Video calling is a regular part of millions of people’s lives today, providing plenty of incentive to upgrade and improve their webcam and video setup so they look their best on camera.
The same is true if you want to use your mandatory residency to start making videos for YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or any other social media. Improving your lighting is one of the first things to consider, and the addition of a ring light can be a quick fix and provide instant results. We show you how to set up and use these amazing accessories that will make you jealous of your dimly lit colleagues.
What is a ring light?
As the name suggests, these are lamps with bulbs (well, LEDs) arranged in a circle. The advantage of this method is that you get an even spread of light across the face, making it easy for the camera to focus and balance both exposure and color temperature.
The ring shape is intentional because the idea is that you place your phone, webcam or other camera in the middle and provide a uniform spread of light. Basically, using ring lights can make your video’s color and quality really pop.
If you enjoy photography, ring lights can be a very useful tool, and they are also favored by makeup artists due to their even distribution of light.
How much do ring lights cost?
Like most products, pricing is highly dependent on the quality and features you require. Some light rings offer different settings for color temperature and brightness (this is one of the important ones), color filters, remote controls, and a host of other accessories. They can cost up to hundreds of pounds or dollars.
However, you can get many of these features for around £20 / $20. One model we’ve found to be particularly good value is the 10-inch LED Ring which is available for £21.69 on Amazon UK and $21.99 on Amazon US.
How to set the bell light
Here are our top tips for making the most of ring light.
1. Using mains power
One important thing to establish before you plug in ring lights is whether they are recommended for use with laptops. Due to the high brightness, the power consumption can exceed what most USB ports can provide and can damage the laptop or PC if plugged directly into the USB port. We recommend using a phone charger or even a USB power bank if you need mobility.
2. Place the camera in the center of the ring light
If you’re using a smartphone or digital camera for your video, the ideal location is in the center of the ring light. Most models come with a tripod, and a stand will allow this, but if that’s not the case, you can always make a splash with books or any other stackable item you might want to keep. there may be.
With the camera in the middle and the lens near the light source, it will practically remove the shadows and give the best results.
3. Using a ring light with a laptop camera
Obviously, you won’t be able to place the laptop in the center of the spotlight, so if that’s the camera you’re using, just try to place the light above the top edge of the screen so your face is projected. suitable light.
4. Check position and reflexes
Before you settle on the position you’ll be using on your video, try placing the ring lights at different distances away from you to see what works best for your surroundings. Not all rooms are the same, and where a light source is placed can have a significant effect on the finished video.
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid reflective surfaces in your photos, which can be complicated if you wear glasses. If you do, try adjusting the angle of the light so that it doesn’t hit the lens directly. The same is true for picture frames or other shiny objects in your room.
While you’re at it, consider ‘dressing up’ your room. This involves carefully choosing the objects and interiors to be photographed so that they create a mood that expresses your taste. Some other light in the background can be cool, but it’s best to choose softer, muted tones so they don’t hit the camera.
5. Set color temperature
While we are talking about tones of light, you will find that some ring lights also come with color temperature controls. This is basically how warm or cool the light is. A higher color temperature results in a darker, bluer white (which can be appropriate to make it look like daylight, while lower temperatures are softer and more pleasant, like candlelight. Playtime with different settings to see what you like.
If your ring light doesn’t have a color temperature control, you can still change this setting using filters that clip onto the light itself and work like sunglasses to change the white level. If you don’t have a filter, you can always go to school and spread a thin cloth over the light to change the brightness, just remember not to obscure the camera or let the fabric get too hot!
6. Change the brightness to suit your needs
Most ring lights have adjustable dimmer knobs, which can be very useful depending on the type of scene you’re shooting. A general rule of thumb is that the brighter you set the light, the more accurate the color will be captured by the camera and the sharper the feel of the footage. So if you’re after a vibrant look, increasing the brightness will help.
The point is, don’t just turn the ring light on and leave it at that setting, instead experiment with brightness levels to see what works best for your style.
There you have it, some simple ideas on how to use ring lights to improve the quality of your videos. If you’re interested in working more with moving images, then check out our roundup of the best free video editing software, the best microphones for streaming and podcasting, and other great deals. Best camera deals.
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