Thinking about shooting a vlog, recording online courses or streaming, but all you have is a smartphone? There’s a quick and easy way to get great picture and decent sound without having to understand everything.
What you need to start
If you already have a smartphone or a separate camera, you will need three more things to start shooting: light, sound, and background.
For a pleasing picture, you need soft lighting with good color reproduction, ideally with the ability to change the color temperature. One light source is often not enough, so in addition to the main lamp, it would be nice to have a couple of additional ones.
When it comes to sound, many novice bloggers seriously underestimate this parameter, focusing solely on the picture. At the same time, almost every one of us has come across a situation where you want to turn off the video due to poor sound.
And of course, if you want the audience to focus on you and what you are talking about, and not looking at your interior, you will need a background.
Looking ahead a little, let’s say that the Raylab set does not have the background itself, but there is a holder for it. This is quite a reasonable step, because the choice of background color is an individual thing (the streamer will probably want to hang a chroma key, and the author of the online course will want a discreet one-color background).
It is included in the kit
1. Raylab RL-0618 Kit LED ring illuminator as the main light source.
2. Three Raylab F002 LED desktop lights as additional light.
3. Lavalier microphone Raylab RecMic SH LavMic 6m.
4. Stand with Raylab BT2 crossbar for attaching a plastic background.
Mobile ring light on stand
The Raylab RL-0618 Kit LED Ring Light is a kind of kit in a set, because along with the light itself you get a few more accessories: a carrying bag, a stand, a phone mount and a mirror. Also included is a charger for mains power.
The illuminator is large enough — 45.7 cm in diameter, so you will have a soft light even at a short distance, which is especially convenient for beauty bloggers.
The smartphone is mounted inside the ring, so you get powerful frontal illumination. On the stand, the illuminator can be mounted vertically or horizontally — this way you can change the orientation of the phone, although, frankly, it would be more convenient to just have an additional smartphone mount on the side.
On the same thread, you can attach a mirror from the kit or a full-fledged camera through a small tripod head — this will allow you to more conveniently control the shooting angle (for this you will not need to turn the entire lamp, but only the camera on the tripod head).
The device has two additional connectors for mounting: on top inside and outside the ring. They will help to secure additional accessories, such as a monitor or microphone. This is convenient, so it will not be possible to force all the free space with additional racks — all accessories can be hung on the illuminator.
The mirror can be mounted on top so that you can see the screen of your smartphone during selfie shooting — this will allow you to shoot on the main camera and at the same time control what exactly is in the frame.
The device comes with a convenient folding stand, which takes up very little space.
The illuminator can be powered from a socket or from two batteries. Batteries are not included, they can be purchased separately here. Thanks to the battery, the illuminator can be taken with you on location shooting and shooting outdoors.
The power of the device is adjustable from 1 to 100 percent, but usually 20–30 percent is enough, so you have a very decent margin. As for color reproduction, its declared index is CRI95 +, that is, in the video you will get very accurate colors.
The ring device creates nice round highlights in the reflection of the eyes — a nice bonus for any blogger. You can also change the color temperature from cold to warm (the lamp has 224 LEDs with a warm color temperature of 3200K and the same number with a cold 5600K). This is important for fine-tuning artificial light to natural light and for creating artistic effects.
3 table lights
Three LED illuminators included in the kit will help you use the classic lighting scheme with background lighting, backlight and fill light. Lamps can be used as a light for subject shooting during video reviews. At the bottom they have three folding legs, thanks to which the lamps are installed without additional racks and are conveniently transported.
Lavalier microphone with 6m long cord
Raylab’s lavalier is also a base model, but it’s louder and clearer than built-in phone or camera mics. The microphone has a six-meter wire with a Velcro tie to fold the excess length. Thanks to such a long cord, you are not limited in moving around the room — you can freely move away from the camera and approach it. This, for example, will be convenient when shooting a blog in a showroom or art gallery.
In the kit you will find a windscreen and a headphone splitter, which will be handy if you only have one audio jack on your camera. If you’re filming with a phone, check to see if it has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Most newer models don’t have this connector, so you may need an adapter (iPhone/Android with USB type‑c).
In the kit you will find a standard stand with a crossbar for attaching a plastic or lightweight fabric (up to 1 kg) background. The stand is very compact and is compatible with standard backgrounds up to 140 cm wide. The holder can be extended up to two meters in height, so it is hardly suitable for full-length shooting, but for standard blogging formats it is more than enough.
Lighting use cases
- Beauty bloggers can place their smartphone in the ring of the main lamp, and use additional devices to illuminate the background, shoulders, and illuminate themselves a little from behind.
- A teacher recording online courses will probably prefer to place the light not at the camera itself, but next to the workplace. This will allow you not to depend on daylight at all.
- For streamers, a DIY version with color filters to add atmosphere to the broadcast is suitable.
- If you are shooting reviews on gadgets, then the main light can be placed frontally, and additional lamps can be placed on the table and illuminate the subject of your review with them.
- Those who shoot blogs not only indoors can take a ring light with batteries with them to the street.
In addition to the camera itself, content producers need to think about a few more important things — light, sound and background. If you want to improve the picture without changing the camera, you should start by improving the lighting.
Raylab’s Blogger Kit has everything you need to get started — a universal light source that will suit different types of blogs, additional lamps for various lighting effects, a lavalier microphone with a long cord, and a background holder. This is a basic set, without any frills or bells and whistles, but for a novice blogger it will be more than enough. The cost of a set in mid-December 2020 is from 15,900 rubles.