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Video about cameras and lighting for Zoom Meetings/video conferences

April 23, 2020 / in General Information, Video / by

YouTube Video URL: https://youtu.be/c1XotZzrPOo

Hello, friends! Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about Web cameras and DSLR cameras used for video and lighting. I’ve been getting a lot of questions ever since we got stuck at home. So today I’m going to talk a little bit more about some of the tools that I’m using to up my game for my conference calls and video production.

What you’re seeing in the video is a little bit more advanced setup than a lot of people are probably going to have. And for me, it’s even a new setup. I got all this set up over the last month, basically early March. I ordered some gear and set it all up after watching a bunch of YouTube videos.

The first thing I wanted to talk about is cameras.

Typically, what people are used to using are webcams, and this is a Logitech c920 that’s on my monitor in my home office. And yes, you can see the LEGO behind me as well. You can also tell that it’s trying to focus in real time as it’s doing its thing. So everything’s kind of in focus, which is fine. But a lot of times people are trying to go for a blurry background and some good lighting. I’ve got some blue lights in the background. (One of the things I’m working on is the light reflected in my glasses… more to come! I’m still working on getting the angles right.)

You can see that I’ve got a key light up and to the side of my face.

Typically, people have their overhead lights, whether it’s L.E.D. lights or whatever lights that you have at the office or your overhead light in your room. When you use overhead lights, you can see how it’s blasting the top of my head and my face is in shadow. So the first thing you’re going to want to do when you’re thinking about lighting is where are the light sources coming from? You’re going to want to get a light that’s in front of you and off to the either side of your face by 45 degrees.

The basic concept is that you don’t want a super bright window (with sunlight coming in) behind you or an overhead light. Get those overhead lights turned off and figure out how to get a key light set up so that the light is hitting your face and people can make out the details of your face.

The light I’ve got behind me in the corner is an LED portable light. I’ll be hooking up a Philips Hue light so that it’s a more permanent solution soon. These can do all the colors as well and you can control them with your phone. But I won’t go into showing you that I can make it red, etc.

Switching back to my higher definition camera…

OK, so this is a Panasonic GH5 DSLR camera. It’s a full sized camera with lenses and it’s set up on a tripod in my home office. The output of that camera is going into a capture card on my computer so that I can record video in high definition. It’s interesting when you join a zoom meeting and you’ve got this kind of clarity in your video and audio. People notice it and they’ve commented on it a lot.

It’s important to step up your game right now. If you’re doing lots of video conferences from home, don’t have the kitchen with a dirty sink behind you and don’t have a bunch of dirty clothes behind you either. Yes, virtual backgrounds are fun, but I think it’s better to have a real background behind you. Just a normal part of your home. It just feels more authentic, I think, than having San Francisco’s bridge behind you.


The next thing I wanted to talk about was something I learned that was kind of interesting about lighting. So I’ve talked about this key light that’s in front of me that’s lighting me. And I’ve got a bloom light behind me that’s blue.

One of the things that I realized that just kind of blew my mind is that light can be thought of like streams of water from a fire hose. The light in front of me is blasting water at my face. And the light behind me is blasting water at the back of my head. If you have the light behind you and it’s too bright, it will actually overpower the light that’s in front of me. I’ve got an app on my phone where I can pull that up the settings for the light behind me and crank the power up to full strength.

Notice what happens. I don’t know if you will see the subtle shift, but my face goes a little darker. And it’s because the light behind me is brighter now and it’s actually pushing the light back from the light source in front of me. It’s crazy! As I lower the brightness of the light behind me, you’ll see that my face comes back into normal lighting. You’ll be able to see in the video that there is a war of light sources fighting each. This has a drastic impact on the way your video is going to end up looking based on your lighting.

This holds true with a DSLR camera like I’m using, but it’s also true with a webcam. That’s why it’s so important to understand your light sources and control the light that ends up surrounding you in your video.

I hope you were able to watch the video! If you did, thanks for watching. I hope this was helpful. And I hope it makes you think a little bit about the current setup that you’ve got at home or at work for your teleconferences. If you need to up your game, there’s some ideas for you in this video.

If you have any questions, be sure to give me a call, send me an e-mail or leave a comment. Have a good day!

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