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With many people’s working day now incorporating digital meetings and webinars, here are a few tips about how to come across professionally and clearly in this new environment.
- Face the light
It’s a rookie mistake but it’s still common enough to be worth pointing out. If you sit with your back to the window your face will be in shadow.
Always be sure to sit facing the window or main light source in the room. Not only will your face appear brighter and sharper but the image will be less grainy. You’ll look much more professional and it’s far easier to get your message across if your audience can look you in the eye!
2. Position your camera at eye level
The natural angle of the webcam on your laptop is below your face looking up your nose. Needless to say this is pretty unflattering!
The simple solution is to set your laptop on a pile of books or a laptop stand to raise the camera to eye level.
If you’re on a desktop computer the webcam will be at a more flattering angle but it’s still worth checking and adjusting your seat accordingly.
Investing in a usb webcam like the Logitech C920 Hd Pro Webcam is worthwhile if you’re going to be doing a lot of video calls..
Not only is the image full HD but you can angle the head to frame your shot perfectly without moving your computer. You can also mount it on a tripod or stand to allow you to move it away from the computer.
3. Keep the camera stable
If you’re using your phone for meetings then going hand held will become tiring and your footage will be shaky.
A small desktop tripod like the iGadgitz 2 in 1 pistol grip is a cheap and easy solution. I find myself using this all the time now for video calls, my children’s online guitar lessons and just for watching videos.
The tripod is small so you should sit it on a high surface or on a pile of books for a more flattering angle. You can also angle the head to get the shot just right.
If you don’t have one of these you can make a tripod out of a toilet roll holder! Simply cut two slits in the holder and prop up your phone.
4. Check your background before you start
Most of don’t live in houses with impressive video backdrops. The standard family home is a bit of a clutter.
A video call isn’t a pro video shoot so don’t get too hung up on this. Just make sure it’s free of clutter, embarrassing personal items, or sensitive information you wouldn’t want made public.
Also try for a spot in the house where people are unlikely to walk past in the background. Sitting with your back to the wall will avoid this issue.
5. Make sure your voice is heard
When making a pre-packaged video I’d argue that an external microphone is an absolute must. For webinars and video meetings it’s less vital but good sound is still important.
Pick a quiet room free of background noise and sit close to your laptop or phone so the mic picks your voice up easily.
If you’re video conferencing software has a settings menu find the audio settings and boost the input levels to pick up your voice clearly.
Investing in a microphone might be worth it if you’re going to be doing a lot of this.
For all smartphone video work I always recommend the iRig Lav mic. It has a built in headphone splitter so it’s ideal for video calls as using the microphone automatically disables your phone speakers. Most conferencing apps will sense your microphone automatically but you might have to go into settings to specifically select it.
For your computer you need a USB mic. The Snowball USB Mic from Blue will give you quality sound. You can buy a cheaper mic but this is a good investment if you also plan to produce podcasts, record presentations, or do voiceovers for pre-recorded videos.