Video Conferencing 101: Room Lighting Make or Break Video Conferencing

Connectivity and sound are not the only elements that matter to the success of video communication process. One also needs to factor in the clarity of the video image transmitted. On this regard, two things are considered: lighting and background.

Lighting can make or break a company’s video collaboration experience because it affects how the company’s contacts perceive them. When you communicate from what seems like a dark room, it tends to send a negative impression on the people you’re talking to. When the room appears too dark from their end, they get the feeling that you’re hiding something which then affects your credibility. The same rule applies to when the room lighting is too bright. It’s difficult for them to understand you or whatever it is you’re presenting to them when all they see is glaring light.

On your end, it’s better to have proper lighting in the room for video conferencing because this allows you to comfortably conduct yourself with your contacts. When there’s sufficient light in the room, there’s no need for you to squint or make unnecessary movements to improve your vision. In this way, you conduct your business as if you’re talking to people who are in the same room as you are.

To make the most out of this technology, proper lighting in the room has to be in place. There are two things that you need to consider when it comes to room lighting to improve your experience: (a) the comfort of the participants, and (b) the quality of light used in terms of distribution and color.

Lighting for video conferencing involves up to four lighting positions:

  • Fill Light: This is the light that shines on the object coming from the front part of the room. The light is installed at a low angle in order to soften the shadows under the chin and the eyes.
  • Key Light: This refers to the light shining on the subject, also from the front. It is the main light on the object and is typically installed at the high center. Alternatively, it can be placed on either side of the seating area for rooms that require two lights. The lights are then aimed downward at a 45-degree angle.
  • Hair Light: These are lights that are installed at the back of the room above the object. The lights are aimed downward so as to separate the object (speaker) from the background.
  • Backdrop Light: This is a type of lighting that is placed above and in between subjects when necessary or if there is sufficient space for it. A room typically needs two of these lights. Each one is aimed toward the background’s opposite half in order to create an even lighting.

Background color – color of the wall facing the camera in which the participants are seated in the foreground is a very important aspect for consideration as well. The background should be big enough to fill the entire camera’s field of view when the video conferencing room is fully occupied. The key to a good background is to provide adequate contrast on camera to the participants’ skin tones and clothing. Often a medium blue solid color (with no gradients) will give the best results.

Another subtle yet important consideration is there should be some form of indication for the location of the room. This can be the company’s logo, spelt out in name and location (state, country, etc) and it can be painted or a sticker that can be easily readable on a television monitor.

One has to remember that aesthetics matter in conducting business and for any presentation to be a success, proper lighting for video conferencing room have to be carefully chosen and installed.
Over at SG Videoconferencing, we strongly believed that optimal room lighting conditions is an integral part of good video communication experience. We not only advise client on the usual technicalities, but we will also provide practical suggestions how to improve lighting placement, types of lighting to use and also how to blend in with the room design.