We’ve got a cool article today expanding on last week’s topic of pulling off a professional-looking livestream. While last week we gave you a broad overview of all the variables you should account for in your Zoom presentations, this week we’re taking a more focused look on the subject of lighting and backdrops and how these can help you show off your best online self at any time day or night.
Lighting is a pretty key part of your presentations. If you’re noticing that a lot of your livestreams or those of your colleagues are coming out grainy, even despite having a lamp in the room, that’s due to poor lighting. On the other side, the reason your colleague appears to have an office that opens up to a bright tropical sun isn’t because they’re in Trinidad, it’s because of their lighting.
Lighting isn’t just turning on a lamp! Like many things we’ve discussed in this blog, there’s an art to lighting that requires some effort and some money in order to achieve optimal results.
Allow us to…illuminate you…on the subject. Yeah, I said it.
Here’s 4 big things you need to think about with lighting: Diffusion, Color Temperature, Position, Room.
Diffusion refers to the ‘spread’ coming from your light source. If you’re using a traditional desk lamp, you’ll likely have too focused of a light source leading to a glare and shadows. Choose a light source with high diffusion and more even spread like a paper lantern. Most entry level lighting rigs for live streaming allow you to dial in the intensity of focus, or come with clip on filters that allow light to spread more cleanly and evenly across the room resulting in a more professional look.
Anyone with a ‘blue light’ filter function on their personal devices knows the literal night-and-day difference between various color temperatures. Higher blue-shifted color temperatures, like those produced by your computer will give your livestream an eerie shadowy glow at night. Lower red-shifted temperatures will give viewers the impression you’re livestreaming by candlelight, just like the pioneers. Any entry level lighting rig you buy will have color temperature controls. You’ll want to stay roughly in the 5500k temperature range for optimal results.
A poorly positioned expensive light will always look worse than a well-positioned cheap light. In an ideal world where you have endless cash and livestreaming is your passion, you’d be implementing a 3-point light system to flatten the scene and reduce shadow. However, that’s not absolutely necessary. This is where ring LEDs come in to the picture. The nice thing about ring lights is that they provide light from multiple angles by design. If you place these lights relatively close to your face and just above or behind your webcam then your lighting should look perfectly adequate.
“But Decibel”, you say, “Why can’t I just set up my webcam next to my window? Isn’t natural light the best light?” No. This is one of those few times where humankind’s hubris has improved significantly upon the natural world with no consequences. The LAST thing you want in any livestream is natural light coming from windows. Windows are the bane of livestreams. They’re an uneven light source that will ultimately make the rest of your room appear darker and cause glare. If you’re livestreaming during the day control your lighting. Closie your shades and avoid windows in your shot.
Do you need to buy the most expensive rig? Photographic equipment, much like audiophile gear is a market flooded with obscenely expensive snake oil and nonsense line graphs that late middle-aged dudes who retired early will gush about in online forums. For your sake, ignore all that noise and just expect to spend between $40-100 on set of equipment that contains an LED light with adjustable temperature and intensity, a desktop stand or mount, and a couple clip on filters if you’re feeling extra fancy. That’s it.
Here’s just a couple kits we like that contain everything you could possibly need. As we stated above, Ring LEDs are the best for livestreaming and we think they offer great results without straining your eyes to boot:
Now, let’s touch on backdrops. Yeah if you really wanted you could throw up a green screen and make all your employees think you’re livestreaming from SeaLab or a lava planet. I suspect there are some managerial scenarios where that could come in handy, but for the rest of you this is why we think you’ll want a more conventional backdrop.
We’re not talking about setting a mood here we’re talking about sending a message. If you’re talking to investors, wouldn’t you rather have your company logo in the background instead of your venetian blinds? This way you don’t have to think about your ‘set.’ You’re really just bouncing warm light off of a nice non-distracting solid-colored backdrop. You’ll look sharp.
For recommendations on lighting and getting your wildest custom backdrop dreams realized, drop us a line right here! We can sort that out for you today.