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This post was most recently updated on November 13th, 2022

If you are ready to get a lighting upgrade for your video studio, you may be already in the process of looking at different light options.

The perfect lighting always depends on what you want to shoot. You may need a softer light to bring out the natural color of a product, or you might want to show small details with a stronger source of light.

Lighting is an important part of any photography and videography project. The right light can make all the difference between a good photo and a great one.

We take a look at two of the most popular lighting sources, ring lights, and softboxes, and find out which one is better for video.

What’s A Ring Light?

A ring light has a circular shape and can be used to create the appearance of a spotlight on a subject in photography and videography.

This circle of light distributes the light evenly across your subject and it can also add focus to distinctive features, for example, your subject’s eyes.

A ring light doesn’t cast any shadows which makes it ideal for portrait photography.

Ring lights are also very easy to set up. You simply place your camera into the center hole of the ring and shoot.

Why Use Ring Lighting

Why Use Ring Lighting

Ring lighting can be used in a range of scenarios. Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses of this type of light.

Video Recording

If you regularly watch vloggers on YouTube, you’ll notice the difference between a ring light setup and a standard light.

The vlogger’s face will appear clear and evenly lit. This is thanks to the ring light illuminating the space throughout.

Ring lights can also accentuate certain features. They can, for example, create a halo-like shadow around the subject. This can add a dramatic effect to your video footage.

Video Clarity

Although often used in photography as the go-to lighting source, ring lights can also add better light to videos.

Add More Color

If you are interested in trying out some color lighting and experimenting with the effect it creates, then ring lights are ideal.

You just swap the white lights of the ring light with color lights, depending on what you want to try.

Just like with the white light, the ring light will distribute the color light evenly across your subject and the surrounding areas.

Highlight Details

In addition to the even light distribution from a ring light, it also can be used to highlight certain details of a subject in your video.

As the camera is positioned in the middle of the ring, you can concentrate on the individual details that are now visible thanks to the even light on your subject.

What Is A Softbox Light?

A softbox is a large box with a translucent diffuser panel inside. It creates a softer, more even light than other types of lights such as umbrellas.

Softboxes are a standard part of the traditional three-point lighting setup in a photography studio. It is mainly used for portrait photography as it creates a gentle and soft light.

Why Use A Soft-Box Light

Why Use A Soft-Box Light

Softboxes are versatile, and these light diffusers have a range of practical uses in videography.

Similar To Natural Light

The light from a softbox resembles natural light, and it perfectly imitates gentle sunlight coming through a window.

This is ideal when you want to replicate a natural daylight setup.

Full Control Over Light

You can use a softbox to control the shape and the direction of the light shining on your subject and the surroundings.

At the same time, a softbox will contain any light, allowing no light to spill into areas where you don’t want it.

Close-Up Video

If you are taking close-up video shots of an object, then softboxes come in very handy. They spread the light evenly without leaving any shadows.

Ring Light Vs Softbox Light: What’s Better For Video?

When using either a ring or a softbox light, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

We’ve already mentioned how a softbox can mimic natural light. This makes them ideal for more atmospheric videos where you need the shadows to create the desired effect.

However, if you’re shooting outdoors, then a ring light might be a better choice. It has a wider coverage area and this means that you get more light than you would with a softbox.

So, which one should you choose for your video?

Well, both are great options for video. However, the right choice depends on the type of video you want to shoot.

If you want to create a vlog or a beauty video with close-up shots of your subject’s face, then a ring light offers better clarity and much more detail than a softbox.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute queries answered here!

Do Ring Lights Make You Look Better?

What look you want to achieve is up to you but ring lights allow you to create a clearer image in your videos and photos.

A ring light highlights even the smallest details on your face and it will bring out your eyes more.

This can be a great advantage if you are a vlogger or makeup artist filming tutorials.

Why Do YouTubers Use Ring Lights?

Ring lights allow YouTubers to create shots that look beautiful as well as professional. These lights produce an even and warm look without any shadows on the subject hiding any skin imperfections.

You can also create a halo-like shadow around your subject for a better effect. In addition, ring light kits take up much less space than some other video equipment.

How Many Softboxes Do You Need?

Generally, the size of your softbox light should be around the same size as your subject. For example, if you want to take a headshot, you may need a softbox ranging between 18″ to 24″.

For full-body photos, you will need more than one softbox to create a size of up to 48″ or larger.

Conclusion

The best way to decide what lighting kit you need is to think about the type of video you plan to make. If you are planning to film a tutorial, then you’ll probably need a ring light.

In all cases, remember that a good quality camera and tripod are essential when making videos.

Also, keep in mind that you can always add a flash unit to your setup if you need to create a stronger light source.