Online teachers and video creators need excellent lighting for their videos. You have a lot of options when it comes to video lighting for an online class. What do you specifically need and what can you ignore? That’s what we’re going to cover in this best video lighting idea for online classes.
Something to also consider is upgrading your webcam. A quality external webcam has much better low-light performance and produces higher video quality.
For online teachers based in the US and Canada, an issue arises when teaching early mornings, the lack of natural lighting. Most of us teach a few classes at sunrise, but during those times when you don’t have natural light, you’re going to need a proper light source for your video class.
The best lighting sources should have a few characteristics that we want when looking to improve our video lighting.
Stick to white light
As we covered in our teacher background ideas post, it’s a good idea to get colored lighting for your background. It makes your online class more visually interesting and professional. But what about the lighting for yourself? Stick to white.
The white light will give you a fresh, natural appearance. We’ll look at various lighting options but one thing remains consistent – white light that can be dimmed or turned up is the way to go.
Small and affordable
Ideal lighting for teaching online in a video class should be small and affordable. We will look at a range of options of courses, but here at Teach and GO our goal is to show you what is essential and what is optional.
As with any video lighting setup, you could build out a full studio with professional lighting. This is ideal if you’re also going to be making videos in addition to online teaching. But if online teaching is all you’re going to be doing, we’ll cover the best options.
Designed to light your face
Some will suggest getting a lamp that has a flexible head. Lamps like this are costly but more importantly, they are not designed to light you. They’re designed to light the whole room. This is bad because you want to look fresh and vibrant.
You don’t want to have raccoon eyes because the lighting is not hitting your face in the right way.
The Best Video Lighting Options For Online Teachers
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the best (and most affordable) video lighting options for online teachers and potential video creators. If nothing else, our favorite option to use is a simple ring light. Here are our favorite lighting options:
- Small Ring light
- Bekada LED Desk Lamp
- Razor Kiyo Webcam
- Julius Panel light
- Mount Dog Softbox lighting kit
- Neewer Ring Light
- Skytex Lightbox
Small Ring Light – Best Option For Online Teachers
Our essential item on the list, all online teachers should have this small, helpful ring light. Particularly if you’re looking for the best and most affordable lighting option.
Small Ring Light
A simple desktop ring light. Perfect when paired with your webcam and laptop.
It is compact, has a built in tripod and different lighting settings to help you have a bit of flexibility with your video lighting needs. The tripod is not adjustable however, but the native height does pair perfectly with a laptop.
last, you can adjust the brightness as needed. This ring light is wonderful for so many various applications. Video creation, online classes, as well as putting your makeup on in the morning.
- Small affordable ring light.
- White light that can be dimmed or turned up.
- Handy built in tripod to make setup easy.
- The tripod is not adjustable in terms of height.
Bekada LED desk lamp – Great for video conferencing
The Bekada professional LED desk ring light is made up of three color temperatures: warm light (3000K), warm-white light (4500K), and white light (6500K). There are 10 brightness levels for each lighting mode.
Bekada Desk Lamp
Well designed desk lamp. Can clamp on and be adjusted with ease.
It has enough different usage possibilities due to its numerous lighting modes. Offering a soft light for those late nights working at your desk to bright white for Zoom calls.
The sturdy metal clasp opens to 2 inches, and it is simple to attach to a table, desk, or bedside. The foam pad protects your belongings from scratches by allowing for scratch-free clamping. You can also use the clamp to set it down on top of the desk like a standard lamp if you don’t have anywhere to clip it too.
Last, this desk lamp is USB Charger is compatible with most devices that take advantage of a USB connection, including power banks, USB chargers, AC adapters, PCs, and laptops with 5V2A output. While we still prefer a basic ring light for serious online educators, those looking for a more flexible alternative will love this desk lamp.
- Warm and cold colors.
- Bendy neck to adjust as needed.
- A clip that is sturdy that can also double as a lamp stand.
- Plugs in via USB. So you may need an adapter like an iPhone charger if you want to plug it into the wall.
Vitade 960A – Improved video and built in LED Light
This webcam records at 1080P and is a vast improvement over your built-in webcam in terms of audio and video. In addition, this webcam comes with a built-in LED light for your face.
1080P webcam and ring light combo.
While it’s designed for video streaming it’s actually and excellent webcam for an online teacher. It’s a plug-and-play install and mounts to any desktop or laptop with ease.
The ring light does make a difference, but we would still suggest you get a proper ring light or at a minimum a lamp when teaching and using this webcam.
- Superior video over a built in webcam.
- Improved audio.
- A very useful LED light for brighten your face.
- A bit expensive but it’s a 2 in 1 combination.
Julius LED Panel Lighting – On-camera light
If you’re wanting an alternative to a ring light that is equally portable but has a bit more options in terms of usage, consider getting a panel light. As a panel light, it mounts on top of a camera in the shoe mount.
If you’re using a mirrorless camera as a webcam, this light mounts on top of your camera for improved lighting.
Panel lights are small little boxes that can attach to a camera with ease or be used as the main lighting source in an online class setup.What’s helpful about this panel light are the colorful overlays that come with it so you can mix up the color as needed.
If you need soft LED lighting for your online class or videos but are not interested in getting a ring light, take a look at using an LED panel light. You can adjust the brightness to make it as soft or to make it more bright and even as your needs require.
- Ideal for simple video production.
- Perfect for online class and casual use.
- The ability to mount on a camera as well as the colored overlays gives this panel light some needed flexibility.
- Not for professional use. If you’re a videographer, I would skip on this.
Neewer Ring Light – For professional use
This is one of the most popular lighting options for YouTubers. Professional quality, not too expensive, has good lighting that is dimmable and an adjustable stand.
Neewer Ring Light
A good mid-range ring light designed for professional video work.
If you want the best overall option for online teaching this is it. The adjustable stand has a wide range in terms of height. So you can be sitting at your desk with the light above you shining down. It also comes with 3 settings: low, medium, and high intensity.
Lastly, this light has a lovely case to pack everything up into so when you’re on the go or if you want to put it away in a closet you can do so with ease.
- Excellent professional lighting.
- Adjustable stand to help you get the lighting right in a convenient way.
- Comes with a nifty storage bag to pack it up and take with you on the go.
- You need to be near an outlet as this ring light can only be turned on by being plugged in.
Skytex Lightbox– Bargain setup for studio use
For the price, this lightbox setup is perfect for any online teacher who wants great lighting for their home office. Where it stands out is the flexibility of the shade of light from warm to cold. Which allows you to adjust the color of the light to your particular setting.
A budget friendly studio lighting kit.
The Skytex is a semi-professional setup for those looking for something reasonably priced for home use. It comes with a remote that allows you to adjust the lighting as you’re sitting at your desk to get everything just right for your online teaching session.
It’s also quite small and compact and comes with a carrying case for storage or to take with you when traveling. You also have a variety of lighting options with regard to the color temperature. You can set it to daylight (most practical) or various other settings depending on your lighting needs.
Lastly it is turned on through a wall outlet. The cord is about 8 feet in length so you will most likely need an extension for these soft boxes. These light boxes work great if you have the space needed to set them up properly.
- Multiple colors from cold to warm.
- Remote to control the lighting.
- Carrying case and an overall compact size.
- The power cables for this are a bit short in length.
- The boxes when full setup do require your teaching space to be spacious. If you’re in a small home office these may not fit properly.
Video Lighting For Online Teaching Conclusion
So that wraps up this buying guide for video lighting. If you need a lighting source as an online teacher we strongly suggest you get a simple light ring. It’s small, cost effective, and designed for consumer use.
Again though, if you’re in the market for something a bit more advanced then check out the options on this list.
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David UnwinHi, I'm David Unwin. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more about me.
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