I get a lot of people who ask me, “What should I buy to light myself, when I’m on a Zoom call?” Good question. Lighting is most of the battle, when it comes to looking good online. (Cleaning up the area behind you and dressing appropriately – from the waist up, at least – being the other critical factors.) There are a LOT of solutions you can find online, none of which appealed to me, because of the cost. So I set out to create my own, out of things I could find for cheap on Amazon. Here’s what I created.
To begin, you need to understand a bit about lighting. You need a light source that is bright, but not too bright, and it needs to be diffused enough not to cast hard shadows. LED lighting has come a long way in the past four or five years. I found a flashlight I really like, and it’s cheap AND powerful. This little NEBO model has four levels of brightness, all the way up to 1000 lumens (that’s a LOT of bright). And it has a magnetic recharger that plugs into any USB recharger, so that’s easy.
I just ditched the removable clip, and it’s ready to accept a diffuser. But how to diffuse this little spotlight? Enter this ‘floating pool light.’
Yeah, I know it looks pink or magenta in the pic. But this is a cheapie battery-operated light, with the perfect diffuser for my purposes. You’ll remove the guts – the light, battery, etc. You can use them for something else. All we need is the white, plastic orb, which you’ll put onto the business end of the flashlight. Now you need some way to hold it above your camera, webcam, or computer.
This guy fits on my desk, behind my iMac, and it adjustable in just the right way. But the supplied mic clip is not working for me.
This guy gets the job done. It holds the flashlight/orb in place on the stand, and allows me to plug in the magnetic charging cable on the back of the light. But wait…the cord isn’t very long.
And there you have it. Add one of those USB charger bricks you have lying about, and you’re good to go. Total cost? $62.32 plus tax. Bonus: you get a great little flashlight, small enough for your pocket to use when you’re not being a YouTube social influencer. Oh, and with it’s four levels of brightness, you can dial in just how bright you want to be.
So that’s my solution to video selfie lighting. Let me know how it works for you!