Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Best Wireless Personal Video Conferencing Light I’ve Ever Used

Raya Bi-Color Round LED Panel Light (9")

Sometimes a product is so good that people who use it become instant fans and they are eager to tell everyone they know about it. Great examples include game consoles, the iPhone, Netflix, etc..

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not reviewing much lately because my personal life has been dedicated to my family and my work life has been quite busy. However, when I tried this product out, I loved it so much that I knew it was time to get another article out as quickly as possible.

I think what won me over so quickly on this one was that my friends at B&H sent me a review unit that included a great support stand (which consists of several parts sold separately) and a battery pack with charger that makes this entire unit wireless. What you see in the picture is all you need and you can take it anywhere, set it down, turn it on, and voila you’ve got great light. What’s more, you can adjust the light temperature and brightness to give you subtle lighting improvements that are hardly noticeable or you can crank it up if you really want to bring your eye color out to the max!


My bedroom chair is one of my favorite places to have video conference calls when working from home or talking with friends, but I almost never turn my camera on because the light is just blah as shown here:

To be fair, this was actually a rare sunny day in the Pacific Northwest and the light is much better than normal but the challenge is the back lighting and the harsh side lighting. If I was taking a professional photo I’d use an reflector and be in good shape, but this is live video so that isn’t especially practical. However, with my Raya 9” light, I can give new life to my Herman Munster-like dark inset eyes as shown here:

Yes, I may have overdone it a bit with the brightness and the warmth, but you get the idea. I now have nice catchlights that bring out the color of my eyes better and improve the experience quite a bit.

Now, I know some of you are probably saying – heck, that before is way better than the lighting I have at my office, I’d take that any day so I don’t see the value here. Ok, that’s fair, so how about a more common problem of overhead light that casts shadows over your face like this:

versus something more evenly lit across the face like this?

Now, imagine I get that light up higher (to address the camera left eye shadow) and possibly throw a handkerchief or other softening material over the light to make it light without the harsh highlights? You get the idea, that it can make a big difference without much effort but if you do put some effort into it then it can be as professional as you want it to look – for not that much expense.

Even outdoors, where light isn’t splashing all over shiny countertops and stainless refrigerator doors I was able to take an acceptable lighting scenario like this:

into a subtle, but improved lighting on my eyes with catchlights like this:

This sunny day sitting under the deck umbrella just got a whole lot better with this portable light – without any wires cluttering up the space. I didn’t need to worry about wires that the dog would chew on or trip on to bring my light down at the worst possible time. It just worked as easy as it was to bring my phone (in this case) or laptop to a outdoor environment to enjoy a online meeting with friends.

How it works

So the “trick” here is two big batteries that look like what some of us might recognize from camcorders in the 90’s. They are those two big rectangles in the middle of the light that hold a lot of power but also add weight to help stabilize the light so that it’s not falling over with the lightest breeze outdoors.

The two orange knobs control light temperature and brightness. If you aren’t going to be moving it around then you can skip the batteries and go for the power cord that comes with the light and never have to worry about charging anything, but for me the batteries make it so mobile that I want to use it everywhere around my house.

Here’s everything you need based on the picture above:

Impact Large Magnet Grip Mount with 50mm Stud and 6" Baby Pin Adapter Kit

Oh, did you notice something cool in that title? Yes, the base is a big magnet so if you have something metal to set it on then it’s rock solid. I stuck it on my refrigerator, but my wife didn’t like that too much (but hey, it worked!).

You’ll also need TWO Watson NP-F770 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (7.4V, 4400mAh) batteries (7800mAh and 10,050mAh versions are also available for even longer battery life). To charge them you’ll need a Watson Compact AC/DC Charger for L & M Series Batteries.

Don’t need it to be portable?

If you just want to mount it to your desk and forget it, then ignore all of that above and just get this and use the power cord that comes with the light:

Yeah, but how does it work with video?

I hate video editing, so here’s a video I did using just my iPhone and the Raya light outdoors on my deck. Please forgive the poor reduction in video quality and horrible color after YouTube’s terrible video compression when viewing on a PC, but it’s less terrible on iPhones:

Night time iPhone Video

Day time iPhone Video

If you are a content-creator, you might be interested in the full Livestreaming Kit.

Why should you care what I think?

Many of you who have followed this blog may not realize that my primary job has always been in high tech at a company you’ve definitely heard of. With 6 years of experience in building cutting edge video conferencing solutions for the biggest companies on the planet, I know a thing or two about the challenges many users face when collaborating with others over video.

Typically, my photography life outside of work doesn’t directly cross paths with my day job, but when B&H contacted me to say they had a cool personal light for photography and video conferencing, I couldn’t pass up the chance to check it out. What I didn’t expect is that it would be a wireless solution that would allow me to have great light wherever I landed with my laptop or even phone to have a meeting!

I am not allowed to endorse items for work, so I can’t mention who I work for or what I work on (but it’s easy to figure out). As such, this is my personal opinion formed outside of work using personal products for personal meetings with friends and relatives, but after this is done I do plan to show my friends at work and use it to enhance my personal meeting experiences.

Where to Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more or buy today.

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