The lockdowns and closures of COVID-19 forced many teaching artists to move their classes online. What started out as a stricture has become a new format for some, enabling nationwide (or even worldwide) delivery of classes and tutorials. High-quality visuals are key when students have to rely on a video camera’s view, and good lighting is an important aspect of that. Whether you are delivering live classes, making video tutorials and demos, or creating video podcasts, the lighting kits we recommend below will help you raise your game.
1. Neewer Video Conference Lighting Kit
This little 12- LED square provides good, bright light at a maximum of 660 lux to illuminate faces, artwork, and tabletops. Adjust the brightness to one of 10 settings, and use the eight colored gel filters to toy with the color temperature (which can range from roughly 3200 to 5600 degrees Kelvin). The rotating ball head allows the light to swivel 360 degrees, which is helpful when shifting between showing yourself and your work on camera. The battery lasts just 1.5 hours when the light is on the brightest setting (it rises to 22 hours on the lowest setting), but you can use AA batteries instead of the rechargeable battery to keep it going. A suction cup allows the light to be mounted on a computer or tablet, or you can use the tripod stand, which extends from 3.15 inches up to 13.4 inches tall.
2. Dracast Halo Plus Compact Ring Light
Even if you aren’t a makeup vlogger, a ring light can make your face seem more, well, in focus. A clamp holds a smartphone in the center of the ring, and small tripod foot keeps the contraption stable for hands-free shooting. It’s also easy to pick up the whole assembly to show a tabletop, easel, or project details. An intuitive touch-sensor slider adjusts the color temperature between a warm 2700 and a cool 5600 degrees Kelvin.
3. AceTaken 3in1 Webcam Stand
AceTaken offers another ring light option with an innovative multi-arm stand. Although the light is only 6 inches in diameter (with no center clamp), it projects strong, even light using 72 LED bulbs. With 10 brightness levels and 3 color temperature settings, the small lamp can be set to pretty exact specifications. Plus, the light is encased in a metal shell, which boosts its longevity far above that of cheaper plastic options.
4. Emart Continuous Portable Lighting Kit
The bad news is that these LED lights don’t come with some of the special features of the other lights on this list: the brightness level is not adjustable, there is no way to attach the lights directly to a computer, and they must be plugged into a wall socket. The good news is that you get two strong, bright lights essentially for the price of one. Plus, with two perfectly matched lights, it’s easy to create even, balanced illumination on both sides of your camera.
5. Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit
When versatility is key, the high-quality Lume Cube is a smart choice. Not only is the light bright, but it is highly adjustable. The display screen on the back tells you how much time you have left in battery life depending on the brightness setting you choose. Battery life ranges from 16 straight hours on the lowest setting to just 1.3 hours at its brightest, but the USB-C charging cable is easy to plug in while in use. Color temperature can be adjusted as well, as can the mount: Choose the suction cup or the stand, which ranges from 12 to 30 inches in height.