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Top 5 Best Lighting Equipment For YouTube Videos

By Nikki Lalor For Spectrum
PUBLISHED: March 29, 2019


Top 5 Best Lighting Equipment For YouTube Videos





Why do you need your lighting for YouTube videos to look the best it can be?
 
There are several reasons:
 
  • Good lighting makes you look professional. If you want your audience to keep watching, you need to look like you know what you’re doing. Poor lighting doesn’t just make it hard to see, it gives a bad impression of your skills.

  • If you are demonstrating makeup or doing a tutorial, good lighting is essential for your viewers to see colours and techniques clearly.


  • You want to create a mood that is in line with your message. Different lighting styles and light intensity can give your audience subtle cues, and make them feel how you want them to.


  • Good lighting draws the viewer to what you want them to look at. Contrasty lighting can make people or objects stand out.

This article is going to look at the best lighting equipment to help you create perfect, professional YouTube lighting that will keep your viewers watching time after time – even if you are a complete beginner.

1. Softbox Lighting


Softboxes are translucent boxes that come in different shapes and sizes, and they fit over a studio light.


A softbox is a great tool for YouTube lighting, because they diffuse and filter the harsh glare from the lightbulb inside them. This gives a soft, even and mostly shadowless light on your subject.


Most softbox kits such as the Spectrum ‘Illuminate Mate’ Double Rectangle Softbox Lighting Kit come with two softboxes, so you can position one on each side of your subject for even lighting. These large softboxes are perfect for covering larger areas, and you can add ringlights to your lighting equipment setup for even more control.


If you want a softbox kit with dimmable lights, the Spectrum 'Kreator Kit' Double Rectangle Dimmable LED 3000-6500k Softbox Bi Coloured Lighting comes with three different lighting options: warm, white and daylight lighting temperatures, so you can match your lighting to the mood you wish to convey in your video. This lighting kit also comes with a handy remote control, so you can adjust the lighting without moving from your spot!


Lighting Equipment List


To use softboxes in your YouTube lighting setup, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Softboxes (two is best to start with)

  • Light stands – these are sturdy, adjustable stands that hold your lights and softboxes safely so they don’t fall over.

  • Lights – you need continuous lighting for shooting video. Choose from LED panels or tungsten bulbs.


How to Set Up Your Lighting Equipment

To get the best, most professional-looking YouTube lighting, you’ll need to know how to set up your lighting equipment.


A good, basic starting point is to have your subject in the middle of the two lights, which should be placed at a slight angle – think of a shallow triangle, with your subject at the head, and the two lights each forming the other point. Here’s a diagram:



This is just a guide, but this should ensure your subject is lit from the front and sides evenly.


Approx. Cost


A good, basic kit with all you need costs from between $200-300 AUD

2. Ring Lighting


This style of YouTube lighting is the go-to setup for beauty and makeup vloggers. The ring light is a lightbulb or panel that is created in a ring shape, and it’s popular because it creates an even, flattering light all around your face. The shape of it also allows for you to point your camera directly through the centre of the ring to film.


Ring light kits such as the Spectrum Aurora 13" LED Pro Ring Light Kit - Mini Pearl, the Spectrum Aurora 19" LED Ring Light Kit - Diamond Luxe V1, and the Spectrum Aurora 19" LED Ring Light Kit - Gold Luxe contain all the lighting equipment you need to get started.


Lighting Equipment List

  • A ring light (you can change the colour temperature of the lights by adding a snap-on filter).

  • A ring light stand. These stands will hold your ring light safely while you film, and some have adjustable goose necks so you can hold the light at the perfect angle for your subject.

  • Softboxes and lights for extra lighting. This is optional, as you can film with just a ring light, but for even, all round lighting you need extra softboxes to give light from the side or back.

How to Setup Your Lighting Equipment


If you have a single ring light, you will need to place it directly in front of your subject’s face, so it casts an even light over the whole face. Don’t have the ring light too far away from your subject.


For a ring light and softbox setup, have the ring light directly in front of the subject as above, but add two softboxes – one on each side, like in the diagram below:



Approx. Cost


Between $200-400 AUD

3. LED Lighting

LED panels like the Spectrum Crystal Luxe 9" Dimmable LED Side Fill Light (3200-5500k), and the Yongnuo YN300 Air Double Colour Adjustable Professional Video LED Light Kit are quickly becoming very popular for YouTube lighting setups.


They consist of a single panel with lots of individual LED bulbs set into it. They are very easy to set up and take down, and can be easily transported. They also have the advantage of staying cool (which tungsten lights do not!) while you’re using them, which is a big bonus.


Lighting Equipment List

  • Two LED light panels.

  • Modifiers. LED light panels are best used with a lighting modifier, such as a softbox.

  • Two light stands. These are needed to safely hold the light panels while you shoot, and can be adjusted to different heights.

How to Setup Your Lighting Equipment


If you have a kit with two LED panels, the best way to light is to do the same setup as you would for a two-softbox kit. (see diagram in the Softbox section).


Approx. Cost


Between $200-400 AUD

4. 3 Point Lighting (Ring Light and LED Lighting)

A good setup for YouTube lighting is called “3-point lighting”, because it’s made up of three lights – the main light, the fill light and the background light.

  • The main (key) light – This light should be stronger than the two other ones, and the one that points directly at your subject’s face, just above eye level.

  • The fill light – this light fills in any harsh shadows left by the key light, to give a more pleasing look.

  • The background light – point this light towards your background, and you will get some light that separates your subject from what’s behind them.

The ring light would be your main light, and the LED panels the fill and background light. The Spectrum Aurora Gold Luxe Ring Light 3 Point LED 'YouTube Pro Kit', the Spectrum Aurora 13" Mini Pearl Complete Studio Ring Light Softbox Kit, the Spectrum Aurora 19" Diamond Luxe Complete Make Up and Beauty Studio Ring Light Softbox Lighting Kit and the Spectrum Aurora Gold Luxe Pro Ring Light 3 Point Crystal Luxe LED Youtube Kit contain all the lights you need to create professional 3-point YouTube lighting.


Lighting Equipment List

  • Main light – ring light

  • Fill light – LED panel

  • Background light – LED panel

  • Light stands
How to Setup Your Lighting Equipment


This diagram below shows how to set up 3-point lighting:




Approx. Cost


Between $300-$800 AUD


5. Natural Lighting (With a Reflector)

Natural lighting is a simple way to get good video lighting (and it’s free!). Use a window as your key light – the biggest window you have that doesn’t get direct sunlight. It creates a beautiful light that wraps around your subject naturally, especially if the glass is frosted.


Lighting Equipment List

How to Setup Your Lighting Equipment


Set up your camera close to the window, and position your reflector so that it bounces back the window light to fill the shadow areas on your subject’s face:

Approx. Cost

Less than $30

Conclusion

It’s not as hard as you think to create professional YouTube lighting for your high-quality videos. Here’s a few extra tips to help you make your videos the best they can be:

  • Get rid of any and all shadows on your subject’s face for a professional look

  • Spend some time preparing your shoot, and have all your lighting set up and ready to go before you begin

  • Watch out for glasses glare! Glasses have an unfortunate tendency to catch the lights, resulting in reflections in the lenses. This can usually be fixed by moving either the lights or the subject so that you can no longer see reflections in the glasses.

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