With more and more people working from home, video conferencing is more popular than ever.
If you’re new to Zoom and Teams or perhaps feel like upgrading your current web meeting setup, here are a few things you can do to look good at your next web conference!
Invest in a good webcam
You may think about using the built-in webcam on your laptop, but generally, these aren’t the best quality.
If you shop around and find yourself a webcam with a decent image resolution of at least 720p (that means 720 lines of resolution, HD is 1080 lines if you’re interested…), and one that can ideally record in at least 60 frames per second. TV is broadcast at 25 frames per second, but having a higher frame rate gives your broadcast a smoother, more natural look.
A good place to start is with Logitech. They have some decent options to choose from with prices starting from around £20.
Get a USB microphone
Sound is one of the most overlooked aspects of video production; good sound design and a properly mixed soundtrack can have a huge effect on the impact of your video. Web meetings are no different.
Most laptops will have an inbuilt microphone, but the sound quality will be pretty poor.
As with the webcam, you don’t need to spend much money to get a good-quality USB mic. Rode have a decent podcasting mic in the Rode NT-USB. That’s what we use, and it’s perfect for recording voiceovers too, so definitely worth a look.
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Set the tone of your background
Consider what attendees will see behind you when you’re on a Zoom call.
It’s always best to broadcast in front of a plain wall that’s a sensible, non-offensive colour. But, if it’s your home office you may never have had to “let anyone in” before, so few organise their layouts in such a way. Whatever you have around you on your shelves, bookcases, and tables, make sure it’s suitable for viewing. That offensive cartoon you’ve had framed on your back wall? Maybe think about moving that somewhere else…!
Try and avoid sitting in front of a window that’s going to let in too much natural light and wash out the image on the webcam. If possible, make sure you’re sitting in front of as plain a background as possible. Check the webcam image before you go live, and make sure you consider it acceptable.
4. Test it out with a dry run
Nobody ever learned to make perfect webcam videos or presentations the very first time they did it. Get your equipment ready ahead of time and do a few “dry runs” to see how you look, how the webcam looks, and to test your settings. If possible, record yourself for a while and listen back to test the volume levels and mic sound quality. Most apps will allow you to perform test calls as well so you can easily see how you’re performing.
This is a time for you to adjust the settings on your webcam to suit yourself. You might want to adjust the brightness levels, the contrast, alter the resolution to ensure a smooth image, and more. Get yourself as familiar as possible with your webcam and how it works.
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5. Dress for the occasion
It’s often said that you can do a video conference in a nice shirt and sweatpants/your underwear, and technically that’s true – and you may feel comfortable doing that! If it’s your first time broadcasting from home, however, it’s unlikely that’s going to make you comfortable. So dress like you would if you were going to be meeting these people face to face, as it will help bring a degree of familiarity to the proceedings.
You’re at home, so nobody is going to expect you to be wearing a full business suit, as that will just come off as forced and insincere. Go for a comfortable, but smart, shirt or blouse combined with a pair of neat slacks. You can change back into your pyjamas after you’ve finished!
Get started today
Using these simple tips you can make sure you’re as comfortable as possible when recording webcam videos and presentations, or when you have to do a video conference/virtual interview. With a few easy steps, you can make it as hassle-free for yourself as possible – but most importantly, get started and give it a try!