6 Best Lighting Options for Online Teaching

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These days, more teachers are in a situation where they have to organize online classes than ever before. Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped global education overnight; but it’s made the fact that online teaching is more cost-effective nakedly apparent.

However, while teaching classes online may seem simple to set up — it actually requires a lot of different pieces of equipment. The camera that you’ll be using to record yourself is the most obvious one, but you’d be surprised at all the different peripheral hardware pieces that you’ll need in order to make everything work. For instance — it doesn’t matter how good your camera is if your lighting is off. The image that you produce simply won’t be of sufficient quality.

That’s why choosing among the best lighting options for online teaching is important. If you manage to take care of the lighting, even a beginner-level DSLR camera will produce excellent videos. If you want the best one right off the bat, we have to say you can’t go wrong with the QIAYA Light Ring. Considering all of that — we’ll take a look at some of our top picks among lighting kits!

QIAYA Selfie Light Ring Lights LED Circle Light

Our first pick is a ring light circle from QIAYA. It provides an interesting variety in illumination, as you can set it to three different colors depending on the scene that you want to set. There’s mixed, white, and warm white.

Also, you can dim the lights as you please across ten different levels of brightness. That will make it easier to tackle the shadows that may be cast upon your face. This is definitely a lighting kit that’s more than adequate for all kinds of phones and cameras.

Primarily, this is used as a light ring for selfies; that’s why the mount feature of the light can rotate along a full 180 degrees once it’s attached to your tripod. Speaking of, the tripod that you get in the package also contains a tiny mount that you can use with your cell phone; it can also rotate fully. While we recommend getting a camera for online teaching, this makes it easy to use a smartphone as well. The same goes for laptop recording, as you can neatly clip it onto your laptop as well.

When it comes to value for your money, Qiaya definitely represents one of the best packages. For a reasonable price, it gives you a lighting package that you can have a large degree of control over. The different color modes and brightness levels let you easily adapt to any kind of recording environment.

Pros:

●  Three color settings

●  Ten brightness levels

Cons:

●  Needs to be plugged in

Rovtop 10 inch Ring Light with Stand Tripod

The next lighting option we’ll review comes from Rovtop. It’s another ring light package — and it too contains dimmable bulbs that you can set to three different light modes. Plus, the brightness can also be adjusted across ten levels. As you can see, it’s pretty similar to the Qiaya offering in terms of specs. But where it definitely shines is a tripod stand that offers a decent degree of manufacturing quality. You can be certain that your ring light will be secure once you place it there, without risk of falling and being damaged.

The tripod’s height can be adjusted according to your needs; you can use it from both a table and a floor. If you’re going to be recording with a smartphone, Rovtop also offers you two distinct holding positions for the phone. These holders can also be rotated, allowing you to place your phone in the most comfortable position possible.

Pros:

●  Adjustable phone holders

●  Versatile tripod

Cons:

●  Higher price than similar models

Selfie Ring Light, XINBAOHONG

When it comes to cost-effectiveness, there’s probably no product better than the Xinbaohong ring light. If you want to have a great piece of lighting equipment for your phone on a budget, you won’t find more value for your money elsewhere. First of all, this ring light contains a great enough variety of light settings.

The clip-on functionality means you can use it wherever you want; though portability isn’t that important to a teacher working from home. However, the single biggest advantage that this selfie ring light has is that it doesn’t require an external power source all the time; it runs on a battery that you can recharge.

One of the best parts about the Xinbaohong lighting is that its 36 bulbs don’t emit yellow light, but white. This means that your lighting will seem more natural in all settings; regardless of where you’ll actually be filming. Online teachers that don’t have a lot of natural light will find it indispensable.

Plus, the battery life on this device is truly extraordinary; while it’s rechargeable, you won’t have to worry about charging it for a very long time. In one charge, the light can last for about seven hours.

One of the biggest problems with this device is its design. Namely, the fact that, while it is functional, the circular design is simply too large. If your phone is of a similar size, it may be difficult to use while the light ring is attached because it’s just too big.

Of course, this depends on the size of your smartphone. Bear in mind that this is only a problem with smaller, mid-range phones that may not be well suited for filming in the first place.

Keeping all of this in mind, however; we have to conclude that the Xinbaohong light ring is definitely a great deal for anyone looking for affordable lighting kits. You won’t find many other products in this niche that offer this level of quality for such an affordable price. And that’s especially true compared to Rovtop and QIAYA.

Pros:

●  Long battery life

●  Quite portable

Cons:

●  Design sometimes obscures smaller phones

The Whellen Selfie Ring Light

Here’s another easily portable light ring — the Whellen Selfie Ring Light. It’s small and lightweight enough to fit in your pocket; unlike the Xinbaohong model above. In fact, you can stuff it alongside your wallet, phone, and car keys with some spare change and still have room left over.

That doesn’t mean that the Whellen product isn’t practical; far from it. You can easily clip it onto your laptop or your phone; though its size means that it’s better suited for phones. And unlike some of the bigger ring light models, the ring’s bottom half won’t obscure your screen while it’s attached. You won’t see it obscure anything more than a tiny push notification would; so that’s pretty much alright.

And it won’t damage your screen either; the clip that lets you attach the light to different surfaces contains rubber padding. This clip can also be adjusted depending on the thickness of the surface — so if you’re using a case with your phone, don’t worry this lighting can still work.

As for the lighting itself, Whellen doesn’t shine — all pun intended — but it’s not bad either. Just like the industry standard is, you get three different options for the lighting; cool, warm, or a mix. The brightest white shines from the “cool” setting, while the warm one gets closer to an orange color. However, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Even when tested in the darkest possible rooms, both of these settings provided a decent level of light.

Pros:

●  Portable

●  Decent lighting

Cons:

●  May be too small for larger settings

Fancierstudio Lighting Kit 2400 Watt Professional Video Lighting Kit

Our next lighting kit is something completely different compared to the ring lights that we’ve reviewed above. First of all, it’s not just a single piece of lighting; it’s an entire lighting kit that can be used with other professional recording equipment. And if you’re not going to set up a special backdrop for your recording, the Fancierstudio Lighting Kit will prove to be everything you need.

It will give you the lighting options that you require without turning the entire area into a clinical studio backdrop. These lights are quite soft and natural, and they’re not difficult to set up either. They’re the most affordable professional studio lighting you’ll find. Plus, the lights manage to avoid casting shadows as much as their more expensive counterparts. Sure, they don’t have the adjustability of some other dimmers, but they’re still stunning in their price range.

Pros:

●  Shadowless lighting

●  Attractive-looking package

●  Varied bulbs with different brightness levels

●  Quick set up process

Cons:

● Only has lights

● Less control over light intensity

● Cheaply manufactured lighting stands

Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable 5600K USB LED Video Light with Adjustable Tripod

The final product we’ll review as one of the best lighting options for online teaching is the Neewer 2-pack with an adjustable tripod. In our personal opinion, this is definitely the best lighting product you can purchase for around 50 bucks. First of all, Neewer is generally a well-regarded manufacturer, with a fine balance between price and build quality.

Once you first unpack this product and assemble the stands and the lights, you will see that even this low price was not a waste of your funds. You should know that the lights are quite bright; luckily they’re adjustable, or else they’d be brighter than most people need them to be. You’ve got easy access to a brightness controller right from the power cord, so it only takes a couple of clicks to go through all of the settings.

The lights also come with a power bank that’s as portable as the rest of the package. It’s definitely an impressive package, with only one major flaw — the stands. Indeed, the stands for this lighting are on a much lower level of quality compared to the rest of the package. They are visibly made from cheaper materials, and they lack fundamental sturdiness. The same goes for the tripod that you’re supposed to connect with the stand’s bottom. Its legs are not on the same level mutually, and the plastic they’re made from is quite flimsy.

However, the degrading quality of these stands does not detract from the overall experience that much. For the low price that Neewer is charging, there had to be at least one tiny throwback. But what you get in return is the cheapest high-quality studio-grade lighting; something any online teacher could make use of.

Pros:

●  Incredibly cheap

●  Excellent lighting

Cons:

●  Flimsy stands

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are plenty of different lighting options for online teaching. When choosing which one you want, you have to think about what kind of recording equipment you’ll be using. For smartphones, one of our ring light models like the Xinbaohong would be the best choice; that particular product gives you the most bang for your buck. On the other hand, if you’re going for studio lighting — we advise going with the Neewer package. If you want the best option, the QIAYA Light Ring is it. You won’t have to spend too much money, and you’ll have a high-quality lighting set.

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Marko is a music and tech enthusiast living in Europe. He's a fan of gadgets, rock n' roll, and all things education.

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