently I find myself leaving all that stuff untouched in the corner as I head out the door with camcorder, tripod and audio recorder in hand to take advantage of nature's perfect studio.
The sun provides all the light you could possibly use and more. But you can't just pick out a sunny spot and start shooting. In fact, that's the worst thing you could do. Bright sunlight means harsh shadows, jarring contrast between light spots and dark spots, and squinty eyes. Your best bet is to shoot on a cloudy day when the sun's light is diffused like a giant softbox. If you must shoot on a sunny day, pick a location in the shade—or bring your own shade in the form of a black or white umbrella (a colored umbrella will give your subject the same tint). And try to avoid having a bright background because it may make the subject look dark in the video.
There are challenges to shooting outdoors. You're not in the controlled environment that you can create in a studio. Ambient noise, people or traffic moving through the shot, and even curious onlookers can cause you to shoot more takes than you would like. And an overcast day creates a "flat light," meaning you can't create subtle depth by lighting one side of the face more intensely than the other. But I don't really consider any of those to be real problems, especially when you consider the time you save in setup and breakdown. And when you sit down to edit your footage, you'll find that the diffused light of the sun has created a naturally pleasing scene that requires little if any improvement.
Watch this video I made sitting on the beach during a recent vacation for an example of diffused sunlight.