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Podcasting has gone from a fringe hobby to a serious a bonafide piece of the entertainment industry. In 2019, monthly podcast listening was at 88 million listeners, with an all but certain continuous growth in 2020 once the numbers roll in, and onward. If you’ve been podcasting for a while – or you’re finally getting started – recording with good podcast equipment is a must, but filming your podcast sessions can be a massive help too. But there’s one requisite for filming your podcasts that’s easy to forget: good podcast lighting.
As with any type of filming, lighting plays a crucial (yet sometimes overlooked) role in the best video podcasts. With the best lighting setups, your audience will be able to clearly see emotions and body language, say, during a big interview. Plus, professional-looking video is always great for hooking new watchers and listeners.
However, researching and shopping for the best podcast lighting can be very daunting. Read on for some basic lighting setups for podcasters, as well as our recommendations for lighting kits that you can order right now.
How Do You Set Up Lighting for a Podcast?
We’ve narrowed down the best podcast lighting setups to three basic options: ring lighting, two-piece lighting and three-point lighting. Below is an explanation and rough guide for each setup.
Ring Light: Right lights have become very popular with solo vloggers, YouTubers and TikTokers. They’re pretty straightforward: just a large, circular light with a camera in the middle. Ring lights are great because they cast an even glow over your face and require very little know-how or setup. Of course, they’re only meant for one person, and won’t work for filming multi-person podcasts or interviews.
Two-Piece: If you already have decent lights in your podcasting studio and just need some extra light on faces, check out a two-piece setup. It’s just two LED lights that you can move around as needed to illuminate your face, your co-host’s mug, or maybe an interviewee.
Three-Point: Three-point lighting is the industry standard with a key light, a back light and a fill light. The key light sits adjacent to the camera, operates on a bright setting and acts as the main lighting for the subject. The backlight goes behind the subject, casting a soft glow for depth. Lastly, the fill light sits opposite the key light (so, on the other side of the camera) lighting the subject’s other side.
A three-point kit can also be used to light two subjects in one room using what’s called the cross key technique. Check out a tutorial here.
What Are the Best Podcast Lighting Kits?
Whether you’re recording an online tutorial, doing a solo podcast or filming an interview, these are the best podcast lighting kits to consider.
BEST RING LIGHT: UBeesize 10″ Selfie Ring Light
Looking to light your solo podcast? Check out this ring light from UBeesize. It’s very easy to use, even if you have zero experience with lighting videos. The light measures ten inches in diameter, which is more than enough for effectively lighting your face. In the middle, you’ll find a removable, adjustable phone stand.
Instead of a regular outlet plug, the UBeesize light connects via USB for power. This means you can plug the light into an external battery pack or laptop for a fast setup. The included tripod offers multiple heights, ranging from 15.7 inches to 50 inches. the light itself can also be tilted and swiveled for getting the right angle.
But don’t let the UBeesize’s novice-friendly feature fool you. The light has three color temperatures (warm, natural and cold) plus ten brightness levels with each temperature. These settings are all controlled with a Bluetooth remote.
BEST TWO-PIECE: Dazzne D50 Video Lighting Kit
This two-piece Dazzne lighting kit provides a great upgrade from the natural light in your studio. The two LED lights can be set up to professionally light a single subject or used to light you and your co-host (or you and an interviewee). Each light packs a punch with a 15.4-inch size and a wide brightness range. They also have a great temperature range from 3000K to 8000K, meaning you can have soft, warm light or harsh cold light.
Both lights are controlled using a wireless remote, which comes in handy for quick changes while you’re rolling. For power, the lights can use included power cords where outlets are available, or they can use NP-F750/970 battery packs (although these aren’t included).
The included tripods are also quite good, extending from 20 to 74 inches. Plus, the lights can be swiveled and tilted 180 degrees.
BEST THREE-POINT: Neewer 3 Pieces Video Light and Stand Kit
For a more professional setup, go for this three-point kit from Neewer. You’ll be able to film high-quality interviews with one subject or make use of the cross key technique for great light on you and your co-host.
The lights measure 9.13 inches wide, 7.87 inches tall and 1.88 inches deep, making them nice and large. They use 660 LED beads, with 330 white and 330 yellow, and boast a temperature range of 3200K to 5600K. This means you can get true, balanced colors with an adjustable range of solid white or solid warm, yellow light. Plus, 40 watts of power should be more than enough for filming in a podcast studio.
Large barn doors allow you to manage the light and protect the LED bulbs when not in use, while a solid U-bracket offers the ability to tilt and swivel the lights with ease. The three included tripods are also quite good, extending 26 to 75 inches tall.