How to Improve Video Conference Quality with the Right Lighting

Author: Gina Cunsolo

How to Improve Video Conference Quality with the Right Lighting

The degree to which video conferencing has become part of today’s business world is hard to overestimate. Although video conferencing was on the rise before the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the pandemic cemented its place in our work lives.

Here are just a few statistics that demonstrate the power of videoconferencing: U.S. businesses participate in more than 11 million video conferencing meetings a day, and 94% of those businesses say video conferencing has increased their productivity. Businesses can cut travel costs by as much as 30% by utilizing video conferencing, and 75% of CEOs expect video conferencing to replace regular conference calls.

And thanks to the increasing use of video conferencing, participants are increasingly paying attention to the way they appear on those calls. In much the same way as a clean, well-decorated conference room serves as a reflection of a business, a visually appealing video conference can shape perceptions for both employees and potential clients. And with more and more people doing their jobs from a home office, setting up the best video conference lighting for remote working is of growing importance.

There are a variety of issues to consider when it comes to enhancing the quality of a video conference, including the types of cameras being used, the background visible behind the speakers and even the colors of the clothing worn by the participants. The one factor that can affect all those issues is the video conference lighting.

Poor lighting on your video conference call can make you appear tired and uninterested in the proceedings of a meeting. It may not accent your best facial features, and it can make it difficult for others to maintain their attention. 

Creating the best video conferencing lighting doesn’t have to be a complicated task, but its importance can’t be underestimated. 

How to achieve the best lighting for video conference calls   

Invest in lighting equipment

Expensive professional lighting equipment isn’t a requirement when it comes to video conference lighting. Standard desk lamps work just fine. More important is the type of bulbs used in those lamps. Experts suggest using Daylight LED bulbs for the best warmth and brightness. Just make sure that every lighting source has the same type of bulb. 

Ring lights have also become a popular option, as they often have adjustable color, brightness, and warmth options, and cast an even light on the subject that emphasizes the eyes while minimizing blemishes.

Finally, sometimes the best option is natural light. Position your desk in front of a window during the day and enjoy the benefit of flattering natural daylight on your video

Light from the front

Lighting from the back or sitting in front of a window will create a silhouette effect that makes the speaker’s image dark and difficult to see, while the background will appear overly bright. 

Always place lights in front to ensure your face is well illuminated and clearly visible.

Use multiple lighting sources

For the best lighting effect, experts recommend using what’s known in photography as 3-point lighting, consisting of a key light, a fill light and a backlight. The key light is in front of the subject, either directly ahead or a bit to one side and slightly above. The fill light is also in front at about a 45-degree angle from the front, on the other side of the key light. The fill light is generally softer than the key light and placed slightly lower. Lighting professionals occasionally use a reflector instead of an actual lamp.

The backlight shines on the subject from behind and to one side. The backlight serves to separate the subject from the background and highlights contours.

Test your setup

Once your lighting is in place, set up a quick video conference with a friend. If you’re both in the same location, trade places so you can get a sense of how effective the lighting is and make changes if needed.

Along with trying a few different setups for your lights, it’s also worthwhile to try a few different shirts or tops to see how they appear under your lights. Avoid wearing solid white as well as solid black or other dark colors. The best colors to wear are bright solid colors that contrast with your background. Additionally, stay away from large patterns such as checks or plaids that can clash or merge with the background and make it difficult to focus on you.

Other ways to improve your video call quality

Although lighting is an important part of the world where video conferencing is a regular part of conducting business, there are other factors involved in the process ranging from the quality of the cameras used to the quality of the audio.

When it comes to group conferences, for example, using a wide-angle webcam can help capture the entire team. For huddle rooms or small conference rooms, a Webcam for TV combined with Yamaha Unified Communications’ ESB-1090 Enterprise Sound Bar can help create a personalized experience.

Yamaha also offers a variety of conference phones and microphone systems that can help ensure participants are heard clearly. For large conference rooms, Yamaha UC’s ADECIA family of products includes microphones and speaker systems that can provide a conference experience that’s the next best thing to having everyone in the same room.

Following these tips can help you get the most out of your video conferencing, whether you’re at the company headquarters or working from your home office. If you’re seeking advice about the products that can help create an outstanding video conferencing solution, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC.