Whenever I go for an audition, I see the first thing the casting assistant sets up is the ring light. And if casting people are using it, we should use ring light for self-tape auditions at home.
You will find plenty of ring lights, but not all are suitable for self-tapes. Here I will help you get the best ring light for self-tapes. Here you will understand different aspects of ring light like size, light control, color, and how to use ring light effectively.
What Is A Ring Light?
A ring light is circular in design with space in the center. The key feature of the light is that it provides even light to the subject allowing you to see the minute details.
Earlier the ring light was used in medical practices, but slowly it was used by makeup artists and tattoo artists. And as the YouTube culture grew, it was used by many vloggers and Instagram influencers.
Even the filmmakers started using it for certain shots. And now, it is widely used by casting agents and actors for shooting auditions.
What Size Ring Light Do I Need For Self Tape Videos?
Ring lights come in sizes 6 to 22 inches, but not all are suitable for self-tape.
I suggest not to use ring lights smaller than 14 inches because they are suitable for extreme close-up shots. These setups are generally for video calls, zoom meetings, makeup, etc.
You won’t be able to get quality self-tapes with it.
Here I am going to talk about the different sizes of ring lights that you can use for videos.
14-inch to 18-inch
To begin with, you start with lights that are between 14-18 inches. Most Instagrammers and Tiktokers use these lights.
The advantage of these lights is they are easy to carry around, which is the basic need of social media influencers.
However, you can shoot acting auditions too. They provide ample light for close-up and mid-close shots.
I suggest using these lights with 3 point lighting setup to get the best out of it.
18 inches and above
If you like to take much wider shots for your auditions, you need a much bigger ring light. Such big lights provide you space without compromising the light.
I suggest going for an 18 or 20-inch light with 3 point lighting setup.
If you are using only a ring light as a source to shoot your self-tape, use 22 inches or bigger.
A 22-inch ring light is bright enough to provide light for the whole frame. Yes, it won’t be as dynamic and natural-looking as you get with a professional setup, but it is enough for a self-tape.
How Do You Use Ring Light For Self Tape?
Here I am going to provide you step by step process to set up your ring light for the self tape:
Step 1: Position
The first thing you need to consider is the position of the light.
It is generally recommended to place the light right in front of the actor so that the actor’s face receives the maximum light from it.
Also, depending on the frame, you will have to determine the distance between the subject and the light.
Step 2: Using It With Camera
Most of the ring lights are designed in such a way that you can fit a camera in the center of the ring light.
I suggest you use this feature because at this position camera has the best view to capture the shot with all the minute details.
If you are using a DSLR camera, you will have to use camera mount heads which are usually included in the kit. To fix the camera, there is a clamp in the middle of the ring. This clamp supports phones and tablets of all sizes.
Here are some of the accessories you get with the kit.
Step 3: Mounting it On a Stand
The ring light needs a proper tripod. Especially for self tapes you want the ring light to be at your head level.
Most of the ring light kit comes with a compatible stand. The bottom half is just like a normal camera tripod. Just open the three legs of it and set it up.
Make sure the stand is at 90 degrees on level ground.
In the middle, a lock allows you to adjust the height of the top part. Adjust it as per your requirement.
The top of the stand will be like a screw on which the ring goes.
You will find a hole for that screw on your ring light. Just like tightening a screw, tighten the ring over the top. Make sure it is tight and the light is firmly fixed.
Now again, adjust the height of the light by loosening the lock in the middle. If you want, follow this video:
Step 4: Adjusting Color and Brightness
For a self tape video, you need the lighting and color temperature to match the scene’s mood.
I suggest you get a ring light to control brightness and the color temperature.
Avoid using a simple white ring light. They are good for photography but not for shooting your acting auditions.
Usually, at the back of the ring light, you will find buttons to control these settings.
Set the color temperature at full brightness. When you are at full brightness, you can precisely set the temperature.
Don’t rely on your eyes. Look at the result on the camera screen. There is a huge difference between what you see and what the camera captures.
Now adjust the brightness based on your requirement. If you want, take a couple of shots with different settings and compare. Then go with the one you like the most.
What To Look For When Choosing Ring Light?
Knowing how to use the ring light for self tapes is more useful before you get one for yourself. You have a better understanding of the ring light and also your requirement.
Here I am going to provide you with a list of things that you will need to look at while buying a ring light:
We have already discussed the size of the ring lights. You will find ring lights size ranging from 10 inches to 22 inches.
You have to go for the 18-inch and above for self-tapes. Smaller than this is only suitable for photography and vlogging.
Another most important thing to look at is the light itself. Ring lights use a series of LED lights placed in a circular frame.
You have to ensure the LED light’s life span is 5-7 years.
Any good quality LED light has a life span of 50,000 hours to 100,000. And low-quality lights will burn out in just 35,000 hours.
So go for the quality lights only.
The ring light is a one-time investment. You do not want to buy it every year.
Another aspect of the ring light you should focus on is the control settings. For videos, you want to control the brightness and color temperature.
Some ring lights do not have these controls. They have simple switch-on-off functions.
For your self-tapes, you need dimmer and color temperature control lights.
In addition, some ring lights also have different filters as accessories. These filters are of different colors and allow you to control the color of the light. This filter can add tones to your videos.
Nothing causes more trouble than a low-quality stand that just doesn’t set as per your requirement.
The stand needs to have proper ergonomics so that setting up the light is easy and quick. You do not wish to spend hours just setting up the stands before you start shooting.
Go for the tripods, which can be extended to 5ft and beyond.
In most setups, the light will be set at your head level.
5. Camera Support
Most stands include accessories like phone/iPad clamp, ball head, etc. These tops allow you to fix your phone, tablet, or DSLR camera at the center of the ring.
Make sure these heads are compatible with whatever camera you plan to use.
Here I have listed some of the best ring lights for self tapes that you can buy for your home:
Get It On Amazon- Click Here
Neweer is known for providing top-quality lights for photography and videography. The Neewer Ring Light Kit has everything you need for the ring light.
The kit has 18-inch ring light, a 61-inch light stand, different mounts for the camera, and light filters, and to accommodate all, it has a carry bag.
It has a dimmer switch to control the brightness. And to control the temperature, it has white and orange filters. Using these filters, you can achieve color temperatures of 3200k and 5600K.
Such a setting is more than enough for a self tape video.
For me, this is the most basic ring light you must have for self tape video.
Get It On Amazon- Click Here
With IVISII, you get all the basic things you get with Neweer. It also has 18-inch ring light, but the stand it has is 74 inches. If you like setting the camera at a height beyond 60 inches, this is the kit.
The light has a dimmer switch and color filters, but the kit’s unique feature is the light neck.
If you plan to use light at certain angles, the knobs at the neck allow you to do so.
You can easily tilt it from 0 to 180 degrees.
So even if you want to provide light from the top, you can do so.
Get It On Amazon- Click Here
With Neweer and IVISII, you get all the basic things, but if you want to control light and color temperature, more precisely, nothing beats Weeylite Ring Light Kit.
The kit has a remote to control brightness and color, and you can use a phone app to control it.
I like the phone app because you can see the color you want to choose rather than setting the numbers on the light or remote.
Nothing beats the Weeylit, in terms of the color temperature setting. Practically you can choose millions of colors for your shot.
In addition to the color setting, it has everything you need in the ring light kit. I suggest you go for this light because of the quality of light it provides and how much control it gives you.
Light is going to play a crucial in self-tape. If you have the budget, I recommend you get the three-point lighting set up with the best ring light for self-tapes. If not, a ring light will give you not the best but good results.