When creating a perfect stream setup, lighting is usually overlooked. But the fact is lighting plays a significant role in creating a consistent and professional quality stream – without proper lighting, your stream will suffer. Online streaming is fun; it doesn’t require a lot of crazy, expensive equipment to achieve. Although the online streaming device has a basic configuration, you only need to use the appropriate light source to get great results.
If you are starting live streaming on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, or other platforms, your video must have proper lights. Anyone with a decent gaming computer or a modern gaming console can become a streamer. However, good lighting is one of the essential elements for a successful live broadcast. Even if there is a lot of natural lighting in the studio, you still need to invest in lighting equipment. If you don’t have enough light, your stream may look particularly blur and rough as your webcam or camera struggles to utilize the available light.
With that said, no amount of lighting can make a horrible camera look good. To find out more about the best cameras for live streaming, check out our guide on that linked below.
Also Read: – Best Cameras for Live Streaming
Different Types Of Lighting For Streaming
You can choose from two types of lighting: softbox or desktop lighting. The principle of the softbox’s operation is to limit the light from the lamp into a closed room and then releasing it through at least one layer of diffusive material. When the light passes through the translucent material, it is scattered, which gives a very uniform and soft effect.
The use of a softbox is mainly divided into two categories: Key Light as the primary light source and Fill light as the additional light source to reduce contrast. Although you can apply any style of the light source to a key or fill, fill with intense light renders poor results. On the other hand, softboxes are ideal for filling light because they do not cast sharp shadows. Softboxes are now made of lightweight materials and are available in various sizes.
Any professional video producer would know that size is the core difference between a softbox lighting and desktop lighting. Traditionally, softbox lights are used for taking photographs, and they take up a lot of space in the studio setup. Whereas, Desktop lighting is simple to be placed on the desk like an LED ring light or fixed on a webcam. If you work in a smaller area, softbox lighting can save a lot of money and set up space.
What You Need For Live Streaming Lighting Settings
The good thing about high-quality streaming lighting is that you can use one stream light within your budget, and your video may still look good, or you can invest in a more professional high-quality lighting setup. However, you need the best light to light the video stream correctly.
• Key Light
The key light is the primary light source and should be located behind the camera. Many streamers use ring light surrounding the cam, such as the Neewer ring light kit for advanced options. A simple clip-on desk light can also provide the best lighting effect.
• Fill Light
Just relying on the key light will cause shadows and glare, so you’ll need to combine with fill light to overcome the shadows. If your budget is limited, you can get a clip-on table lamp or use a more professional lighting set. Try using a lower power light to create softer lighting for the fill source.
• Additional Light Source
Depending on your settings, whether you want to highlight the background or how much natural light enters your space, you may need to consider using a third light source to create frequently used three-point lighting settings.
• Lighting Accessories
If you want to create advanced lighting settings and have space, you can invest in a photography studio set with many lights. You can get an umbrella or softbox to diffuse light and prevent shadows or minimize glare. The CowboyStudio triple lighting kit provides a clean outline, which is necessary if you use a green screen. If you are looking for the latest products, Elgato light is designed specifically for streaming.
Live Stream Lighting Positioning
With the equipment, we should consider where to place them, whether it is desk lamps, ring lights, or studio lights.
• Three-point lighting
The most common configuration for live stream lighting and photography is usually standard 3-point lighting. It requires lighting from three different angles to obtain a balanced look without shadows and sharp appearance. Although the key light can be placed at a small angle, it will light directly. Then place the fill light at an angle below the key point to reduce shadows. The backlight is usually tilted to form contours.
• Loop lighting
For beginners, this is a simple setup that usually creates a flattering professional look. The key light is set slightly above the eye level and placed only on the side of the camera. You will need to fill the light to prevent shadows.
It is entirely up to you to use backlights along with key light. If you have a beautiful background or great collectibles, you can illuminate the area for an excellent live broadcast. Some streamers also use RGB band lighting to create interesting backgrounds.
Best Lights For Live Streaming And Video Broadcasting
Does your live broadcast have good natural light or a basement without windows? Proper lighting of objects is crucial. We have a list of the best streaming lighting below.
If you have space, the Softbox MountDog lighting set is the best choice. It is easy to install, light and inexpensive – especially for beginners, it is a good choice. By using aluminized fabric to guide the light through the inner surface, the product can produce diffused, uniform light.
The aluminized fabric can be used as a very effective reflector. Also, it creates an incredibly soft stream of light and eliminates shadows to ensure perfect shooting. This is why it is suitable for general photography.
On the other hand, the product is of high quality because it is made of high-quality nylon. It is exceptionally versatile – 210 degrees of rotation, up to 53 inches in height adjustment. The size of the larger softbox is also 20 x 28. It can minimize light loss and disperse light to the greatest extent.
The 95 W bulb can save energy. It looks professional and easy to install. It can also be folded for safe storage and comes with a good carrying case.
- Looks professional.
- Flops for secure storage.
- Include a carrying case.
- Easy to assemble.
- Few parts are not durable.
The best choice for streamers who wish to maintain camera lighting and high-quality video consistency. These lights can be flexibly used for streaming media, video creation, photography, or shooting.
Elgato’s key light strength is admirable. A metal frame and a powerful 2500 lumens are adjusted into the light. While this may be the most expensive lamp on this list, superior products are essential to provide you with the best result when you are trying to establish a brand recognition.
Elgato’s key light brightens the video, but they also have adjustable color temperatures from very warm 2900 K to ultra-white 7000K. This range means that the light can adapt at any time. The stand and handle allow you to place the light on the monitor or table, further emphasizing its flexibility.
The Corsair app provides lighting control. After the initial configuration, it is easy to change the color temperature and other functions. You can adjust the settings without stopping the streaming and moving the knob on different lights.
- The color temperature range is versatile.
- Easy to configure and features change with the app.
- Durable materials and light structure.
- Slightly costly
For softbox lighting, one of the best options you can choose is the Fovetec softbox continuous lighting kit. Compared with other options, the price of this kit is higher, but the quality is excellent.
The Fovitec kits are best because they offer many adjustment options for the stream lighting according to the preferred configuration. There are a total of three socket heads, as well as three softbox lights; each softbox size is 20 x 28 inches. If you are looking for the most professional video streaming, the three softboxes will cover the left and right-hand side, and above, to ensure that there is no shadow at all.
Although lighting can provide bright highlighting in your studio, this setting is energy efficient and reduces energy consumption during photography sessions. The kit includes 1000 W bulbs along with fluorescent lights and a convenient carry bag. Everything can be packed in this bag, making transportation very easy.
- Individual bulbs can be controlled using the control panel.
- Very suitable for small and medium areas.
- Easy to adjust softbox.
- Confusing instructions.
- Difficult to configure.
If you are looking for the best lighting for streaming video games, then 6″ LED ring light is the best choice. The ring light can be used for internal lighting setup lacking adequate lighting.
Also, the adjustment options provided by this ring light help in a climate with uneven light distribution throughout the day.
Not only can the brightness be adjusted, but also the temperature of the light color. This device offers 11 brightness levels. There are three color temperature settings: white, warm white, and yellow.
The LED ring light is intended for beginners and is perfect for streaming on Twitter or YouTube. It is compatible with phones and also supports connections to computers, power banks, and other electronic gadgets via USB.
- The ring light is available at an extremely low price.
- 11 lighting modes with different color temperatures.
- Remote control.
- Very basic and not very customizable.
- Ring lights don’t illuminate large areas.
The Mark II video lights are robust in comparison to old models. The new model 120D is rated at 5500 Kelvin and is suitable for many devices. These lights have a universal Bowens mount, wireless remote control, temperature control, and flexible carrying bag.
The tungsten bulb of the new 120D Mark II has a brightness of up to 1000 watts, which is 25% higher than the previous version, so it is competitive and best suited for high-quality studios. It provides studio managers with a vast range of applications and coverage of various shooting settings. Mark II also has programming functions for lighting effects such as thunder and fireworks. It is also best for pictures providing a variety of options for photographers.
One of the best features of the Aputure 120D Mark II video light is the ability to switch between 100% and 1% using the remote control and integrated power supply. The new fork frame design ensures great movement up to 330 degrees. It helps to set the angle and point the light in any direction. The full color-coded cable system provides greater flexibility. The weight of the equipment does not exceed a few kilograms, which can help photographers take them anywhere.
- It is made of aluminum and is lightweight.
- The latest locking system makes it safer than previous models.
- Easy installation in difficult situations.
- A bit expensive.
Neewer Super Slim is a pleasant combination of Godox and Elgato Key Light. If you have a limited budget but want to improve your setup, then it is perfect. The Neewer super slim has a color temperature range of 3200 to 5600 K, making it technically more versatile than Godox. However, screen size and lumens dispersion can lead to inefficient lighting, resulting in less illumination.
Also, Neewer Super Slim is powerful and capable. It provides clean, consistent lighting and can quickly improve the quality of the stream. Unfortunately, longer streamers may require a better model than this one. The battery should be recharged every few hours, which means that you cannot light your stream during the charging process. If you want a permanent lighting setup, then you need to buy an adapter from Neewer.
The mounting bracket is equipped with light, which is a plus. The light itself can also be installed using a universal kit used with handheld devices, cameras, and stands. If you want to stream IRL, Neewer Super Slim can be used in other applications.
- Very effective at a lower price.
- Uniform lighting stream.
- It can be easily installed and used for various purposes.
- No adapter included.
- No remote control, changes should be made in the light.
Excelvan is another lightweight softbox with great features providing studio-quality lighting. It softens the light while eliminating overexposure and hot spots. It is easy to install and is closest to the most high-end equipment in the studio at a price of less than $100. Excelvan contains detachable curtains and a small soft cloth to provide smooth, shadow-free lighting and is the best option for professional photographers, videographers, or filmmakers.
Excelvan is made of excellent quality materials, with high reflectivity and high-temperature resistance. The refractive index is twice that of ordinary reflective cloth. The three brackets can be used both as a lightweight bracket and an adjustable camera stand of 27-80 inches high.
The lamp tone is pure white daylight of 5500k and can be used for photography. The setting of a fluorescent spiral bulb is such that it reduces energy consumption during photography sessions up to 80%.
- Easy to assemble.
- Energy-saving light bulbs.
- Some people have issues with the bag.
“Flapjack” panels are one of the popular lighting styles because they have a round, flat structure – almost like a vanity mirror. Falcon-Eyes offers two types of panels that are the SO-68TD and SO-28TD panels, which have proven themselves as a tremendous high-quality light source.
Compared with the Viltrox lights, these are a bit costly but are more durable, have a larger surface, and more glow. The SO-28TD panel diameter is about 14inches and emits about 2460 lux. The SO-68TD panel diameter is about 26 inches, while 5920 lux is their maximum emission value. You can conveniently power them through AC adapters or batteries.
Because of their quality and pleasant light output, many filmmakers and YouTubers prefer using these lights. They are also known as the best lighting source for live broadcasts and video broadcasts. Falcon Eyes can prove to be an adequate substitute for Key Light, exclusively used on the spot and the streaming platform.
- Bi-color temperature.
- Adjust multiple lights simultaneously
- 360 Degree U-Bracket
- AC and NP-F battery power supply is compatible.
- Remote and battery are not included.
Emart 60 LED lighting is equipped with two lights, which means that if you test the placement in a room, you can create great lighting. Providing enough light is essential to create the best streaming dynamics.
Since there are only two lighting settings, you have two filters to create heating and cooling settings for your lights. They are adjustable and can create interesting effects. Also, the design includes stereoscopic heat holes surrounded by four sides to help dissipate heat.
However, they need to stay in close contact to be fully effective, which means that if you stream for a long time, there will be a lot of light to deal with simultaneously. If you want to get these as the primary streaming lights, your eyes may strain or, in the worst case, damage.
- Two lights mean greater spacing and adjustability.
- Low price for steady light.
- Designed with a retractable bracket.
- Offers multiple uses for video and photography.
- You must be close to the light to be fully effective.
- Not very customizable in terms of temperature and strength.
- Not suitable for long-term and continuous use may cause eyestrain.
10. Lume Cube 2.0
Lume Cube 2.0 can work 3 times at full power and is easier to charge. Compared with the old version, the light it produces has been significantly improved in terms of color rendition, coverage, and uniformity.
It also provides an additional low-light mode with a power range of 1-10%, in 1% increments, which can be controlled through a smartphone application or Lume Cube’s controls. The product package has been expanded to include a modified frame and two filters. Lume Cube 2.0 is designed for photographers and video shooters, whether they use large cameras with interchangeable lenses, GoPro, smartphones, or even drones.
The Lume Cube can be used as a continuous light source or as an optically triggered slave flash. It sits between a pair of clearly marked opaque black buttons on the top deck, which replace the translucent buttons of the original model. These together provide access to power control, optical slave flash, brightness adjustment, and low-light mode.
- Pocket-sized LED light.
- Extremely easy to use and adjustable mid-stream.
- Small in size with functional and bright light.
- There are some heat concerns.
Although many people can immediately think of players on PS4 and PC when considering streamers, there are several other types of streaming, such as makeup tutorials, Nintendo Switch streaming, ASMR enthusiasts, and much more. Some artists even use streaming media platforms to present their creative side.
The possibilities created by streaming media platforms are endless, and enterprising streaming media are trying many types of streaming before finding their ideal fit. Of course, every kind of these streams require completely different lighting settings. Although players usually focus on the game, other live broadcasters will need the audience to focus on the entire live stream.
In these cases, streamers may consider using professional photographic lighting kits instead of the classic LED lighting or Ring lights preferred by most game streamers. If you are a beginner, then you should opt for Excelvan 2000W LED Lighting Kit. Whereas, for more professional use, the ideal choice would be Aputure 120D Mark 2.
Simultaneously, many streamers are satisfied with the LED light, which is enough for viewers to watch their game without any diversions. Streamers mostly prefer ring lights for food, fashion, or makeup tutorials as they can capture color with exceptional vibrancy.
Lighting adds excellent value to any video streaming. When selecting, you need something flexible, efficient, and small enough that fits your lighting set. Although the light specifications are essential, controlling the output and dimming or brightening should also be considered for perfect streaming video.
Fortunately, we live in an era of best lighting choices that are affordable and reasonable. As mentioned above, each of the lighting options is considered best for live streamer set and video broadcasting.
A great lighting setup can also be very beneficial to a podcasting setup if you record it in video to go along with the audio. If you’re looking to complete your podcasting setup, check out our full guide on the best podcasting equipment.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.