With this pandemic situation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, business professionals, students, teachers, and nearly everybody is bound to work from their home. Everyone is now sitting in front of their computers looking into the webcams. All the meetings and classes are taking place online. One of the major problem during these online sessions people are facing is the video call quality. No one wants to look like that they are sitting in some sort of cave during their presentations and meetings. To make a flawless impression you need to achieve perfect lighting that will make your video call clean, crisp, and a lot more professional. And to get the professional webcam lighting you will have to consider the following tips.
How to light your webcam meetings to look professional:
- Place the light source in front
- Balance your light
- Light Positioning
- Keep the background darker
- Adjust the settings
- Clean the lens
- Get the right equipment
Let us go through all of the points and help you get the best webcam lighting.
What will make it look professional?
The softer the light in your video will be, the more professional it will look. Soft light adds visual comfort to the footage. It can reduce additional shadows by filling in more evenly. Therefore, when there are no hard shadows and the lighting is even on the subject, it makes the subject and the surroundings more appealing. Comparatively, when we use a source that provides hard light, it will produce an image with strong shadow and hard details. Thus, if the subject is on a webcam, soft lighting is the best solution. All other factors such as the position of the source, equipment, and settings play a vital role.
Below we will discuss all the important tips.
1. Place the light source in front:
If the light source is placed behind the subject, the footage will be a disaster. If the light is coming from behind, it can create a silhouette and make it hard even to see the face clearly. While deciding the area to use your webcam, make sure that it has no bright light behind your.
2. Balance your light:
Placing the source in front is not enough. You have to make sure that the light is balanced. If you are using a single light source, it can some time result in creating unnecessary shadows. Light will not be even in all the parts. If you face such a problem, use multiple light sources to balance it. Placing them at different angles can result in even and softer lighting.
3. Lighting positioning:
Using multiple light sources won’t help until you position them accurately. There is a very useful technique called the Three-Point Lighting Technique. This technique uses three lights called the key light, fill light, and back light. Using three lights is not compulsory to utilize this technique, although it can be beneficial even one or two lights. If are using a single light, it becomes the key. If you are using two lights, one remains the key and the other becomes either the fill or the backlight.
- Key Light: As the name shows, it is the main light. This light will be the most important, and placing it will have a great influence on the overall video quality. In this technique, we place it on one side of the subject/camera such that one side is perfectly lit and the other has some shadow.
- Fill Light: The secondary light called the fill light is placed on the opposite side of the key light. By doing so we can fill the shadows that were created by the key light. To make the fill light effect, it is usually kept softer and less bright than the key. For this, you move the source further away or use a source that is already softer.
- Back Light: We place the back light behind the subject. You might be thinking that previously in the article we advised not to use a backlight. Here the back light does not provide a direct light, it is for the subtle highlights and definition around the subject. The main purpose of the back light is to separate the subject from the background by providing a three-dimensional look.
4. Keep the background darker:
Keeping the background darker then the subject helps to maintain the audience’s attention towards the subject. Besides, it makes the webcam video look more professional. For this, keep the light sources positioned towards the subject and keep your background as clear and clean as you can. You can use a backdrop that doesn’t reflect much light. In fact with the backdrops or a green screen, using virtual backgrounds becomes much easier.
5. Adjust the settings:
According to the application you are using you can alter the settings to match your requirements. In some apps such as Zoom, you can adjust the brightness, enable HD, etc. Another effective thing to do is to mirror your video. By enabling the effect, you can prevent confusion when you have to show something on the video call by the use of hands.
6. Clean the lens:
This should be the first thing to do before starting a video call. If you don’t want any moisture or dirt to disturb the video quality, clean it.
7. Get the right lighting equipment:
The tips discussed above are quite useful but not if your equipment is useless. Most of the people use built-in webcams on their devices and room lights. This can give an OK but not a Professional video quality during your webcam meeting. To get exceptional quality some of the following equipment is recommended. This equipment can be easily found on Amazon.
- External webcam: Using an external webcam with HD or a higher quality instead of the built-in cams is will be surprisingly effective. The change in the video quality will surely make it look very professional; the rest will be on the lighting. Logitech Conference Cam BCC950 is a perfect camera for webcam meetings; it provides HD video with any amazing speakerphone audio. You can find it on Amazon for around 250 USD.
- Daylight LED bulbs: Yellow room light is the worse for webcam meetings. There is a very easy solution to this problem. Use the Daylight LED bulbs, they are brighter, provide white light, and save electricity. You can find some good LED bulbs on amazon between the range of 9-25 USD.
- Ring Light: Ring Lights are one of the most effective solutions to get the soft light. This equipment will solve most of your lighting problems. Especially if you use virtual backgrounds it will perfectly lit your face separating you from the background. Moreover, there are different ring lights available on amazon that allow dimming and different color temperatures. A good ring light with all the essential features can cost you around 30 to 40 USD.
- Video Conference Lighting Kit: There job is similar to ring lights but they are portable. You can control brightness, the color temperature on these kits, and they provide a very professional soft light. One of the best products available on amazon is the Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting kit. It is available on Amazon for around 70 USD. Note that it is a “worth spending for” product if you want to look professional in your webcam meetings regardless of where you are.
Not to forget:
Lighting is the most important, but not the only factor that will make your webcam meetings look professional. Don’t forget to place the camera at the right level. Keeping it at your eye level is recommended. Sit at the right distance. Always keep the frame clear, a plain background can be quite helpful. Test your setup before joining the meaning, if everything is working fine then go ahead.
Why to do all this?
The main reason for doing all this is to maintain a professional appearance. Professional appearance is a vital factor that makes your presentation a lot better. In addition to webcam quality during the online meetings, dressing well will also contribute. When you know that your visual representation is perfect, you will automatically become more confident. As a result, you will be able to perform better. Your visual representation will give the first impression before you start. If it is good, the audience will also listen to more carefully rather then if your representation is not professional.
Visual representation makes the first impression, independent of the type of a meeting or presentation. In the webcam meetings, the first thing that contributes to the visual representation is your webcam quality. You can improve quality by using different tips to achieve soft lighting. In addition, use your lighting set up such that it makes the subject stand out from the background. This will help the video look a lot more professional and clear. By using the right equipment and not forgetting the other factors that also contribute, you can easily make your webcam meeting look professional.