Terms like live-streaming, vlogging, game streaming, podcasting, and Zoom meetings have become common vernacular. As more and more of us work from home or are forced to seek creative outlets from home, these terms are more critical than ever. The rise in video as the king of the content family means that we need to step up our game when live streaming online. Regardless of streaming a work call, podcast or starting a new photography-related vlog, there's one consistent element required. For live streaming to be effective, compelling and retain audience attention, you need a solid livestream lighting setup.
It's no secret that taking the time to set up lighting elevates the quality of video content. Videographers and cinematographers invest countless hours and big budgets on lighting setups. With the correct lighting type, lighting placement and awareness of how light and shadows fall on a subject, you can achieve award-winning outcomes too. Lighting techniques are best learned and instantly applied to see how your lights work with the scene you're creating. The best bit is that you can achieve exceptional outcomes with a single light - even if it is just for a work Zoom call. Why not impress your viewers, colleagues and followers with high-quality production values.
Livestream Lighting on Georges Cameras TV
In our latest Georges Cameras TV video, Nathan looks at a range of livestream lighting solutions available at Georges Cameras. In part one of our five-part livestream series, Nathan demonstrates setting up and working with a range of high-quality lightings ideal for live streams. If a builder has a tool for every job, a live streamer should have a light for every scene. Nathan also provides tuition on how to set up and place lighting, as well as some of the highly recommended kits.
Ring Lights To The Rescue
Ring lights make for handy and very compact lighting solutions to your live stream setup. Ring lights come in various sizes with varying power output depending on the number of LED beads in the lighting array. Ring lights can be powered directly via a wall output, or smaller models often feature a USB connection to plug it straight into your laptop. As a result, ring lights are ideal for those live streamlining from a small space or desktop. Most ring lights come in kit form to include a mount attached to a light stand or a tabletop tripod for convenience. As ring lights are popular with smartphone vloggers, they also have phone mounts allowing you to position the phone in the centre of the light. That way, when vlogging, the presenter is evenly illuminated.
Fotopro Vlogging Ring Light Kit
The FotoPro Vlogging Ring Light Kit is an all in one solution to light up your next live stream. Regardless of working from home, the office or on the go, the Fotopro kit has everything you need. The lightweight and portable ring light features a dimmable bi-colour temperature range of 3000K to 6000K to make skin tones pop. With a 20cm diameter, the Fotopro light is perfect for those live streaming from a smart device or tablet. Included in the kit are a flexible tabletop tripod and a smartphone holder. Streaming from a desk or home office has never been easier. It also features the ability to power it from a power bank for ultimate portability.
Nanlite Halo 18" Bi-Color Ring Light Case Kit
The next step is the Nanlite Halo 18" Bi-Colour Ring Light with a 0% to 100% dimmable bi-colour light for the ultimate illumination. The Nanlite features a variable 2700K to 5600K colour temperature with 95 CRI and 93 TLCI ratings for maximum colour capture. The larger 45cm diameter light is ideal for casting even light for streaming make-up, beauty, or just optimising the lighting on a Zoom call. The larger 30cm centre opening allows a smartphone to be mounted via the included bracket. Alternatively, mount a mirrorless camera such as the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 lens. The Nanlite Halo kit includes a carry bag, AC adapter and dual-sided mirror for reference. Georges Cameras also offers a kit including the Nanlite Halo and a Phottix P220 Light Stand.
Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Mirrorless Camera
If you're on the hunt for the ultimate live stream camera and lens combo, look no further than the Panasonic GH5 II. Regardless of setting up a professional meeting system or a live stream studio for vlogs, the GH5 II is the best choice. The GH5 II packs a 20-megapixel micro four-thirds sensor for superior image quality and dynamic range. It features an enhanced 5-axis Dual IS image stabilisation system for stable videography even in handheld mode. In terms of video, the GH5 II records 4K at 60p, 4:2:0 8-bit internally and 4K at 60p, 4:2:2 10-bit to an external recorder. For a cinematography outcome, it also shoots 4K Anamorphic at 60p and vertical 4K recording at 60p. It provides seamless integration for live streaming to social media platforms via the LUMIX Sync App.
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 Lens
Livestreams such as game streams and vlogs often require a wider shot to capture the presenter and the surrounding environment. The best wide-angle lens for the Panasonic GH5 II is the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0. Being a micro four-thirds system, the focal range equates to 16-36mm in full-frame. The 8-18mm lens has a fast f/2.8-4 maximum aperture to achieve excellent subject separation and background blur. The lens grouping and optical elements deliver image sharpness, and the autofocus system is quick and silent. The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm is excellent for on the go, thanks to its splash, dust and anti-freeze design.
Phottix P220 Light Stand (7.2')
To correctly place and angle the Nanlite Halo 18" Bi-Colour Ring Light, you'll need a high-quality light stand like the Phottix P220. The Phottix P220 light stand features spring-cushioned sections to minimise the impact when dropping the stand height. The P200 extends from a folded size of 79cm up to 220cm, allowing you to place the Halo up high for a top-down lighting effect. The stand supports a 4kg load capacity making it more than enough to support the 1.6kg weight of the single Halo ring light.
LED Light Panels Cast Brilliant Illumination
LED panels are ideal for live stream sets up as they are still relatively compact yet cast brilliant illumination. What's more, most LED panels feature variable colour temperatures, dimmable output and the full RGB spectrum of colours. Another benefit to LED panels is the ability to modify the light beyond the built-in controls. Many LED panels feature a range of light modification accessories to further shape, diffuse and alter the light to suit your live stream production. It's important to note that while LED panels are compact, they still require a suitable light stand to support them. That way, you can position the light or multiple lights to suit your lighting setup.
Manfrotto LYKOS Bi-Colour On-Camera LED Light Single Kit
Manfrotto is one of the most trusted brands in photography and videography equipment. That's why we recommend the pro-grade Manfrotto LYKOS Bi-Color On-Camera LED Light Kit. Available in single, double, triple and quad kits, the Manfrotto LYKOS panels allow you to optimise a livestream lighting setup no matter how big or small your workspace is. Each LYKOS LED light features 48 SMT LEDs delivering a CRI rating of 93. The adjustable bi-colour lighting solution provides a colour temperature of 3000K to 5600K and can achieve flicker-free dimming from 0-100%. The LYKOS lights pack a punch with a 1500 LUX output at 1m. The lights feature temperature and dimness control dials and a handy LCD for reference. For portability, it also features a recessed L-Series battery mount.
Pilotcine AtomCUBE RX50 RGBWW Portable Video Light (Premium Edition)
Where the Manfrotto Lykos is a Bi-Colour LED panel, the Pilotcine AtomCUBE RX50 RGBWW Portable Video Light is a powerful LED panel that delivers full CCT and RGB lighting. The bi-colour LED mode provides a 2500K to a staggering 8500K colour temperature with a high 95 CRI and 99 TLCI rating. The AtomCube RGB mode pumps out the full 360-colour spectrum with the flexibility to fine-tune saturation, intensity and hue. It delivers an impressive 6200 LUX at 50cm and includes Bluetooth-mesh technology to control single or multiple lights easily. The Premium Edition of the AtomCUBE consists of a quick-release barn door module for more directional light and a slide in soft light diffuser. The Pilotcine AtomCUBE is an ideal lighting solution for those that need optimal lighting in their next stream. Georges Cameras provides a unique bundle with the AtomCUBE RX50, Manfrotto Magic Arm, Super Clam and SWX Hypercore Battery.
If the Pilotcine AtomCUBE is too big for your workspace, or you want some additional side lights, take a look at the Pilotcine ARX7 RGB LED panel. While it's far smaller and lightweight than its big brother, the ARX7 still delivers 2500K to 8500K variable colour. Being an RGB light, it also provides the full 360-degree hue and colour saturation to add pop to your next vlog. Built from aircraft aluminium, the ARX7 features control dials, an OLED display screen and an integrated rechargeable battery for up to two hours of portable lighting. The Pilotcine ARX7 can also run off a power bank and pairs seamlessly with the CyberSync App for complete remote control.
Manfrotto Magic Arm
When setting up a live stream lighting array, it's sometimes necessary to make quick adjustments to the direction or angle of the light. The last thing you want in the middle of a stream is to have to get up and move a light stand. By far, the best solution is the Manfrotto Magic Arm. The lightweight yet durable Magic Arm extends on elbowed joints to a maximum of 53cm in length. It includes a handy single lever to lock all three pivot points in place, allowing for quick lighting changes during a stream. The included Super Clamps allow the Magic Arm to be mounted to a light stand centre pole for additional side lighting.
Joby Gorillapod 3K Kit
An alternative way to mount either the Pilotcine RX50 or ARX7 is with the ultra-handy Joby Gorillapod 3K Kit. The Joby Gorillapod is a compact and lightweight tabletop tripod ideal for mounting a camera or compact light panel. It includes a ball-head to deliver 360-degree pan rotation and 90-degree tilt. The best bit about the Gorillapod is its flexible leg sections. They can be straightened like a traditional tabletop tripod or flexed to fit any situation. If shooting outdoors under a tree, wrap the legs of the Gorillapod around a tree branch for a natural light stand. The Gorillapod supports a maximum 3kg payload making it ideal for smaller light panels and ring lights.
LED Tubes Light The Way
Tube lights have been the central part of professional cinematography kits for decades. However, unlike the old fluorescent tubes, a new generation of powerful LED light tubes has taken centre stage. LED light tubes are available in bi-colour and total RGB to apply dramatic lighting effects to any studio space. What's more, when used in live streaming situations, they can be used to light the presenter, background or be used as a point of interest in the scene. Light tubes take up next to no room, thanks to their slimline profile and portability.
Nanlite PavoTube 30C 4' RGBW LED Tube with Internal Battery
Nanlite offer a range of PavoTube LED light tubes in sizes from the 10" (25.4cm) up to the whopping 4' (120cm). The Nanlite PavoTube 30C 4' RGBW LED Tube is a powerful streaming LED delivering a 2700K to 6500K bi-colour temperature range. It achieves a CRI of 98 and a TLCDI of 95 along with 0-100% dimmable light output. In addition to bi-colour output, the PavoTube offers 360-colour RGB lighting to deliver dramatic background effects. One of the best features of the PavoTube is the ability to mount it to a light stand quickly or stand it on end in the corner. The PavoTube includes a built-in rechargeable battery for 2.2 hours of runtime at 100% power. Georges Cameras have created two bespoke Nanlite PavoTube 30C kits. The first PavoTube kit bundles a Manfrotto light stand, grip head and spigot. The second PavoTube bundle includes an Avenger C-stand, grip head and spigot for boom light operation.
Manfrotto Compact Light Stand
If you're looking for a simple way to mount and position the Nanlite PavoTube, pick up the Manfrotto Compact Light Stand. A collapsible design expands from 118cm to 273cm and supports up to 5kg. Ideal for smaller studios, desk setups, or those who stream from location, the lightweight stand weighs only 1.2kg. It features an ultra-wide footprint for stability and an industry-standard 5/8" spigot with a 3/8" thread and a removable 1/4" adapter.
Livestream Lights That Pack A Punch
If you're looking for high-powered and pro-level lighting solutions for larger livestream scenarios, then you need something with a lot more punch. More powerful lights are essential if you are operating from a larger studio space blacked out from natural light. Larger LED COB (Chip On Board) monolights and panels are the ideal solutions for studio-quality lighting. Not only are they more powerful, but they feature a broader range of features to optimise the lighting quality in your next live stream video. Larger LED lights always work best in conjunction with the smaller lights covered above. That way, you can light large areas while achieving softer and more directed light on a subject.
Aputure Amaran 200D Daylight LED Light
A great example of a powerful monolight is the Aputure Amaran 200D Daylight LED Light. It is a daylight-balanced COB LED that delivers 200W of power. The 200D doesn't feature variable colour temperature, making its 5600K output ideal for natural lighting in larger areas. It boasts a CRI of 95 and a TLCI of 96 and features eight lighting effects for dramatic applications. The Aputure Amaran 200D features the industry recognised Bowens Mount to support a wide range of accessories. When mounted with the 55-degree Hyper-Reflector, it cranks up the output to 65,000 lux at 1m. One of the best features of the 200D is the built-in Sidus Mesh technology to form a lighting network with other Aputure lights. All are controllable from the Sidux Link smartphone app for ultimate fine-tuning of lighting in your next stream or vlog. Georges Cameras have developed an Aputure 200D kit to include a Manfrotto light stand, Light Dome II, Aputure Power Station and a pair of batteries.
Aputure Light dome II
One of the must-have accessories to optimise your Aputure 200D is the Aputure Light Dome II. The Light Dome II is a hexadecagon shaped softbox that mounts securely and quickly to the 200D Bowens Mount. It features 16 steel robs lining the Dome to allow for quick pop-up and take-down. Bundled with the Aputure Light Dome II is a pair of front diffusers panels rate at 1.5 stops and 2.5 stops. It features a 60cm depth that in turn produces a focused and directional light. It can be further modified with the included 40-degree fabric grid. For additional lighting effects, it consists of a Gel Filter Holder for creative colour options.
Phottix Stay-Put Sandbag II (Medium)
The Aputure Amaran 200D Daylight LED Light and Light Dome mount seamlessly to the Phottix P220 Light Stand for directional and height control. Once you have your lighting set up and stand in place, it's always best to drop a Phottix Stay-Put Sandbag or two across the tripod legs of the stand. With the light and Dome facing one direction, a sandbag on the leg facing the opposite direction provides stability and support. Most importantly, it prevents your light stand from toppling over, injuring someone, or breaking an expensive light. Phottix Stay-Put Sandbags feature a saddle-bag design and convenient carry handle. They also have a sturdy side clip to connect to other light management tools.
Aputure Nova P300c RGBWW LED Panel
Much like the Aputure 200D, the Aputure Nova P300c RGBWW LED Panel is a bigger and more powerful lighting solution for larger spaces. Measuring 63.5cm x 32cm x 16.5cm, it's not the kind of light for desktop or mobile device streaming. Nova P300c is a full bi-colour and RGB LED light panel that pushes out a staggering colour temperature range of 2000K to 10,000K. It features an impressive CRI and TLCI of 95 with a full RGB hue and saturation control for millions of HSI colour options. In addition, the Nova features a Gel Mode with up to 300 digital gels selectable from the menu. All with a 9000 LUX output at 1m! It's also supported by the onboard DMX control system and connecting wirelessly with the Sidux app. For outdoor streaming, the Nova P300c can run on batteries or universal direct power. At Georges Cameras, we've created a Nova P300c Kit to include a Manfrotto light stand, Nova softbox, Aputure Power Station and two batteries.
Manfrotto Ranker Light Stand
The Aputure Nova P300c weighs in at 25kg and fits its included mounting yoke. To support that weight, you need a sturdy and reliable light stand. One option is the Manfrotto Ranker 1005BAC light stand that's lightweight and compact yet strong enough to support most lighting systems. The Ranker features three locking sections with air cushioning for fine control of stand height. The stand expands from 118cm up to a ceiling touching 273cm. It features an extra-wide 106c footprint for ultimate stability when supporting heavy lights.
Manfrotto Quick Action Super Clamp TUV
Another handy addition to your live stream lighting kit is a super clamp. The Manfrotto Quick Action Super Clamp features TUV safety certification and supports up to 15kg payload. With the leading light mounted to the top of the Manfrotto Ranker light stand, use the Super Clamp to fasten a side light or even a camera to the centre pole. The rapid-locking jaw makes for fast attachment with equipment mounting to the hexagonal 16mm or 6.35mm thread attachments. The Super Clamp jaws securely grip to bars, plate and stand from 13-55mm.
Top Techniques For Livestream Lighting
High Key and Low Key Lighting
Key lighting typically refers to the use of a single light to control the mood through directional light. For live streaming and vlogging, a single key light is ideal for delivering an even and well-balanced level of light. That way, the presenter is well lit while the background fades into shadow. High Key lighting is predominantly intense daylight balanced light from an LED panel such as the Aputure Nova P300c. High key lighting also tends to create greater levels of contrast, especially when using a single light.
Low Key lighting is used to create darker moods with less contrast, lower light output and stronger shadows. For most livestream and vlogging situations, low key lighting is considered too dark. However, low key lighting would deliver a darker environment to reduce distraction from the streamed game content for game streaming.
For the best live stream lighting outcomes, we recommend a three-point lighting approach. Three separate lights are placed around the video presenter rather than use a single high-powered LED panel or monolight. Three-point lighting is a great solution for live streams where the presenter is in a larger studio space. The presenter is light primarily via a key light delivering the majority of power and illumination. It is placed at a 45-degree angle in front of the presenter.
To the other side, also at a 45-degree angle, is the fill light. The fill light is less powerful than the key light and cancels out the shadows caused by the key light. The third light is a backlight that is placed behind the presenter at a 45-degree angle. A backlight creates a nice depth of field and subject separation between the presenter and the background. The Manfrotto LYKOS Bi-Color On-Camera LED 3 Light Kit is the ideal solution for three-point lighting.
Side lighting is the method most employed in livestream scenarios as it delivers a much softer and more controlled level of light. In side lighting, it's best to use at least two lights to provide illumination from each side of the presenter or subject. Side lighting sees the lights placed in front and to the presenter's side - typically at a 45-degree angle. Sidelights accentuate facial and body contours without washing out features. Side lighting helps to manage contrast however should always be diffused.
Final Thoughts on Livestream Lighting
It's clear to see that with a single light or with a set of them, you can achieve outstanding outcomes in your next live stream. The key to live stream lighting is to build a lighting kit that suits your genre of videography and the size of your workspace. You also need to consider how portable you need your kit to be. Georges Cameras stock the complete range of livestream lighting standalone lighting solutions and a range of bespoke kits to suit your content. Head in-store or online now at Georges Cameras to build your ultimate livestream lighting kit.