22 Jun Meeting Light – Meeting Lite
Have you done a Zoom meeting yet? Have you done one recently? Are you doing the blessed things every day? Are you ready to murder the other participants plus the host…on camera…while laughing horribly? Welcome to the club.
I’ll start by saying I do love the idea of the Zoom meeting and particularly appreciate the fact that the video and computer luddites amongst us can cope with them with such little fuss. I have difficulty opening a yoghurt container but I was able to set up my own Zoom meetings during the depths of the local lockdown and they all ran pretty well. I was even able to participate in virtual pub quiz nights on the computer…and win three of them.
Pride goeth before a fall, however. I noted that my own image on the screen was pretty horrid, and had to set about improving the situation. The pie shirt had to go, I had to shave regularly, and I had to arrange some decent lighting for my little computer room. I was able to set up a main and fill and discretely decided not to use a hair light… no hair. However the result of basic studio lighting with two IKEA gooseneck lamps was good enough to elevate my contribution to the semi-cheap professional level.
The basic problem for many of the Zoomists I saw was lack of knowledge on how to light combined with lack of lighting. Plenty of people set themselves in front of a bare window and appeared like silhouettes. Some sat under a bare bulb and looked like Disney villains. A few lived in houses where there was no colour temperature…I wondered if they could see reflections of themselves in mirrors…
Well, the IKEA system worked for me and for 50 bucks it can probably work for you – heck, if you are prepared to sit diagonally from a clean open window you can probably get a good enough image to appear as a talk-show host. For those who are going to be away from the mains power, however – broadcasting from your laptops or tablets – may we suggest a portable light. here are two types on sale at the shop right now – one at a screaming bargain price.
a. The Phottix M200R RGB light.
This is an LED panel behind frosted acrylic that lights form a number of different coloured bulbs. You can change the colour temperature of the output by varying the mount of each colour and go from a very warm to very cold output. Match your ambient temperature and you’ll look 100% more professional.
It is also a power bank so you can charge it from the USB and then let it power other portable devices – like the tablet or phone as you broadcast. Note the control panel screen at the back to let you know what you are doing in case you forget.
b, The screaming bargain. There is a stack of Profoto C1 Plus LED lights at the front of the Stirling Street shop and you can completely disregard the price sticker you see in the box illustration…they have had a massive price drop.
The Profoto website touts this light as a match for a smartphone, but I think it could serve far wider than that.
If your laptop or tablet is your Zoom platform, imagine combining it with one of the Joby support products to append it to your rig. Then you can be the star in good light wherever the device goes.
If you want to be the Disney villain, suspend it below the tablet looking up your face – Profoto make a range of filter accessories to spook it up.
And remember – all you have to do to win Zoom is look better than the other people on the screen. And don’t get caught with your mouth full of doughnut when the host unmutes you. Doughnut crumbs stick to everything.