One of the biggest things that sets professionals and professional-looking live streams apart is the lighting. While your viewers are going to be watching your game play, they’ll also be watching you, so you need your videos to be properly lit. That means you probably need more than a desk lamp or the ambient glow from your monitor.
Not sure where to start? Never fear – The TRUstreaming coaches have created a guide to walk you through what you need to have the lighting for streaming, from equipment and setup to webcam settings.
What You Need for Twitch Stream Lighting
The great news about finding the good lighting for streaming is that you can do it on a budget and still look great, or you can invest in more professional quality equipment. However, you’ll need a few light sources in order to properly illuminate your stream.
The key light is your main source of light and should be behind your camera. Many streamers use a ring light that goes around the webcam, such as the Neewer Ring Light Kit for a higher end option. However, a simple clip-on desk lamp can also give you some of the best lighting for streaming.
Relying solely on the key light can lead to shadows and glare, so you’ll want to pair it with a fill light to fill in the shadows. Again, a clip on desk lamp can work for this if you’re on a budget, or you can use a more professional lighting kit. Just try to use a slightly lower wattage bulb to create a softer lighting for your fill source.
Extra Light Sources
Depending on your setup, whether or not you want to highlight your background, or how much natural light flows into your space, you may want to consider a third light source to create the commonly used three-point lighting setup, which we’ll discuss.
If you want to create a higher-end lighting setup and have the space for it, you can invest in a photography studio setup that includes several lights. You can use umbrellas or softboxes to diffuse the light and prevent shadows or minimize harsh glares. The CowboyStudio Triple Lighting Kit works well to provide a clean outline which is essential if you’re using a green screen. If you want something cutting-edge, the Elgato Key Lights are a new product that are specifically designed for streamers. But be aware – they’re pricey.
Positioning Your Live Stream Lighting
Once you have your gear, whether it’s a few desk lamps and ring lights or a studio setup, let’s consider where you’re going to put them.
The most common configuration for live stream lighting and photography in general is the standard three-point lighting and requires lights at three different angles to create a balanced look without shadows or harsh glares. The key light illuminates directly though it may be placed at a slight angle. Then, the fill light is placed at an angle, lower than the key to lessen any shadows. Finally the backlight shines from behind you, again, often at an angle to create contours.
This is an easy setup for beginners that generally creates a flattering and professional look. The key light is set slightly above your eye level and just to the side of the camera. You’ll need a slight fill light to prevent shadows.
Using a backlight for your Twitch stream lighting is strictly up to you. While it can be beneficial, it’s not as important as having a key and fill light source, and it really just depends on if you want to highlight your background. If you have some great collectibles or a nice background, feel free to light that area, but if it’s cluttered, messy, and distracting, that won’t benefit your live stream. Some streamers also use RGB strip lighting to create an interesting backdrop.
Improve Your Lighting for Streaming with Your Webcam Settings
Once you have your lights in place, you’ll still want to do some adjustments, both to your webcam settings and the light sources to get the best lighting for streaming. Go into OBS and right click your webcam source and select Properties.
Then, select Configure Video.
That will open up your webcam settings. Select Advanced Settings from the tab at the top and then remove the auto settings by clicking the check boxes. From there, you can adjust both your webcam settings and your lighting sources to get the best lighting for streaming. Just make sure you save your settings when you’re done. (Note – these settings are for the Logitech webcam series, the most common choice for streamers. Your settings may look different).
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