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Getting good lighting for your stream is important for making your viewers feel comfortable. It’s going to be hard to watch your stream if it’s too dark, but it’s hard on the eyes if it’s too bright. Having the best lighting for streaming allows viewers to focus on you and simply enjoy watching your stream.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss how to choose the best lighting for streaming and give you some tips on how to improve your streaming setups. We’ll also be suggesting the best lights for streaming to help you choose the perfect lighting setup.
First, let’s discuss how you can choose the best lighting for your stream. You have to consider a few things when choosing a light source. Don’t be one of those streamers who completely ignore proper lighting and stream in the dark.
Good quality lighting can also help bring the best out of your camera. Sometimes, even a built-in webcam can look good when combined with the proper lighting equipment.
There are two primary roles of light. These are called fill light and key light. They fulfill two different purposes, but both are essential when trying to improve the quality of lighting in an area.
The key light is known as your primary source of light. It’s the most important light, and its main purpose is to highlight and focus on the main subject. Key lights are often powerful lights that directly shine on the main subject.
Fill light is often a less powerful light that is simply used to “fill in” the shadows that the key light creates. Using a key light alone will create some dark spots. This is where the fill light comes in. It’s used to even things out and create a more balanced look.
Two main types of lighting are common in the media industry. These are called soft light and hard light. They are used in different ways and can help take your stream to the next level when used correctly.
Soft light casts very few shadows over the subject and is a more balanced spread of light overall. It’s easier on the eyes and makes a more natural and welcoming aura. It’s more forgiving and can help hide wrinkles and acne.
Typically, creating soft light requires diffusers and/or reflectors to help spread the light more evenly. You can also use natural light from the window as a soft light if the sun isn’t too harsh and isn’t directly on your subject.
On the other hand, hard light is a more aggressive and focused lighting type. It’s a bright light that casts shadows over the subject to draw more attention to a specific area or part of the photo. Hard light creates a defined transition between the shadows and the light. This effect provides an excellent high contrast look.
Hard light is actually very easy to create. You can use natural lighting on very sunny days, or you can simply use a camera flash or any other bright light to create some contrast.
There are quite a few lighting options that you can choose from for your stream. We’ll discuss each option’s own unique pros and cons to help you get better stream lighting. All these sources of light can work great when used in the right scenarios.
First, let’s talk about the softbox. From the name itself, a softbox is simply a box that provides a soft light. These are usually square or rectangular in shape and medium to large in size. They can be placed almost anywhere as long as there is a bit of space. Softboxes are often used in photo studios and other indoor photography events.
A light panel is another great light source for streaming. A light panel or an LED panel consists of multiple LED bulbs over a large surface. A light panel provides soft light, is very easy to set up, and is available in large and small sizes. One downside is that it can be hard to find additional light panel accessories, which can limit its flexibility.
Finally, we have the ring light. A ring light is literally a ring that emits light with some free space in the middle for your phone or camera. Ring lights have grown in popularity due to the catch light or the light’s reflection in your eyes. A ring light creates a hard light that can provide some contrast when used directly on your subject. They are usually very cheap and easy to position.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred light for streaming, you’ll have to figure out where and how to position them. Selecting the proper position allows you to have good consistent lighting on your streams. Correct light positioning can also help you bring out the best light quality your equipment can provide.
The three-point lighting setup is the most common light setup used for photography and streaming. The three-point lighting setup requires light coming from three different directions. This light setup provides a soft and balanced light with little to no shadows. It’s an excellent way to position your lights but can be expensive since it does require at least three light sources.
Backlight or background light is a great way to emphasize and light up a beautiful wallpaper or your collection in the back. This can help create some depth and personality in your stream. Most streamers usually use things such as Nanoleaf panels or RGB strips to add some different lights to help balance the stream’s color temperature.
Loop lighting is a light setup that creates a shadow over one side of your face. This is done by placing the main light source slightly above eye level. Loop lighting can help define and emphasize your face, which can help you look better on stream. Additionally, you can also add an extra source of light at a different angle to help eliminate some shadows.
We’ve talked about the basics of streaming light and how to choose one. Now let’s talk about great quality lights for your stream. We will try to include as many variations as we can so that you can surely find the best lighting source for your stream.
The Mountdog 1350W photography kit is one of those softbox lighting kits perfect for streamers. It has everything you need to start out and brighten up your stream with a 5500K color temperature.
You can buy the Mountdog lighting kits in sets of two or three softboxes. They are pretty affordable, with the set of two at $75 and three available for just a little over $100. Aside from being affordable, they can also help you save some money because it includes energy-efficient 95W light bulbs with an approximate lifetime of 10000 hours.
If you’re looking for a cheap lighting kit for your stream, then you should definitely take a look at the Walk Fly softbox lighting kit. At around $40, it’s one of the cheapest lighting options on this list and is perfect for people looking to save a buck.
It’s equipped with 135W energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs that provide a 5500K color temperature. The Walk Fly kit can light up a poorly lit room at an affordable price. It’s also quick and easy to set up and is a great option for beginner streamers who don’t want to commit too much money.
Finally, we have the Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit. Fovitec is a world-renowned light manufacturer that has provided fantastic quality products over the years. It’s one of the more expensive items on our list, but it’s definitely worth the price.
This Fovitec kit is widely considered as one of the best softbox kits in the market today. It comes with a whopping 11 bulbs spread throughout three different softboxes. Each bulb is 45W and has a color temperature of 5500K. Take your stream’s video quality to the next level by lighting it up using the Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit.
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Now let’s move on to some LED light panels. The first one is the Elgato Key Light. The Elgato Key Light is a small and compact panel that can be mounted directly onto a table. It’s perfect if you want a one-time setup light that is adjustable and compact.
Elgato is well-known for its great streaming accessories, and the Key Light is no different. It has a color temperature range of 2900K to 7000K, offers up to 2800 Lumens of brightness, and only consumes a maximum of 45W. The Elgato Key Light is a bit pricey at $199.99, but at least you’re getting a good quality product from a known brand.
The Neewer Dimmable 176 LED Light Kit is a great panel to get if you’re looking for cheap lighting. It’s available for $63 and makes for a great cheap light source for your stream. It can brighten up your room and help your viewers see your lovely face.
Based on the name itself, the LED panel is composed of 176 LED bulbs. It can output up to 1320 lumens, a color temperature of 5600K, and consumes 11W of power. It also comes with two battery packs, ensuring that you always have one charged up and ready to go.
Finally, we have the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit. It sort of acts as a middle ground between the two aforementioned light panels. It has a reasonable price of $99.99 and provides professional-quality lighting to your stream.
The Lube Cube Broadcast kit is small and compact and comes with a desktop mount, tripod, and a silicon light diffuser. It supports up to a 5600K color temperature and has a max brightness of 1080 Lux at 0.5 meters. It is a great light panel to use whether you’re streaming from a PC or a phone.
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We’re finally down to the last category, ring lights. The UBeesize 10” ring light is an incredibly cheap lighting solution you can use. It’s available for only $39.99 and is by far the most affordable lighting option on our list. It’s perfect for streamers who don’t want to blow their budget on lighting options.
The UBeesize 10” ring light has a mount in the middle for phones or cameras. It also has three color temperature options ranging from 3000K to 6000K, has touch controls, and comes with a Bluetooth remote out of the box.
The Elgato Ring Light is the perfect tool for lighting close-up shots. It’s a bit expensive at $199.99, but it offers up to 7000K color temperature, 2800 lumens, and consumes 45W of power.
One of the best things about the Elgato Ring Light is its integration with different software. You can use the Elgato Control Center to tweak the lights and set up events, integrate it into the Stream Deck, and control it via Siri. It’s sturdy, good quality, and will instantly make your lighting on stream look better.
The last item on our list is the Razer Kiyo. Personally, I believe that it’s one of the best things you can pick up as a starting streamer. The Razer Kiyo is essentially a webcam with an adjustable ring light. This makes it a great all-in-one option, not to mention that Razer throws in a free Razer Seiren Mini if you purchase the item directly on their site.
The Razer Kiyo has a USB 2.0 end and is compatible with Open Broadcaster (OBD) ad Xsplit. It also supports up to 1080 20p videos at 30fps or 1080p at 30 FPS. It’s a small and compact webcam-ring light combo that can sit right on top of your PC or be mounted on a tripod.
There are a lot of different lighting options that you can choose from. You should be able to find some lighting that’s available for a reasonable price no matter what lighting option you choose. So it’ll all boil down to other factors such as space and setup, flexibility, ease of use, and light quality.
To make it easier, we’ve created a table to help you choose the right lighting option for your needs.
You need lights so that people can properly see you when you are streaming. Using a room’s lighting alone usually isn’t enough. Adding in an additional light source or two can help balance things out.
It depends on your specific needs. Most streamers usually use around two to three LED panels or softboxes to create a good balance. Some only use a ring light together with some background lights. While the rest use a combination of different lighting equipment like jacksepticeye, who uses both a ring light and a light panel.
Generally, you’ll want your key light shining on you on either the left or right side, place the fill light on the other, and a backlight behind you to add in some highlights. This should create a triangle-like pattern.
Yes. It’s completely okay to use a ring light for streaming. It has actually grown in popularity in recent years and is often used if you stream using a phone.
You don’t necessarily need a background light, but it does help create some depth between you and your background. Popular background lights include LED strips, Nanoleaf panels, and other LED lighting options.