Good lighting is something that many people don’t realize improves the quality of your videos. It also creates an epic atmosphere for your drum kit to be in. Out of all the continuous lighting types, LEDs tend to be the best for drummers. LED panels, in particular, are incredible options to use. So, I’m going to show you some of the best LED lights to light up a drum set.
I’ll take you through why lighting is so important, explain what to think about before buying some lights, and give a few of my top suggestions. After reading this, you’ll have a few ideas of what you need for your own kit.
Bottom Line Up Front
LED panels are the best types of lights to use for drums because they’re small and easy to place around a kit. When getting LED panels, you should try to get ones that have a few customization options to make getting good lighting easier. Brightness adjustment and temperature adjustment are the two most important features to look out for. Here are a few of my top picks:
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED – Fantastic affordable 2-pack.
- GVM 800D LED Video Lighting Kit – Great high-quality lights with several features.
- Godox SL-60W – Good light for smaller spaces with directional lighting.
- DF DIGITALFOTO Chameleon RGB Tube Light – Excellent option for creating a cool backdrop.
Things to Know About Lighting and Drumming
Know Your Purpose
When considering lighting for your drum set, you should establish a clear goal for what you want. Are you looking for lights that will make your drumming space look epic? Are you looking for lights that will boost the quality of your videos? Perhaps, you’re looking for lights that do both? Knowing the answer to those questions will determine what kind of lights you need to get.
I’m solely suggesting LED lights in this article. However, softbox lights work very well if you have the space for them. Most people don’t, which is why LED lights are typically the preferred option for drummers.
While you may consider using lamps and standalone lights from around the house, they won’t give you near as much lighting as dedicated lights will, and you won’t have any control over how much light they produce. Understanding why you need lighting for videos is another aspect of knowing the purpose of what you’re buying.
Why You Need Continuous Lighting for Drum Videos
Focused lighting is one of the most important aspects of making good videos. If you only film yourself drumming with light from the ceiling of the room you’re in, the picture in your video is going to look quite dull. It will be challenging to make that look better.
When you add in continuous lighting, the picture pops and looks a lot more exciting and professional. The reason for this is that cameras love dedicated light. The more light there is in your shot, the better the camera will perform. You’ll be able to get amazing shots with lower-quality cameras as well.
Continuous lighting also makes smartphone videos look a lot better. So, I’d suggest getting a few lights before you invest in a fancy camera.
When you look at buying LED panel lights, make sure that you get ones that have brightness adjustment options. This is the most important thing to have control over when setting up a lighting rig, and brightness control is one of the main benefits of using LED panels. However, I’ve seen a few that don’t have this. Stay away from those!
If you don’t have brightness adjustment options, you’ll need to make use of sheets to place in front of the lights to lower the intensity when needed. It’s an unnecessary task when you could just buy panels that have a lower brightness function.
You sometimes need to lower the brightness of lights to stop them from causing reflections and shiny parts around your kit. If you do talking videos to support your drumming videos, you’ll definitely need to adjust the brightness settings so that your face doesn’t look shiny.
Another feature to look out for is temperature control. Some LED panels allow you to adjust the temperature between warm and cool. I love this feature as it allows you to both make your videos look natural and get a visual setting that is unique to you.
If all your lights are cool, your video may look like it’s being shot in a hospital. If all the lights are warm, you may upset the white balance, and your skin will look too orange. You can change the white balance within the settings of your camera but getting a natural look before even filming is the best way of avoiding that.
Apart from temperature options, you also get lights that can change colors. These are called RGB lights, and they’re amazing for getting unique color setups around your kit. You don’t need to get these if you don’t want them, but they allow you to create a highly personalized background.
While we’re mainly going to focus on the LED lights themselves, the parts that come with them are just as important, especially when setting them up around a drum set.
If you buy an LED panel light on its own, you’re not going to be able to set it up in an appropriate way. The panels need to sit on tripods so that you can position them around your kit. Some LED packages come with tripods for the lights, while others don’t. Make sure to check that out before buying them.
Most LED panels have the option of being battery-powered or running from a power source. I don’t suggest using battery-powered panels for drumming, though. I’ve tried this a few times in the past, and the batteries have run dry at the most inconvenient times. It’s better to use cables to ensure that the lights don’t go off. You’ll just need to manage the cables neatly around your drum set. Some panels come with batteries, and some require you to purchase them separately.
You’ll need to think about how much money you’re willing to spend on lighting. I used to disregard lights as I didn’t realize how much of a difference they made. If I could go back to my first LED purchase, I’d stop myself from buying the cheapest lights possible and wait a while until I could get something bigger, better, and brighter.
Expect to pay between $100 and $400 for a good LED panel pack. You can easily spend more, but I wouldn’t suggest doing that if you’re not a professional videographer.
All the products that I’ve suggested below have very intentional reasons. There are so many LED lights available that you could spend months searching through all of them. I’ve narrowed that down to a few simple options from brands that I know and trust. These may not be the best LED lights in the world, but they’re ones that I know work wonderfully for drummers.
They cover a few different budget ranges, so pick whichever one falls under yours. Whichever lights you choose, know that they’re going to serve you very well, especially if you’re planning to make drumming videos.
Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED
These Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED panels are some of the most affordable decent lights that I know of. This pack comes with two of them along with tripod stands to mount them on. They also have brightness and temperature customization along with two battery slots on each panel.
My favorite thing about these panels is their incredible build quality. Although they’re inexpensive, they’re built to last. You could invest in these and then not worry about getting new lights for years if you don’t need them.
Another great feature of the panels is the U-brackets that they sit on. They allow you to tilt the lights very easily to get angles that you may not be able to achieve with lights that simply sit on a lever mechanism.
The big downside of these panels is that the included cables are quite short. This can get very annoying when trying to place them around your kit. The solution to this would be to either use batteries or buy new power supply cables that are longer.
- Very affordable
- U-brackets allow easy angle adjustment
- Very high build quality
- The lights don’t generate too much heat over time
- Short cables
- Only two lights included in the pack
GVM 800D LED Video Lighting Kit
If you want a fantastic 3-point lighting setup and your budget is a bit bigger, the GVM 800D LED Video Lighting Kit is my top suggestion. These lights have a much higher output, and they’re packed with features.
Even though they’re higher powered than the previous lights, they’re still compact enough to fit in a small drumming studio or practice space. Included in the set are three lights with barn doors, diffuser sheets, and sturdy tripods to hold them.
Something unique about these lights is that they have an RGB output feature, which allows you to get varying colors. This makes them great for getting certain colorful atmospheres if you like that sort of thing.
My favorite thing about these lights is that there is an app that you can use to control them. This is an amazing aspect for drummers since you can change how the lights are without getting up from your drum throne. You can also change them while standing at your camera and trying to get a good shot.
- High-quality pack of three LED panels
- Colorful RGB light capabilities
- You can control the lights with an app on your phone
- Sturdy designs
I’m suggesting the Godox SL-60W light here as an alternative to square panels. It’s also an LED light, but it has a build structure that makes directing light a lot more focused and intentional. If you’re in a very small space, a light like this will work incredibly well.
You get clear temperature control and brightness settings, and the overall build quality of the light is very sturdy and durable.
My suggestion here is just to have one of these. It’s a great light for illuminating your subject, while the panel lights above can be used as the other lights. Getting one of these and a 2-pack of panels will allow you to achieve a 3-point setup around your set.
Unfortunately, this light doesn’t come with a tripod, so you’ll need to buy one of those to come with it.
- Great light for highlighting a certain spot on your kit
- Excellent build quality
- Good supplemental light to buy along with a 2-pack of LED panels
- No tripod included when buying the light
DF DIGITALFOTO Chameleon RGB Tube Light
The Chameleon RGB Tube Light is my top suggestion if you’re just looking for lights for aesthetic purposes. This is a long light strip that can show whatever color you choose to show using the phone app to control it.
My suggestion is to get a few of these to place around your drum set. A very common setup for these is placing them standing up behind your throne. You’ll see several YouTube drum cover drummers using that kind of layout.
While these will make your drum videos look cool, they’ll also make your drum room look amazing without any videos being filmed.
Just note that they won’t give the same benefits that LED panel lights will. You’ll still need to use panels along with these if you want to make high-quality drumming videos.
- Fantastic lights for getting an incredible background
- Can be controlled with a phone app
- Last quite long when running on batteries
- Very expensive
Answer: Drum sets are large and take up a lot of space in a room. If you’re planning to make drum videos, you’ll need to use drum microphones to get great sound. This means that even more space will be taken up by microphone stands and cables. LED panel lights are quite small, making them ideal for a drum kit setup that is already quite cluttered.
If you use larger lights, such as softboxes, you’re going to struggle to fit everything comfortably in your practice room, especially if it’s a small space. Another benefit of LED panels is that they’re very easy to move around, so you can try out different lighting setups with quick adjustments to positioning.
Answer: Since drum sets are large, you need to have enough light to brighten up the whole kit as well as your body. The best way to do this is to have a 3-point lighting setup. You’ll use a key light, back light, and fill light and position them around the kit to make it look natural.
You may find that your cymbals cause shadows, so you’ll need to navigate the lights to get the least number of shadows possible. The bigger your lights are, the easier this will be. Also, having a large light directly above your drum kit helps a lot. You could use a fourth light for that that is separate from the 3-point lighting configuration.
Answer: Yes. Some cameras perform a lot better in low-light settings than others. You’ll typically find that higher-end cameras allow you to get crisper settings without boosting the ISO to brighten up the shot. This keeps the noise down on your videos, meaning there isn’t any grain.
However, it’s important to have continuous lighting even if you’re using a high-end camera. Dedicated lights add intention to your shots, and they make your videos pop more and look high-quality.
If you have a camera that doesn’t work well with minimal lighting, consider buying a higher-quality lens to use. You can only do this if your camera has the ability to switch lenses.
Answer: There are several skills to learn that will allow you to make amazing drum videos. Firstly, you should be a proficient drummer. Work on improving your playing skills before focusing on the following aspects. When you’re confident enough to record yourself, you’ll need to learn how to use drum microphones and learn mixing skills to get a great sound.
After that, you’ll need to know how to work a camera. Cameras have a steep learning curve but understanding the basics of the aperture triangle is the best place to start. You’ll also need to know how to work lighting to get the best pictures out of the camera.
Finally, you’ll need to put everything together using video editing software. Video editing is another skill, but you don’t need to do any film-like editing for drum videos if you don’t want to.
Answer: The top platforms for drummers are Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Twitter doesn’t push videos as they do, and drummers tend to shy away from Facebook. While Instagram and TikTok are great for shorter videos, YouTube is the best place to post long drumming videos.
I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to choose which LED lights to get for drumming than it is to choose drums or cymbals. All LED lights do the same thing, so it’s better not to think too much about it unless you’re a professional videographer needing the best gear and features.
You’ll be perfectly happy with some lights that cost less than $400, so I suggest you stick to finding ones in that range. Check out the ones I suggested, as they’re all amazing options. Just remember that you’re going to need to learn how to work the lighting along with camera settings to get the best video quality possible.
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