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Top
Tech

Best Lighting for Streaming in 2021

Hotspawn Team

Gamers dream of having a great, professional streaming setup. One of the most important aspects of a proper gaming setup is the best lighting for streaming. The right lighting helps the audience see your face clearly, eliminating shadows that distort your face.

Best Lighting for Streaming

Image Source: Elgato Twitter

Various lighting setups have different functions. The abundance of choices can make finding the right lighting for your stream setup can be daunting. Should you use a softbox, an LED, a ring light, or go with fluorescent lighting?

Read on if you want to find the best lighting for streaming to best display your face and your gaming setup.

Best Lighting For Streaming
MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit
Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit
MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit
Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit
Neewer Professional Softbox Kit
Neewer 700W Professional Softbox Kit
Fovitec Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit
Fovitec Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit
Neewer Ring Light
NEEWER Ring Light
AceTaken Webcam Ring Light
AceTaken Webcam Ring Light

What makes good lighting for streaming?

Basically, there are two kinds of lighting suitable for streaming: softboxes and desktop lighting. Let’s look at the difference between each.

Softboxes vs Desktop Lighting

Softboxes diffuse the light coming from the main light source. That way, the light won’t be too intense, which will make your face look more balanced on stream. Too much light can cause your face to appear washed out.

Professional photography studios use softboxes. They light up subjects much better and make their most important features stand out. Photographers use special tripods for softboxes, making them bulky. Softboxes are best when your room has lots of space.

Desktop lighting, on the other hand, is self-explanatory. You can set up these lights right on your desk. Desktop lighting includes ring lights and those you can clip onto your webcam.

Key Lighting vs Fill Lighting

Also, take note of the purpose of key lighting and fill lighting. Key lighting is the main source of lighting. You can use either a softbox or a desktop light for this.

But if you only use key lighting, your face will end up having shadows all over it. To improve your appearance on stream, you would need fill lighting. These lights would “fill-in” those areas of your face that have shadows, making them look better. In most setups, there would be two fill lights at an angle on either side of the streamer’s face.

Fill lighting needs to be less intense; otherwise, they’ll end up casting more prominent shadows on your face. For this reason, you must use softboxes as fill lights. Desktop lights are too intense.

Typical Pricing for Lighting

Various lighting sets for streaming go for as low as $16 to as much as $190. This depends on the kind of lights used (LED or fluorescent bulbs) as well as the brightness of the lights. The included accessories also affect the price a lot.

Softbox kits are generally more expensive. They include lots of attachments and use fluorescent bulbs, which cost more than LEDs. Ring lights and desktop lights are cheaper because they have LEDs.

MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit

Best budget softbox for streaming

Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit

Bulb Type 135W E27 Compact Fluorescent Bulb

Light Intensity 1820 Lumens

Power Source AC Adapter

Specifications

  • Bulb type: 135W E27 compact fluorescent bulb
  • Color temperature: 5500K
  • Light intensity: 1820 Lumens
  • Dimensions: 20 x 28 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: No
  • Adjustable color temperature: No
  • Rotation: 210 degrees
  • Height: 27-80 inches (adjustable)
  • Power source: AC mains only

If you’re a streamer on a budget, the Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit is a good choice. The softbox uses a 95-watt energy-saving fluorescent bulb, with a color temperature of 5500K. The bulbs are huge, and they provide excellent illumination for live streaming.

The Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit needs to be assembled. Prop up the tripod, mount the lamp section, screw in the bulb, and finally, attach the diffuser panel. Finally, plug it into the mains, and it’s ready for action.

The Mountdog softbox is not dimmable. You can only turn it on or off, so there’s no way to adjust the light intensity. If you do need to make the light dimmer, your only option is to move the softbox away from you.

The good news is that it has a diffuser panel, which distributes the light more evenly onto your face. Once the light is on, you won’t have to squint at the overly bright light in front of you.

The best feature of the Mountdog Softbox is its price, being affordable for streamers new and old. One downside to the Mountdog Softbox is the length of its power cables. They’re relatively short so you may need an extension cord.

But overall, for its price, the Mountdog Softbox provides good value for money.

Neewer Professional Softbox Kit

Most versatile lighting for streaming

Neewer 700W Professional Softbox Kit

Bulb Type 85W E27 Compact Fluorescent Bulb

Light Intensity 2300 Lumens

Power Source AC Adapter

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: 85W E27 compact fluorescent bulb
  • Color temperature: 5500K
  • Light intensity: 2300 Lumens
  • Dimensions: 24 x 24 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: No
  • Adjustable color temperature: No
  • Height: 41-88 inches (adjustable)
  • Rotation: 210 degrees
  • Power source: AC mains only

The Neewer softbox kit is another great option for streamers who have a little more money to spare. Like the Mountdog, the Neewer is a softbox lighting kit powered by compact fluorescent bulbs.

But with the Neewer kit, you get two softboxes in the package. This allows you to have a better lighting setup. You can put each softbox on either side of your face, making the lighting effect more balanced. This avoids the prominent shadows cast when you use only one light source.

Because the Neewer uses fluorescent bulbs, the brightness is also not adjustable. If you need the lights brighter or dimmer, you’ll have to adjust their distance from your streaming setup. You can also replace the light bulbs, as the Neewer has standard E27 sockets. It can take any kind of bulb with an E27 plug.

To get the best position for each softbox, you can adjust both the height and the angle easily. The softboxes can rotate up to 210 degrees. The stands are adjustable from 41 inches to 88 inches in height.

Fovitec Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

Best softbox lighting kit for streaming

Fovitec Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

Bulb Type 45W E27 Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Light Intensity 1500 Lumens

Power Source AC Adapter

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: 45W E27 compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Color temperature: 5500K
  • Light intensity: 1500 Lumens
  • Dimensions: 20 x 28 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: Yes
  • Adjustable color temperature: No
  • Height: 2.3-7.6 feet (adjustable)
  • 1x 4.5-inch boom stand
  • Rotation: 210 degrees
  • Power source: AC mains only

The Fovitec kit is the most complete softbox lighting setup among our choices. It has not just two, but three softboxes: two for either side of your face, and one overhead. With the Fovitec, you can say goodbye to shadows on your face.

You can adjust this softbox kit’s brightness. Except for the overhead one, the softboxes have five socket heads. A panel of switches lets you control how many lights are on for each of them. That gives an easy way to adjust the brightness even without dimmable bulbs.

The Fovitec adapts to suit any streaming setup with its exceptionally tall tripods. They stand tall at 7 feet 6 inches each, and you can adjust the height easily. The overhead softbox has a boom stand 4.5 inches long, to highlight the top of your head.

Neewer Ring Light

Best ring light for live streaming

NEEWER Ring Light

Bulb Type 240x LED lights

Adjustable Light Intensity? Yes

Power Source AC Adapter

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: 240x LED lights
  • Color temperature: 5500K
  • Dimensions: 18 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: Yes (1-100%)
  • Adjustable color temperature: No
  • White and Orange diffusing panels
  • Height: 61 inches
  • Adjustable gooseneck
  • Remote control
  • Power source: AC adapter

While softboxes give nice, even lighting, they usually lack brightness control. If you want to adjust brightness easily, ring lights are better.

This set from NEEWER does the job quite well. It has 240 individual LEDs. And you can easily adjust the brightness with a dial at the bottom of the ring.

The NEEWER ring light illuminates your face quite well. You can minimize shadows and match them to ambient lighting by adjusting their intensity. If the direct light is too bright, you can soften it with the included orange or white filters. There is no way to adjust the color temperature of the LEDs. However, the orange filters are especially useful if you want a warm light effect.

The ring light sits on a flexible gooseneck that you can point to any direction, helping find the best angle. You can also adjust the ring light’s height.

A good thing about the NEEWER ring light is you can use it with any kind of camera. It has a smartphone holder for mobile streaming. The NEEWER ring light can even fit into a DSLR with its cold shoe attachment. It even has a remote for easier control of the ring light.

AceTaken Webcam Ring Light

Best ring light for webcam streaming

AceTaken’s Webcam Ring Light

Bulb Type 162x LED lights

Adjustable Light Intensity? Yes

Power Source USB

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: 162x LED lights
  • Diameter: 12 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: Yes (5 brightness settings)
  • Adjustable color temperature: Yes (white, warm yellow, warm yellow + white)
  • Smartphone holder and ball head for Logitech webcams included.
  • 360-degree rotation
  • No tripod/stand included.
  • Power source: USB (connects to PC, power bank, or AC adapter)

If you need a ring light that easily attaches to your webcam, this webcam ring light from AceTaken works best. It also works for mobile streaming with its smartphone holder. And it does all of this while being extremely affordable.

However, being affordable comes with a few drawbacks. For one, it doesn’t include a tripod or a stand. You’ll have to use your own stand, or you need to buy one separately. Additionally, AceTaken designed this ring light for Logitech webcams. If your webcam is another brand, you might find it hard to attach the AceTaken ring light.

The good thing about this is the different light modes. You can choose from all white, warm yellow, or yellow and white – no filters needed. Brightness is also adjustable, but there are only 5 levels of light intensity. Additionally, you can rotate the light 360 degrees.

Another advantage of the AceTaken is its versatile power source. Its 2-meter-long USB cable can attach to any USB port that provides power. You can plug it in directly into your PC, a USB wall adapter, or even a power bank. The cable is long enough to reach the power source, so it’s easier to set up. The light works best, though, if plugged into a USB port that provides two amps of current.

MACTREM LED Light Ring

Most affordable ring light for streaming

MACTREM LED Ring Light

Bulb Type LED Lights

Adjustable Light Intensity? Yes

Power Source USB

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: LED lights
  • Diameter: 6 inches
  • Adjustable light intensity: Yes (11 brightness settings)
  • Adjustable color temperature: Yes (white, warm yellow, warm yellow + white)
  • Tripod for smartphone and smartphone holder included.
  • Tripod for ring light included.
  • Remote control
  • Power source: USB (connects to PC, power bank, or AC adapter)

Most ring lights are expensive, but not the Mactrem. You can get it for as little as $16, and it provides adequate lighting for your live streams. It’s even compact enough to easily fit on your desk.

At its price point, the Mactrem ring light has lots of nice features. It has tripods for both the ring light and your phone. It has 3 color temperature modes and 11 brightness settings – 6 more than the AceTaken. The Mactrem connects to a USB for power. So, you can connect it to your PC, a wall adapter, or a power bank.

Take note, though, that the Mactrem is only 6 inches in diameter. It may be too small to illuminate your face appropriately, so you may need extra fill lights.

Lume Cube

Most compact lighting for streaming

Lume Cube

Bulb Type LED

Light Intensity 1500 Lumens

Power Source Rechargeable lithium-polymer battery

Specifications:

  • Bulb type: LED
  • Light intensity: 1500 Lumens
  • Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 1.57 inches
  • Color temperature: 5600K
  • Custom Fresnel lens
  • Diffused beam angle of 80º
  • 95+ Color Rendering Index (CRI)
  • Bluetooth control via Lume-X app
  • Adjustable light intensity: Yes (10% increments)
  • Adjustable color temperature: No
  • Warming and softening filters included.
  • DSLR mount included.
  • Waterproof aluminum housing (up to 30 feet depth)
  • Power source: Rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • Battery life: 1.5 hours on full brightness, 3+ hours on half brightness

The Lume Cube is perhaps the most unique lighting setup of all. It is very compact, lightweight, and versatile. You can attach it to the top of your monitor. It goes well with DSLRs, smartphones, webcams, even drones. With its small, 1.57-cubic-inch frame, it can output a dazzling 1500 Lumens of high-quality light, which is adequate for streaming.

Since it uses an LED, you can adjust the brightness easily. The color temperature is constant, though, but you can use the included warm filter to make it more yellow. Also, it comes with a softening filter you can slip into the Lume cube if the light is too intense.

Thanks to the Lume cube’s pocket-sized body, you can take it with you anywhere. Its lithium-polymer battery allows it to run for an hour and a half on full brightness. For long streaming sessions, this is not enough. But you can connect it to your PC through the included USB cable.

The best part about the Lume is you can control it through Bluetooth. You need to have an app on your phone, though, called Lume-X.

FAQs

What is a key light?

A key light is the main light source for your stream. Place them right behind the camera for proper lighting.

What is a softbox?

A softbox is a lighting setup that uses a diffusing panel to “soften” the light coming into the subject. In other words, the light from a softbox is not too intense. The diffused light illuminates the subject in a more balanced way. The softbox’s diffused light prevents strong shadows.

What is fill lighting?

Fill lights are extra lights that complement the key light. For the best lighting, place fill lights on either side of your face at angles. They effectively eliminate shadows on some parts of your face. This makes you look much better on stream.