Creating YouTube videos today does not require special investments in equipment. The main thing is good ideas and interesting content. When it comes to technical issues, an ordinary smartphone is enough to start with. However, with time it comes time to improve the quality of the footage you create. But before you start looking around for a better camera or camcorder, it’s worth thinking about the right lighting. A good choice of lights and the ability to set them up correctly is essential when it comes to the visual side of vlogs. If you don’t know what equipment to choose, to bring out depth from your frames, to properly light your face or create a colorful background glow, this guide is for you!
- How to use natural light to illuminate your vlog.
- How to position yourself in relation to the sun to avoid overexposing your frame?
- What should a basic set of lights for vlogging consist of?
- How to properly light a person performing in front of the camera?
- What is a diffuse, draw and control light?
- What lamps to choose to start with?
Vlogging in the field: natural light
Before we move on to working with lights, let’s start with the simplest scenario. If you’re recording your vlog outdoors and you happen to hit good weather, the sun can be your greatest ally. Here it is worth remembering that the character you are filming should not be darker than the background. So running into the shadows will not be the best idea. The face then becomes gray and the background becomes white. If you are not sure if you have successfully used this advice, find the right mobile app or camera mode to film in black and white. Then the contrasts will be clearly visible and will allow you to properly assess the quality of the frame. Unfortunately, the sun doesn’t have an adjustment dial, so if there was too much of it, you might want to use a blender or ND filter.
Natural light in the apartment while recording vlogs
When filming without lights at home, you can take advantage of the sun coming in through the window. However, it will be difficult for you to get the correct exposure when it is behind your back. Positioning yourself facing the window is the best you can do if you don’t have access to lamps, or if you want to avoid the shadows that are created when you film in the stagnant conditions that home ceiling lighting offers.
A basic set of lights for a vlogger
The most minimalist solution you can use when looking for a way to properly light your vlog is a ring lamp. Position it in front of you so that the light shines on your face. When using it, avoid overhead room lighting, as it can cause shadows under your eyes. For the same reason, the ring lamp should not illuminate you from above, below or from the side. When working with a ring lamp, it’s also a good idea to avoid strong light sources that are directly behind you (watch out for windows on sunny days!). The same principle we wrote about earlier will work here – the figure should not be darker than the background.
Ring lamp at a good price
If you are looking for a suitable ring lamp to use when recording your vlogs, it is worth paying attention to the Newell RL-18A model. The device has a built-in diffuser that will provide natural and soft light, without the need for additional accessories. You will adjust the power and color temperature using the dials. Thanks to its distinctive design, the lamp offers even light distribution, which is great for vlogs where you speak directly into the camera. The lamp is also equipped with 3 guides (“sleds”), allowing you to plug in smartphone, microphone or camera holders. Importantly, you will find a handy remote control included with the device. With its help, you will conveniently adjust the power and color temperature, without having to move away from your vlogger station. And since the Newell RL-18A can operate on independent channels, one remote control will give you control over 3 such lamps.
How to properly light a character on a vlog?
In a moment we’ll move on to more lamps that are great for lighting vlogs. But first, a bit of theory and 3 basic terms you should know when it comes to working with light.
- Key light — this is the main light falling on the character. It is the strongest of the whole setup, which makes the plasticity of the face the most emphasized.
- Back light — its task is to cut off the character from the background. Most often set on the side of the key light. It helps to create the impression of depth. Thanks to the counter light, the person speaking to the camera does not merge with the background.
- Fill light — its task is to fill the set with even light. Set close to the camera, camcorder or smartphone, on the opposite side to the key light. Depending on the working conditions, it can be directed at the character or at the ceiling. Sometimes they can be replaced by a blende.
Lamps for vlog lighting
To start with, of course, you don’t need as many as 3 different lamps. This setup is an option for those who have a large space and, of course, a slightly larger budget. One lamp or using a set of two is also the optimal choice when it comes to vlogs. Below are several lamp models that will work well as a source of drawing, control or fill light. Some of them offer the ability to adjust the intensity of the light, change its color or color temperature, which will further allow you to spread your wings of creativity. The order is not accidental – we start with slightly smaller models and end with flagships with really impressive power! But first…
Ready-made light kit for a vlogger
We will start our lamp review with “all in one” proposals. Not everyone has time to complete a proper setup of equipment. It is for such people that the Newell Sparkle LED light kit was created. In the box you will find everything a vlogger looking for solid lights at a good price needs. It includes: 2 Newell Sparkle LED lights, 2 power supplies, 2 tripods, 2 50 x 70 cm softboxes with covers and a carrying bag. It only takes a few minutes to set up a portable studio anywhere. This will be the best alternative to similar sets that use studio bulbs. The maximum luminous flux of each LED panel is as much as 1650 lux, and the set is almost 100W of power! The lights also offer adjustable color temperature and the option to be powered by rechargeable batteries.
LED panel with compact dimensions and high power. The compact and lightweight design of the device is based on 320 LEDs that generate pleasant, soft light. Thanks to the use of infinite power adjustment, the panel will work well in all conditions. The design of the lamp allows it to be mounted on the camera shoe with the help of the included adapter.
Newell Air 650i / Newell Air 1100
Slightly larger panels, supplemented with a color temperature adjustment function. They have a built-in diffuser to soften the light. This way you don’t have to invest in additional blends. You will install the lamps on a tripod using the included bracket, which additionally allows you to adjust the angle of the panel.
Newell Air Artha / Newell Air Artha XL
A great alternative to rectangular LED panels are the Newell Air Artha and Newell Air Artha XL round LED lights. This is an excellent source of powerful light with a large surface area. Adjustable color temperature and intensity will make it easy to control the proper illumination of the scene, and the built-in diffuser will allow you to get the soft light vloggers want.
Newell RGB Vividha Max
The next proposal is not only a huge power and color temperature control, but also the ability to change the color of the light. The Newell Vividha Max lamp is equipped with 216 RGBWW LEDs that allow you to experiment in the HSI color space. 36 HUE shades, a 10-step brightness scale and variable saturation will allow you to precisely adjust the colors to suit the atmosphere of your vlog. However, that’s not all. With 9 special modes, you’ll simulate fireworks, a thunderstorm, a broken light bulb or the warm light of a campfire, among other things. The special effects on the vlogs are something that is sure to make you stand out. Also worth noting are the included metal gates. Their 4 independently operating wings will allow you to properly direct or focus the light stream in a selected part of the frame. You also get a diffuser and a zippered carrying case included with the lamp.
Background lighting and lighting effects
When looking for a way to make your frame look striking, it’s also a good idea to get slightly smaller lamps that allow you to change the color of the light. The easiest way to get an interesting effect is to place the device behind your back and illuminate the background. However, your possibilities do not end there. “Passing” light through blinds, plants or placing lamps behind scenery elements will allow you to create depth, highlight objects or “paint” interesting patterns with shadows. As effect lighting, the following lamp models from Newell will work great:
Newell RGB-W Rangha and Rangha Max
High power enclosed in a compact housing of Rangha makes you use it not only for vlogs recorded at home, but also when working outdoors. The biggest advantage of this model is the full RBG range and white LEDs with the ability to change saturation and power infinitely. There are also 21 thematic programs, which will effectively activate dormant layers of creativity.
For the slightly more demanding, a good choice will be the Newell RGB-W Rangha Max. This is an improved and slightly larger version of the Rangha panel. Compact and lightweight, it offers a maximum luminous flux of 1650 lumens, adjustable color temperature between 3200 K – 5600 K, special effects, and an HSI color palette with adjustable saturation.
Good lighting is the key!
Light is the foundation of cinematography. The sooner you learn to work with it for your vlogs, the better! Of course, what you have to share with the world is the most important, but when developing your work published on YouTube, you can’t forget about the visual layer. Experiment with colors, break the rules and see for yourself how the arrangement of shadows on your face changes when you change the lamp setting. In our opinion, this is the best way to learn how to work with light. Let us know if any of Newell’s lamps accompany you on a daily basis and how you work with them. As always, we look forward to hearing from you on our Facebook or Instagram, and if necessary, we’d be happy to help you select equipment for your specific needs.