POSTED ON 26 AUGUST 2020
As video calls steadily replace face-to-face meetings and our professional lives move into the digital sphere, how do we keep up with our rapidly changing working world? While our conference rooms are exchanged for Zoom meetings in our living rooms (or even bedrooms!), our responsibilities stay the same, and we have to adapt to a whole new world of remote working while sustaining the levels of communication and professionalism expected of us.
Whether you’re hoping to impress your boss or pitching your next big project, you need to look the part; even if you’ve just rolled out of bed for your 9am meeting. The first step to this? Good lighting!
That’s right, Zoom lighting is like a good pair of shoes: you might not think you need it, but when it doesn’t look good you’re really going to notice it (except you probably won’t be seeing the shoes on a Zoom call…).
Our virtual first impression is just as important as our physical one, and good Zoom lighting is going to ensure you look and feel your best. While a lasting good impression is priceless, you don’t have to break the bank, either.
Why is lighting important?
You can have the best webcam in the world but it won’t save you from bad Zoom lighting; after all your webcam needs lighting to do its job in the first place. What use is a great webcam if you can’t see your face?
Beyond that, good Zoom lighting flatters; it makes you look professional. Other members of the call should be able to clearly see your face and features in the same way they would if you were in person. Not everyone has the luxury of wide open windows that let in plenty of natural light and even then that’s not going to suffice at all hours of the day. It’s times like this when we have to turn to the versatility of artificial lighting – and I don’t mean your standard light fixtures either.
Zoom themselves confess the importance of good video call lighting: “As we move into the future of video, we need to realize that the video experience will be defined by the environment and lighting of that environment,” they say. “External daylight influence will have a large impact on the camera’s perception of that room depending on the time of day if the space is not shaded well. Ideally, natural light is shaded, and only controlled or non-natural lighting is being used within the room to maintain some ownership over the experience.”
Just one light can make the world of difference
What do you need?
Well, it goes without saying that you’re going to need a light. Zoom lighting needs to be lightweight and compact that can be ready at a moment’s notice; quick to set up but without compromising on quality.
Popular among streamers, content creators and influencers alike, ring lights are the perfect beginner-friendly tool that will elevate your image. They can come in a multitude of different sizes from desktop lights that can fit in the palm of your hand to larger units for studio use.
No matter their size, they all have one thing in common: their soft light is bound to fill those horrible shadows on your face. What is soft light? Simply put, soft light is – well – soft. You can tell a light’s softness by looking at the shadows it casts. Hard light will cast stronger shadows whereas a soft light will ‘wrap’ around you.
The Rotolight Video Conferencing Kit provides a compact NEO 2 ring light – just the right size for your desktop – alongside an adjustable stand, so you have everything you need to effortlessly achieve professional quality lighting and eliminate unwanted shadows in seconds.
Sorting your setup
So you have your Zoom lighting sorted, but what do you do with it? How should you set them up? A light isn’t much use if it’s not illuminating the right parts of your face.
You’re also going to need a light stand or tripod of some kind to mount your light. If you’re going with a bigger light or you’ll be using it frequently – maybe even daily – feel free to go with a full-size light stand that will work for any occasion. Put it behind your desk so that the light shines down on you over your monitor for when you’re seated, or extend it if you need to give any full-length presentations. Chances are though that you’ll more often than not you’ll be seated at a desk or table, so you’ll only need a mini tripod or desktop stand, like the one included in the Video Conferencing Kit.
Using your stand you’ll be able to easily position the light to clearly illuminate and flatter your features.
Just as much as you don’t want your call to be too dark, you also don’t want it to be too light; it can look just as unprofessional and even more jarring. But Zoom lighting doesn’t need to be an annoying and inconvenient affair, moving your light closer or further away from you until you’re happy with the result, or – even worse – just hoping that you look ok!
Some lights, like the award-winning NEO 2 included with the Video Conferencing Kit, are easily adjustable and give you full control over the brightness and even colour temperature of your lighting, so it doesn’t leave you guessing or messing around with your setup. Once you’ve got your light where you want it, that’s the hard bit done!
Sorting your settings
So you may have noticed we said the NEO 2 can change its colour temperature. What’s colour temperature? On a basic level, colour temperature describes the colour of white light.
Have you ever noticed that a tungsten light bulb produces a much more orange light than a household LED? That means the tungsten has a lower colour temperature than your household LED.
So how does this work for you? Well, it means that whether you need it at midnight or midday, the NEO 2 is going to be able to match the ambient lighting and make sure you’re looking your best.
Now, you go and ace that interview, smash that pitch and take your brand to the next level. Good Zoom lighting should do all the hard work for you so you can focus on leaving a lasting impression your clients won’t forget.