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Ring light with stand: How to choose the perfect one for your next video

person setting up their ring light to have a video conference

What is a ring light with a stand?

Basically, a ring light is an auxiliary illumination device, usually designed in a circular shape with a central void space, which supports appropriate mounts or connections to hold cameras, smartphones or other video recording devices, useful for both indoors and outdoors photography shootings and/or video sessions.

Looking for your next ring light? Find here an affordable, feature-rich lighting solution for quickly improving the way you look on video conference calls.

Ring lights are widely used in a lot of visual arts applications, from professional beauty and make-up tutorials, product photography for digital marketing, remote work video conferences, e-Learning, audiovisual productions both for live streaming broadcasting, or website and social network multimedia content creation.

Types of ring lights

There are two types of ring lights, according to their kind of support:

  • On-camera ring lights: are designed to be attached directly to the camera, smartphone or video-recording device, encircling it, which usually make them lightweight, small size and easily portable.
  • Off-camera ring lights: are designed for standalone operation and, therefore, have mounts to hold the camera, smartphone or equivalent video-recording device. They are bigger and heavier than on-camera ring lights and generally have tripods and kits of auxiliary accessories.

Light Sources

Most commercial ring lights are designed to operate with fluorescent tubes or with LEDs. However, in recent years LED based ring lights are becoming more popular than fluorescent tube based ring lights due to some advantages.

Portability

Fluorescent tube ring lights require a direct source of power, thus they need a mains outlet, which limits their mobility, while LED ring lights can operate both with mains outlet or with batteries, which give them more versatility.

Electrical power consumption

LED ring lights are based in a more advanced, mercury-free, high performance, and highly energy efficient technology, which reduces electrical power consumption and heat losses, which helps to save money in energy costs, keep a comfortable temperature (especially if the ring light is very close to persons or objects) and increase safety of operation. 

Energy efficiency

On the other hand, fluorescent tubes ring lights are less energy efficient and, in consequence, exhibit a higher electric power consumption and heat losses, which can feel uncomfortable if the ring light is too close of persons or objects, and they are riskier as they use mercury, which is a toxic substance that can be released if the fluorescent tube is broken.

Power Sources

There are different options to supply electrical power to the ring lights. Some ring lights obtain their power via an external mains outlet.

Other ring lights have USB cables and/or AC/DC adapters which allow them to work connected to a laptop, tablet, smartphone or desktop PC while you record your videos or photo shoots.

Some ring lights use rechargeable batteries (standard AA batteries or Lithium-ion batteries) which make them suitable for standalone and outdoor recordings and photo sessions.

And some sophisticated ring lights even have several power options, i.e., outlet mains and USB cables or batteries.

However, most ring lights exhibit just one power option (mains outlet or batteries), so you must decide if you need a ring light for extensive indoor use, in which case is recommended to choose a mains outlet or USB cable powered device, or if you will use for outdoor applications, where a battery powered ring light is the best choice.

Ring lights with dual power options are great for professional works and applications, and provide more flexibility and versatility, but tend to be bigger, heavier and pricier.

Size and Weight

Ring lights are built and designed in a wide range of sizes and weights, but the most popular and purposeful ring lights are usually those with dimensions from 10 inches up to 18 inches of external diameter.

There are smaller and bigger ring lights but their dimensions and weight make them suitable just for specific purposes and, therefore, are less versatile than those among the 10 to 18 inches range.

Small ring lights are great for personal and domestic applications, such as remote work video conferences via Zoom, e-Learning, website and social media content creation, especially if you don't have too much available space or if you want to optimize your workstation design.

On the other hand, bigger ring lights provide more light and are more suitable for advanced applications.

They generally come with kits of accessories, such as tripods, mounts for cameras, microphones and recording devices, hence, they are recommended for indoor studios, product photography and other professional purposes where it is required to illuminate large objects or spaces.

How to set up a ring light with a stand?

The best way to set up a ring light with a stand depends on what you want the ring light for. 

Hence, you must decide if you are going to use the ring light for a Zoom video conference or lecture, if you will take some product photos for digital marketing, if you want to record asynchronous videos for websites and social networks, or if you will do a live performance streaming in YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or Twitter digital platforms.

Looking for your next ring light? Find here an affordable, feature-rich lighting solution for quickly improving the way you look on video conference calls.

Here are some factors you must consider when you buy and when you set up a ring light with stand:

Dimmability

Most ring lights have controls which regulate the intensity of the light, usually in increments of 20%, 10% or even 1 percent. This is a very important feature because you can adjust the brightness according to the environment, if you are working outdoors, or to the lighting conditions, if you are working indoors.

Some basic ring lights don’t have a brightness dimmer and, therefore, the only option to regulate the intensity of the light is to physically move the ring light towards the person or the object or vice versa. This could be annoying for the person and lead to a poor performance or low quality videos.

Adjustable ring light

Some ring lights allow the user to rotate the device and adjust the angle of light incidence to provide a better illumination on the object or person.

This feature is very useful when the objects have reflective properties, or the person uses eyeglasses, in order to reduce undesirable light distortions or to produce some desirable light effects.

When you are taking part in a Zoom video conference, or are recording a video for a digital platform, the ring light provides you a shadowless and uniform illumination source that enhances your appearance. 

When you are taking product photos for digital marketing, it is very important to adjust the angle of light incidence over the object to obtain the best images. 

Color Temperature

The color temperature is a physical property of the light associated with a subjective human perception of color. 

In other words, every source of light (sun light, tungsten bulb light, fluorescent tube light, LED light, computer screen light, etc.) has its unique color and this light color tints all the other colors of the image, especially the whites.

Thus, we associate some colors (yellows, oranges, reds) with a warm temperature, while we relate other colors of light spectrum (greens, blues, violets) with a cool temperature.

Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (an absolute temperature scale) in a range from 1,800 K (candle flame light) up to 10,000 K (clear blue sky).

For most digital photography and video applications, color temperature ranges approximately from the tungsten bulb light (around 3,000 K) to the midday sun light (5,500 K), which are the most common sources of natural, commercial and residential lighting and.

Therefore, most ring lights operate within an average 3,000 K to 5,500 K color temperature light range.

The right illumination for your photos or videos require an appropriate control of color temperature. A too low color temperature will make your skin or white surfaces look orange, while a too high color temperature will make your skin or white objects look blue. This is why color temperature control is also known as white balance.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a measure of the quality of the illumination system.

In other words, the CRI assesses in a quantitative way the ability of a source of light to show the colors of the objects compared with their corresponding colors under a standard reference source of light.

The CRI ranges from 0 up to 100:

  • CRI values from 0 to 80 are considered poor.
  • CRI values from +80 to 90 are considered good.
  • CRI values from +90 to 100 are considered excellent.

Hence, good quality ring lights will exhibit CRI values between 80 and 90, while highest quality ring lights will have CRI values above 90.

Ring light for virtual events

With those basic things in mind, let’s consider what is the best ring light for virtual events?

In the first place, you must define which type of virtual event you will perform. 

Do you want a ring light for remote work professional video conferences or e-Learning via Zoom or equivalent digital platforms? Or perhaps you want to enhance the quality of your audiovisual contents for YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks?

Let’s analyze each case separately:

Best ring lights for Zoom and video conferencing

If you are looking for a ring light to improve the quality of your remote work video conferences or e-Learning lectures via Zoom or equivalent digital platforms, this probably means that you will be working from a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone in a stationary location.

Looking for your next ring light? Find here an affordable, feature-rich lighting solution for quickly improving the way you look on video conference calls.

Therefore, if you want to optimize the space available in your workstation, the best ring light for Zoom video calls has:

  • A small to medium size, between 10 inches and 12 inches.
  • LED based ring light, capable of providing a sufficient amount of light —this will avoid making you feel uncomfortable due annoying heating close to your face.
  • Different power supply options, preferably via USB power cable, USB power bank and/or batteries (standard AA batteries or Lithium-ion batteries) which allow you to hold your video meeting in your workstation and also in standalone mode for a reasonable amount of time.
  • A flexible arm or ring housing which allows the user to rotate, bend and adjust the ring light position to provide the best illumination pattern, which reduces skin blemishes and spots, image shadows and enhances your look and appearance.
  • Enough versatility and compatibility, allowing you to connect with different kinds of hardware (desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.)

Best ring light for product photography

If you want the best ring light for product photography then you first must consider the type, size and characteristics of your products. These features will define the kind of ring light you need to succeed in your task.

Some products such as foods and desserts are best photographed directly from above, while other products, such as art objects or domestic appliances, will require photo captures from different angles and perspectives. Some can be small sized, while others can have large dimensions, and some objects can even exhibit light reflective properties in their surfaces.

Taking those things in account, the best ring light for product photography is an off-camera, medium to big size (12 to 18 inches), LED based ring light with a stand.

This device, ideally:

  • Has appropriate mounts for different types of photography and/or video recording devices, such as webcams, smartphones, DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, among others.
  • Can be powered by a mains outlet or by alternative power sources, just like rechargeable batteries or USB power cable. It must be easy to transport and set up, both in outdoors and indoor locations.
  • Has an appropriate brightness dimmer control, different color temperature control settings (between 3,000 K and 5,500 K) and exhibit an adequate CRI value (90+)

Best ring lights for YouTube and social media content

If you are looking for a ring light to improve the quality of your YouTube and other social networks video contents, then you probably need a device which provides you with appropriate lighting with enough versatility and flexibility of operation.

Thus, the best ring light for YouTube and other digital media and social network video content creation, ideally:

  • Connects directly to the laptop, tablet or smartphone via USB cable and also has a battery power supply: this allows the ring light to charge while you are streaming or creating your videos at home and the battery option permits you to record contents in outdoor locations.
  • Is a small to medium size (10 to 12 inches), LED based device. LED lights will provide adequate illumination and keep your recording stage cool, thanks to a high energy efficient technology and low heat losses.
  • Has mounts to hold different kinds of recording and auxiliary equipment (smartphones, webcams, tablets, microphones, etc.).

Additionally, some ring lights especially designed for digital media content creation have enhanced features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, or can be remote controlled using some special Apps, which allow to regulate the brightness, color temperature and CRI settings.

Final thoughts

Whether you want a ring light for Zoom meetings, product photography for digital marketing, or YouTube and social network video content creation, the most recommendable is to buy a device from a reputable manufacturer company.

Learn more about Kensington Professional Video Conferencing  Accessories 

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