Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing

Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing – In this installment of our ongoing series on getting the most out of your home video setup, we focus on one of the most important, yet least well understood or implemented parts of the equation: lighting. It doesn’t really take a lot of training, expertise or equipment to get right, but it’s probably the main culprit behind poor video quality on many conference calls – and it can mean the difference between looking like someone who knows , what does he do. we are talking about. Talk about someone you can’t trust at conferences, speaking engagements, and broadcasts.

With a little work and without spending a lot of money, you can make a big improvement in lighting. The secret is to be aware of your surroundings and optimize camera placement based on available light sources. Consider not only ceiling lights or lamps in your room, but also natural light sources such as windows.

Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing

Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing

Ideally, you should position yourself so that the brightest light source is behind the camera (if possible above it). You should also make sure that there are no strong competing light sources behind you that could blow out the image. If you have a large window and it’s daytime, look at the window behind the wall, for example. And if you have a moving light or ceiling light, move it behind and above the computer so that it faces you, or move it to achieve the same effect with a fixed spotlight such as a pendant light.

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Even if the light seems too bright to you, it should provide an even and clear image on your webcam. While many webcams have software auto-balancing features that try to get the best results regardless of exposure, they can only do so much, and lower-end camera hardware, especially the webcam built into MacBooks, benefit from the physical exposure position. Optimization.

Here’s an example of what not to do: A bright light source behind you makes it hard to see your face and blows out the background

The best way to get past the basics is to learn some of the basics of a good video description. Again, it doesn’t have to be bought – it can be as simple as taking what you already have and using it creatively.

In addition to the above tips for placing the strongest light source behind the camera towards your face, you can make it a bit more complicated by following the principles of two and three point lighting. You don’t need any special lights to make it work – just use what you have and give it your best shot.

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A very simple but effective video lighting setup involves placing not just one, but two lights behind the camera or parallel to your face. Instead of placing them directly on your face; However, for maximum effect, you can place them on either side and tilt them towards you.

Note that if you can, it’s best to make one of these lights brighter than the other. This will add subtle shading and depth to your face lighting for a pleasing and professional look. As mentioned before, it doesn’t matter what kind of light you use, but it’s best to try to make sure they’re both the same temperature (for regular room bulbs, no matter how ‘soft’, ‘bright’ or ‘warm ” ) and in your light. If the power is low, try placing them closer together.

Similar to a two-point light, but with the addition of a third light located somewhere behind you. This secondary light is used in broadcast interview lighting setups to give your subject a slight flare, which further helps separate you from the background and adds a bit more depth and a professional look. Ideally, place it outside the frame of your camera (you don’t want a big bright light shining directly into the lens) and set it to the side as shown in the image below.

Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing

In a three-point lighting setup, add a third light behind you to give the image a little more separation and emphasis.

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If you want to improve the flexibility of this type of setup, an easy way to do it is to use a light source with Philips Hue bulbs. To get the most out of such an arrangement, together or individually, it allows you to adjust the temperature and brightness of the light. Modern Hue bulbs can cause a weird flickering effect on your video depending on the frame rate you’re using, but if you’re streaming video at 30 frames per second, this should solve the problem.

All lights can be used to enhance your video lighting setup, but specialized lights will provide the best results. If you’re going to be doing a lot of phone calls, virtual chats and streaming, you should consider investing in your own hardware to get even better results.

At the entry level, there are plenty of deals on Amazon that work well and offer good value, including complete lighting kits from Neewer that offer everything you need for a two-point lighting setup in one package. These can seem intimidating if you’re new to lighting, but they’re very easy to set up and actually require you to learn a bit about light temperature (measured in Kelvin) and how it affects image output when shooting video. device.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can get better quality lights that include additional features including Wi-Fi connectivity and remote control. The best all-around video lights for home studio use that I’ve found are Elgato’s Key Lights. It comes in two variants, Key Light and Key Light Air, retailing for $199.99 and $129.99 respectively. The key light is large, offers bright peak performance and comes with a strong, sturdy clip-on holder to attach to desks and tables. The Key Light Air is smaller, more portable, emits less light at maximum setting, and comes with a tabletop stand with a balanced base.

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Both versions of the Key Light offer lights that you can adjust from very warm white (2900K) to bright white (7000K) and connect to your Wi-Fi network for remote control from your computer or mobile phone. They also work easily with the Elgato Stream Deck for hardware control and have plenty of easily adjustable brightness and mounting options, especially with accessories like the Multi-Mount Expansion Kit.

Standard tripod mounts on each key light, high quality durable construction and attached controls make these lights the easiest to work with in any space you have. The quality of light they produce is also excellent and they are great for lighting professionals and novices as they are very easy to adjust to create the desired effect.

In addition to subject lighting, you can look at different types of accent lighting to make your entire studio more visually interesting or attractive. Again, there are a few options here, but if you’re looking for something that matches your furniture and doesn’t make your home look like a studio set, check out some of the more advanced Hue versions. Lighting system.

Best Home Office Lighting For Video Conferencing

For example, the Hue Play light bar is a great accent light. You can get a two-pack that contains two linked full-color RGB lights. You’ll need a Hue hub to make it work, but if you don’t already have two lights and a hub, there’s also a starter kit available. I love that you can easily hide them behind cushions, chairs or other furniture. They provide a great accent effect on light walls, especially if you remove other ambient lighting (other than your main video lights).

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To really amp up the effect, consider pairing it with something like the Philips Hue Signe floor or table lamp. The Signe Series is an extended LED light mounted on a weighted base that provides strong, even accent lighting with any color you choose. You can coordinate them with other Hue lights for a consistent look or combine colors for different dynamic effects.

In video, this helps separate the subject from the background and looks much smoother than a traditional background, especially when combined with the blur effect when using high-quality cameras. As an added bonus, these lights can sync with movie and video playback, giving you really cool home theater effects while watching video instead of producing it.

If you’re happy with your lighting setup but still looking for some more tips, check out our original guide as well as our deep dive into microphones for better audio quality. We independently check everything we recommend. We may earn a commission when you make a purchase through our links. Find out more>

If you’re a streamer, vlogger, or someone who does a lot of video calling

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