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Tech Talk: Why Natural Light is Better for Video Calls

Brief Description

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In our last blog we talked about how to set yourself up for video call success and how natural light is better for video calls. We had a few of our Instagram friends reach out and ask us why. We won’t lie to you– the answer is fairly technical but that’s also why we get so fired up about it! So – let us put on our nerd glasses and tell you all about it.

First, let’s talk about image size. The standard image size, or resolution, is 1920X1080– and this is what you can expect to get out of pretty much any camera. But, where we see the biggest difference, is in image quality. And the quality of your image comes down to sensor size. 

Second, let’s explain what a sensor is. The sensor lives within the lens and is what is used to gather light and therefore make the image. The more light the sensor is able to gather, the higher quality the resulting image will be. 

Some things to keep in mind: 

  1. When we shoot on our big awesome professional cameras, the sensor size is ½” to 1” in diameter.
  2. The sensor on your computer or phone is teeny tiny in comparison measuring at most ¼”. 
  3. Since the sensor on your phone or laptop is about half the size of our professional sensors it has to work twice as hard to make your image look good. 
  4. The smaller the sensor– the more light you need.  

What does this mean?

While images may be the same size–  bigger sensors gather more light and make the image look better. Professional cameras have larger sensors, and can therefore produce a higher quality image, whereas cameras with smaller sensors gather less light resulting in a grainy and unappealing image. 

But, don’t you shoot in the dark?

Yes, but our cameras have big sensors that gather significantly more light than those found in a cell phone or laptop. This combined with our big fancy lights puts us at an advantage over a laptop camera and a desk lamp. Remember, our sensors are at least double the size of your cell phone’s, meaning we can work with artificial light and still produce an image of high quality, even when it’s dark out.

So, what does this have to do with natural light? 

Put it this way – the sun is the ultimate light source. Natural light is the brightest, and even a cloudy day will provide more light than your best desk lamp. Giving your sensor an abundance of light will result in a high quality image.

For the purposes of video calls and informal social media videos, like Instagram stories– a natural light source, like a window, placed in front of you is best. This is going to result in a better, clearer image and a better overall video. 

Just remember, when it comes to sensors, size does matter.