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Lighting for live video: Guide to setup and choosing

We are more and more on camera than before to have interviews, meetings, etc. Lighting for live video is key to looking professional. In this article, we will go through the factors to consider for choosing the best lights for streaming video and how and where to set them up to ensure better illumination.

COLBOR CL100X is light to carry and can offer lighting for Facebook live videos.

Four tips to set up lighting for live videos

Here are four tips you can follow if you are new to lighting for live streaming video.

1. Position lights for live video properly

Where to set up lights for live videos? Here are some basic tips on where the lighting for live video should come from.

First, make sure that your face is properly lighted, preferably with light coming from the front or slightly to the side. By doing this, you may avoid sharp shadows and achieve an even skin tone.

It's ideal to place a single light source right above the camera and at a small downward angle on your face. Your features will be highlighted by the lovely light that results from this. To provide an even softer image, you may even use numerous lights and place them at various angles all around you.

Always test the lighting placement before going live, regardless of the setup you use. And here are two DON’Ts you should pay attention to.

Don’t position the main light behind you. We cannot emphasize this more. No matter how lovely the scenery is outside your window, nobody will notice if they can't see your face. The only thing that will be captured on camera with such a strong light source behind you is your silhouette. That doesn't look good.

Don't light everything up directly in front of you. You lose a lot of depth when everything is lighted uniformly from the front, which makes it challenging to concentrate on the subject. When there is so much to look at, it might be distracting.

2. Avoid overlighting the subject and background

If your scenario is overlit, it is likely to overexpose the subject and overlight your backdrop. This implies that you can't see the person on camera and they become a bright, indeterminate blob. Overlighting your backdrop will result in a loss of distinction between the subject and background. This, once again, may be distracting.

3. Use 3-point setup to set up lighting for live video properly

This is the principle that many streamers adopt. With a basic understanding of it, you can use the fixtures you already have to achieve this setup.

  • Key light: It is your main light source.
  • Fill light: It helps manage shadows caused by the key light.
  • Hair or back light: It helps separate streamer from the backdrop.

The key light is often set to one side of the camera, such that the light wraps somewhat around the face while still casting a tiny shadow. Remember that shadows aren't necessarily bad: they are what gives an item shape.

To regulate our shadow, we'll utilize a considerably lower-intensity fill light on the other side of the camera. This will assist us avoid looking overly dramatic and ensure we don't lose details on the shadow side.

The hair light will spotlight the margins of our subject's hair, giving them a lovely shape that distinguishes them from the background.

4. Ensure consistent color temperature for natural look

Color temperature is measured in Kelvins and describes the hue of light. On the lower end of the spectrum, at around 1,000 Kelvin, we have an orangey red – the color of a burning candle. At the other end of the spectrum, at 10,000 Kelvin, we have blue – the blue sky color.

Daylight, or whiter direct sunshine, has a temperature of roughly 5,000 Kelvin. And incandescent, or yellowish indoor lighting, falls at 2,800 Kelvin around.

In other words, the outdoor and indoor lighting features different color temperatures. You may buy lights in any color, but for a more natural effect, try to keep the color temperature consistent.

COLBOR CL100X can be controlled by App.

How to choose the best lights for live streaming?

Here are some tips that you can follow to narrow down the options and choose the light best suits your needs.

Consider lighting types and purpose

Different types of lights can perform different roles, so it's critical to determine your lighting requirements ahead of time.

LED, fluorescent, and tungsten lights are all popular streaming lights. Using LED light for live streaming is a top choice since it is bright, energy-efficient, and comes in a variety of color temperatures.

When thinking about the function of your light, look at what you require it to perform. Is it necessary to illuminate the entire space or just a specific area? Do you need it to be dimmable? Do you want to be able to change the color temperature? Answer these questions and see how your selections stack up.

Look for a light for live video with color temperature adjustment

Another feature to look for is the ability to adjust the color temperature. To achieve the best results, match your camera's white balance to the lighting settings and vice versa. Different color temperatures might also influence how the video frame looks. This can improve how you appear on camera or how the scene appears and feels.

If the light you purchase has few or no color selections, its effectiveness will be severely reduced. So look for lights with changeable color temperatures and double-check the range to ensure it fits your camera's settings.

Invest in fixtures offering controls over lighting for live video

Lighting control is another important feature. It's convenient to have an app or remote control to modify your lighting settings on the move. This is vital if you're a streamer or content producer who is going on camera for hours at a time when natural light begins to fail and the ambient light changes. It can be really beneficial to be able to tap the control on an app or utilize the integrated remote control. This allows you to adjust the setting without having to leave the footage.

According to the aforementioned tips, the COLBOR CL100X can be a good choice of LED lights for streaming. The bi-color version features 2700-6500K color temperatures. You can use onboard buttons or COLBOR Studio App to adjust the color temperature, brightness, and preset lighting effects. It is light and compact so it can be placed on the desk when you go on live video in tight space.