December 3, 2014 02 Playdates: Light location well

Lighting makes the biggest difference to how your Playdate looks.

Playdates: Light location well

87.4Mb; 07’30”

Updated lighting tips

The above video was recorded in 2015, and some things have changed

  • In late 2017, Ikea stopped making the “STORM” series of lights, but they have replaced them with the “SOLLEFTEÅ”. Note that at least three of these are required to provide enough light. More is better.
  • LED work lights from hardware stores are cheaper than ever. These are the best solution by far. We will reimburse you up to €60 / US$75 if you purchase one, after your second Playdate. Keep the receipt, and send us a pic of it.
    • Choose the largest hardware store you can get to
    • Chain stores are ideal (Bunnings in Australia; Home Depot in US; B&Q and Homebase in UK, Hornbach in Netherlands, Lowes in USA and Canada…
    • These are often on special, so check their catalogues / signage in store
    • Ask someone to find what you need: “LED work light”
    • If they ask what it’s for, say, “lighting up a large room while we do some decorating” (or tell the truth 😁)
    • LED work lights are rated in “Lumens”. 5000 lumens is the absolute minimum, 8000 lumens is ideal (more lumens is fine, too).
    • A longer power cable is preferred – 1m / 3-feet at least
    • “Halogen” or “tungsten” lamps are not preferred – these may be cheaper, but will be much hotter, use more electricity, be more fragile, and need replacement lamps (instead, ask for an LED fixture)
    • With a stand is better. Better if the stand is 1m / 3-foot in length, but a stubby floor stand is ok as well.
    • You don’t need a battery-powered one – these are much more expensive, and not necessary for our needs.
    • You may send a link / pic to the one you are thinking of buying to your Trainer who can make sure it’s right (but, most “big box” hardware stores are happy to exchange to refund if you keep the packaging)
    • Buying online is also fine – this one on Amazon is ideal (that’s from the US store; many countries have their own Amazon store now (or one in a nearby country), and shipping is cheaper and faster the closer the Amazon store is to you.
    • When buying online, look for at least 50-watt LED units. More watts is better.
    • Ebay has the best prices (usually ordered direct from China, with no shipping fees), but can be 2-4 weeks delivery. Search on ebay for “LED flood light”. Do not get PIR (motion sensor) or RGB (colour) units – just white.  Send us a link before you buy it, so we can double check it’s right.


Don’t do this assignment until you have the lighting equipment you need (as described above).

At night time, set up your webcam, computer and lighting. Ensure you are appropriately lit. Remember:

  • Never point the light directly at yourself (too “harsh”, and will hurt your eyes!)
  • Bounce the light off a truly-white wall (or a true-white sheet pinned to a coloured wall)
  • The light should be behind your computer, so it’s coming at you. Off to one side a little is also good – 30° off centre for example.
  • Never have the light behind you

ABOVE: Example of a LED worklight bounced off a true-white wall and ceiling. Perfect! Note, light is behind the laptop, so the model is well-lit for customers.

ABOVE: Example of a LED work-light bounced off a wall and ceiling. Better if the light is tilted so it’s ONLY pointing at the white ceiling, not the green wall. Note, light is behind the laptop, so the model is well lit for customers.

You may need to move the light around a bit to find the ideal spot, and check how you look on-screen. Use the software to make a “frame capture”, a still image of you in several positions, how customers will see you.

  • Name each image meaningfully (for example, jane_lighting_assignment_01.jpg).
  • Describe what your lighting set-up is
    • The equipment you’re using (make, model number), how many bulbs, what kind of bulbs, what their wattage is (if LED, what the “lumens” is)
  • Take a wide shot showing the lighting setup, the computer, and where you were sitting (see examples above). It’s ok if you need to take several pics to fit it all in
  • Send the pics to your Trainer, who’ll provide some feedback.

Return to the Playdates training page to watch the next video.

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