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What to know about LED light for video calls?

If you are a content creator, whether a streamer, vlogger, or frequently engaged in work-related video calls, proper lighting is crucial. Poor lighting can result in a pixelated, blurry, or poorly illuminated appearance. Using an LED light for video calls can easily elevate your visibility and professionalism by providing a soft, even illumination that helps you stand out and appear more polished in your videos or calls. In this article, we will focus on the following topics to get you know more about it.

  • Types of LED lights used in video calls
  • What to look for in a good LED lamp for video conference calls?
  • How to use it?
COLBOR W100 is a portable LED light panel that can be used for video calls.

Types of LED lights used in video calls

LED ring light and LED panel are two common types used in video calling.

Ring light: You may have noticed it while browsing through TikTok or admiring someone's stunning Instagram selfie: the distinct circle of light reflected in the subject's eyes. That eye-catching halo is produced by a ring light, which has become the preferred lighting choice for many. It allows for central placement of a recording device, typically a smartphone, within a ring of diffused light that evenly illuminates the subject's face or whatever is being photographed or recorded, effectively eliminating any harsh shadows. Ring lights are available in various sizes, ranging from 10 to 22 inches in diameter, and typically feature numerous small surface-mounted LEDs that can be adjusted for brightness and color temperature.

LED panel: For certain individuals, particularly those who work from home, a different type of lighting solution might be more suitable: LED panels, also known as light panels. These panels serve as fill lights for cameras during meetings or streaming, designed to be positioned on or around the work or performance area. Available in diverse shapes and sizes, some with higher costs, a light panel could be a more fitting choice based on one's video presence and specific needs.

What to look for in the best one for video calls?

There are 4 features that make the best LED light for video calls, including multiple power supplies, high CRI, dimmable brightness, and wide-range color temperature.

Multiple power supplies: Consider the power source for the lighting. You have the option of choosing between a long-lasting battery for portability or a dependable USB plug for continuous power supply. LED lights can be powered in various ways, such as through USB connections, batteries, or AC adapters. USB-powered lights are convenient as they can be directly plugged into your computer or a USB wall charger. Battery-powered lights offer mobility and are beneficial when access to a power outlet is limited. AC-powered lights are less portable but provide consistent lighting without the need for battery recharging or replacement. It is advised to opt for portable LED light that has multiple power supplies so you can have video calls in more places.

High color rendering index (CRI): CRI, which measures light quality, becomes crucial. The higher the CRI value (closer to 100 being better), the broader the range of colors the light can accurately display, leading to more precise color representation in images. A CRI of 90 or above is considered optimal. LED lights with a CRI rating of 90 or higher are exceptional, while those falling between 80 and 90 are regarded as good.

Dimmability: Having multiple brightness settings allows you to customize the lighting according to different environments, be it cloudy or sunny, morning or night, or with varying numbers of other light sources present. Look for lights that offer adjustable brightness in 1% increments. While some LED lights enable brightness adjustments from 0 to 100% in 10% increments (e.g., 10%, 20%), models that allow for precise fine-tuning of brightness are preferred.

Wide-range color temperature: Color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), significantly impacts the visual appeal of your photos or videos. Your surroundings, clothing, and skin tone can appear different based on the light's color and temperature. It's essential to find the ideal temperature that complements your skin tone. More color temperature options enhance versatility. Many of the LED lights feature at least three color temperature settings: cool, neutral, and warm. We favored those with additional color temperature steps between the coolest and warmest levels, enabling you to select the setting that best suits your skin tone and surroundings.

How to use LED light for video calls to ensure a pro look?

Utilizing LED lights during video calls can significantly enhance your on-screen appearance by providing uniform and flattering illumination. Here's a concise guide to assist you in effectively setting up your LED lighting:

Properly position the light: The key to achieving good lighting lies in its placement. Position the light source in front of you to evenly illuminate your face. Placing it slightly above eye level mimics natural light, minimizing unflattering shadows under your eyes or chin. Think of it as simulating mid-morning or late afternoon sunlight, offering a soft yet bright glow.

Avoid backlighting: Backlighting, caused by a window or lamp behind you, can obscure your features against a bright background, detracting from your presence. Ensure you are the focal point by avoiding this setup.

Adjust brightness and color temperature: LED lights typically feature controls for brightness and color temperature. Optimal brightness prevents squinting or a washed-out appearance. Color temperature, measured in Kelvin, with lower values indicating warmer tones (yellow/orange) and higher values indicating cooler tones (blue), should be set between approximately 3200K to 5600K for a flattering and inviting effect during video calls.

Diffuse the light: Direct light can be harsh, accentuating shadows and imperfections. Soften the light by using a diffuser, which spreads it out evenly. Professional diffusers or makeshift options like a white curtain or piece of paper can be utilized for this purpose.

Employ multiple light sources: Balancing the light with multiple sources can impart a three-dimensional appearance to your face. Implement the three-point lighting technique, incorporating a key light (primary LED light), a fill light (secondary, less intense source), and a backlight (to separate you from the background), for a polished and professional look.

Test before the video call: Prior to your video call, conduct a test of the lighting setup to ensure optimal camera appearance. Make any necessary adjustments to positioning and settings to achieve the desired outcome.

Keep in mind that the objective is to establish a lighting arrangement that enhances your appearance without drawing unnecessary attention. Take the time to experiment with different lights and positions to find the most flattering setup for you.