As more and more creative professionals are working remotely for good, it's time to consider upping your home studio to create better output and inspire creativity.
Do you really want to have bad lighting on every video conference you do with coworkers and clients? No, you should be well-lit and look professional.
You wouldn't show up to an office meeting with sweats on and messy hair - ok, some people would, but overall it's probably not helping your reputation. Daily video conferences are the new normal for many of us, so maybe it's time to settle into it and up your game?
It's time to get a proper background and lighting for your calls, and it starts with a good camera and a simple ring light. We have found some great options priced right and will help you achieve a professional look, great content, and even some innovative solutions.
If you are a photographer, graphic designer, illustrator, or just someone who is cranking out decks, your laptop screen will not be enough anymore. It's time for a second monitor that can not only give you extra screen real estate but can help you get more hands-on. We found the perfect monitor with so much functionality you might not have time to use it all.
Let's start with getting you lit right, then jump into one of the most innovative webcams we have ever used and top it off with a stellar little workhorse of a monitor that's a must for graphic designers and photographers.
TONOR TRL-20 Selfie Ring
The ring light is the easiest way to get the perfect even lighting for your video calls, vlogging content, and portrait photography. They are versatile and easy to use, and the Tonor TRL-20 kit comes with everything you need, including a tripod, remote control for shooting with a phone, and dimmable light with three lighting settings.
How can you use the TONOR TRL-20 Selfie Ring?
The great thing about a ring light is there are many different applications, from lighting yourself evenly on video calls to creating great-looking videos and photos. The best way to start getting the most out of this light is to set it up in different configurations and see how it looks.
For most applications, you will want to be directly in front of the light to get the even lighting that will make you or your subject look great. For your standard zoom type of call, you can position the light behind your laptop, and voilà, you are already looking 100% better.
If you want to get a little funky, go ahead and experiment with the different temperatures, aka colors and intensity, the Tonor gives you a choice of three dimmable temps, cold, warm and natural. It's best to match the lighting vibe already in the room if you are looking for the most natural effect.
Pros of the TONOR TRL-20 Selfie Ring
- Great price and functionality for prosumers and amateur content creators.
- The remote control is super handy for taking photos of yourself and limiting tripod shake.
Cons of the TONOR TRL-20 Selfie Ring
- The tripod is not that great, so it's probably better to use one you already have or upgrade to something a bit sturdier, especially if you are moving it around.
- The Kelvin Light Temperature is not exact, so you have to guess at what the temp is; this makes it less suitable for professionals
- The phone mount is a little wonky.
Features of the TONOR TRL-20 Selfie Ring:
- Dimmable Ring Light: TRL-20 features three color modes (cold, warm, and natural) along with ten brightness levels. The color temperature ranges from 2700K-6500K. Suitable for Zoom Conference, TikTok, YouTube, Makeup, Photographer.
- Gentle & Bright Light: 160 high-quality LED bulbs are built in the TRL-20 12" ring light, enhancing its brightness over 30% than the 10" ring light. It emits a soft and even glows to flatter your skin and prevent eye glare.
- 20000H Span Life: The ring light is composed of high-quality light board and LED bulbs, and adopts overvoltage protection and electrostatic shielding tech, making the average life reach 20000H.
- Easy Operation: Set up the ring light and the tripod stand effortlessly, then plug in the power source and use the included Bluetooth remote shutter to easily take selfies and record videos.
- What you get: 12" ring light with 78.7"/2m USB cable, metal tripod stand, phone holder, Bluetooth remote shutter, manual, after-sales card.
Check Out Prices Here
AVer Media PW313D Dualcam ($199)
A good webcam is essential these days, and sometimes the one on your laptop just isn't going to cut it. The main problem many people have with built-in cameras is that you are limited to one position; you can't get it exactly where you want it without physically moving your computer.
This lack of flexibility is not great if you are trying to get a professional-looking background for video calls, etc.
The AVer Media PW313D Dualcam not only solves this problem but also features two cameras so that you can record another subject along with yourself when using their proprietary software. This two-camera system is excellent for teachers, content creators, and anyone that want's to show two different shots.
A good example would be a DJ using this camera to live stream a set, one camera could be focused on the gear to show hand movements, and the other could be on the DJ.
Another example would be a teacher showing what they are writing on a notepad while having the other camera on their face so the student can see what is being written down.
There are endless ways to use this setup, and if you only want one camera to function, you can slide the lens cover over one to deactivate it.
Both the left and right cameras have adjustable angles.
- Upward Rotation 90°
- Downward Rotation -15°
- Backward Rotation 195°
- Forward Rotation -75°
The camera is lightweight and portable, so you can take it with you easily if you have to teach or use it in another location. The camera is also easy to mount on a laptop or monitor via it's universal mounting clip or via the included mini tripod; you can easily find the perfect angle for whatever you are doing.
What about the sound?
The camera features dual microphones with AI noise reduction to help capture the best sound possible from up to 9 feet away. So no matter what you are doing, you will get clear sound with minimal ambient noise.
The proprietary software is what gives you the ultimate control over the features of this innovative webcam. You can download CamEngine 4 for free, the video and audio optimization software that gives you access to all of the webcam's features, includng: video rotation, zoom, picture-in-picture, keystone correction, and annotation tools to enhance any lesson or video call.
Pros of the AVer Media PW313D Dualcam:
- Great proprietary software that easily allows you to get access to all the functionality of the camera.
- The mounting solutions are endless, so you can find the perfect angle.
- Great sounding mics.
- Two cameras give you all sorts of creative options to showcase content and upgrade your video conference game.
Cons of the AVer Media PW313D Dualcam:
- The camera might be too expensive for some, and it's not easy to find right now.
Check Out Pricing Here
VEIKK Studio VK2200 Pro ($469.00)
Working on a laptop has its disadvantages, especially if you are working from home most of the time. The new VEIKK Studio VK220 Pro is a monitor that solves a lot of problems for creative pros working in photography, graphic design, and illustration. Now you have a second monitor that also functions as a design tablet with a pressure-sensitive pen tool and a big enough monitor to give you some extra real estate.
For those using applications like Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator, and even Light Room, you now get a hands-on editing experience that is entirely customizable with two Quick Dials and eight Silentpress Shortcut Keys that are on the left side of the monitor.
Using the driver software, you can easily set each dial and button to whatever functionality you want; this speeds up workflow and lets you focus on being creative and not menu diving. Patience, young Jedi, it does require you to get through a bit of a learning curve, especially if you have never used a tablet before.
The matte finish and bright screen make this a fantastic tool for creators to get hands-on with their work rather than using a mouse. Editing photos on this monitor/tablet combo was a dream and really elevated the experience of working in Adobe Light Room. Even better, it's just a great second monitor to use when you are building decks in Powerpoint or similar tasks.
The VK2200 comes with two battery-free pens and a stand, so you can easily plunk the pen down and not lose it. The P05 battery-free digital pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, 60° tilt, and a 290PPS high report rate, giving the feel of a pen on paper. The pen comes with replacement tips, feels excellent in hand, and is incredibly responsive.
Another great function of this monitor is the ability to change the angle dramatically. For those that want more of a feel like writing on a flatter service, the monitor will lay almost flat.
Connectivity-wise, the Studio VK2200 Pro supports a USB-C to USB-C connection, which is perfect for new MacBook Pros. You will also need to set up the HDMI cable to drive the monitor. MAKE SURE to read the instructions, or you will get lost; this is not a plug-and-play type of monitor and takes some setting up.
The Studio VK2200 Pro is compatible with various operating systems and applications, including Windows 10/8/7 and above, macOS 10.12 and above, Chrome OS 88 and above, Linux, and Android. It also works exceptionally well with Adobe products, and we loved it with Lightroom and Photoshop.
If you are looking for a second monitor that can also give you hands-on functionality for graphic design, illustration, and photo editing, you won't find much better at this price. We love the ability to have a second monitor that has dual functionality; consider us fans!
Pros of the VEIKK Studio VK2200 Pro:
- Works as both a second monitor and creative surface for designers, photographers, and illustrators.
- Matte finish and customizable dials and buttons make it a pleasure to work on.
- Battery-free pen.
- Easy to find the perfect angle for design work and snap it back to a more vertical position for traditional monitor use.
- Reasonable price.
Cons of the VEIKK Studio VK2200 Pro:
- There is a bit of a learning curve, and it wasn't super easy to set up.
Check Pricing Here