Improvise good lighting for video conferences

I have been witness to a number of video conferences where participants were shown as a shadow in the blazing backlight of a summer day or wonderfully only jaw and nose were visible. Not pretty, even though uncombed video snapshots are currently becoming fashionable…

At present there are no professionally illuminated video conference rooms available, so I have some ideas for improvisation.

A large amount of diffuse light is a good start. A bright full spectrum health lamp pointing towards a white wall is great for the job.

White curtains are not bad, especially if sunlight could shine towards the webcam. Coloured light, through a dyed curtain or an illuminated painted wall, should be avoided. On some webcams, you can adjust the white balance, but that doesn’t really work out nice.

Place the main light source behind the monitor. A work lamp, desk lamp or table lamps behind the monitor are well qualified. LED lamps are especially suitable because of the low heat development with high light output. Please make sure that the LEDs are flicker-free. Either purchase new ones or check their fitness individually with the webcam or mobile phone camera.

In closing, a note about the nose position of your camera. If you have to use the camera integrated in the laptop, please place a pile of books, cooking pot, cardboard, etc. under the laptop for the time of the conference. The same applies to mobile phones and tablets. Build a stable base 30 to 40 cm high, depending on your seating position, so that the camera is at your eye level.