Living in lockdown is keeping us apart physically but we are catching up online more often. There are many times when you need to be on camera for business purposes so why not look professional and in control.
Given how often you need to be using Zoom meetings or Teams or some other variation of virtual meetings, it is worth ensuring you have a few of the fundamentals set up.
Most of these tips relate to using your laptop as the camera device. If you are planning on using your phone, then check out this video on tips when filming with your phone.
The camera lens at the top of the laptop needs to be at eye level. If you have your laptop on the desk, then the camera will tend to be looking up your nose, which is not a great angle.
So you’ll want to prop your laptop up so the lens is at the right height. You can do this with a few books or use some other tools like these:
This stand is handy if you want to type in bed or on the couch.
Avoid setting up with a window behind you. It can make you look like you are on a witness protection program. It is better to make use of the light coming in from the window to light you. This will provide a bright even light over your face. So face the window.
If you are in a room without windows or you are meeting after dark you will need some lighting solutions. Use the room light to light up the background.
Then use a couple of lights on either side to provide a wash over your face. A couple of these ring lights would work and if you (or your child) is a budding influencer you can set a phone up inside one of these.
There are plenty of other lighting options available. Putting at least two of them on each side of your desk pointing at your face is a good solution. Having lights that are dimmable is helpful.
The next consideration in your home studio is the background. Normally when filming I like to have depth in the background. That’s not always possible at home. Whatever you have as your background, be aware of what is showing behind you. Home is filled with personal items and not everything is suitable for business. Uncluttered backgrounds look better than a mess.
You are probably aware that on Zoom and Teams you can swap out the background. Sometimes this looks good, other times it can look very clunky. If you have a very clean background, such as a light coloured wall, the crop can be quite good.
This pop up green screen fits onto the back of your chair and enables a fairly clean crop. Make sure you have suitable lighting for you and the green screen.
As with all video, audio is critical. At home be aware of background noises – TV, vacuuming, kids screaming. Ideally you want to be in an enclosed room where you have some control of the environment. Carpeted floors help soften the bounce of sound.
Many people are using their phone airpods or other bluetooth headsets for the audio. These tend to work quite well, but are obvious in the shot. If you are looking for a more discrete solution a USB microphone can help. This kit includes a USB mic, a stand and a pop filter (it muffles the harsh P sounds).
If you are using your laptop as the camera then it should be fairly stable. If however you are holding the laptop or sitting with it on your lap then it can bounce around and will be distracting for the viewer.
If you are using your phone then ideally use a phone tripod holder that will stabilise the image of your presentation. Selfie sticks with a tripod stand are a viable option.
Remember to use your phone in landscape mode to maximise the screen image.
Depending on your setup you may end up needing to patch in an extra keyboard that you can easily get to if your computer is too high to access. Also an extra monitor comes in handy if you need to share or review content.
If you need a camera for your laptop or monitor then this is a good option.
Before you go live with the meeting, give yourself a few minutes and go to the preference settings on Zoom or Teams to check your video settings and the audio. You can access these settings before the meeting starts.
Good luck looking and sounding great at home. The better you present yourself, the more confidence people will have in what you are saying.
We have suggested the above equipment in good faith. Please shop around and find out what equipment will work best for you. We are not receiving any incentives to recommend any of this equipment and have no affiliations with these suppliers.