Video conference calls…
In 2020, we’ve all had to learn how to use them.
Maybe to chat to clients, talk with your team, make some sales, teach students or even to interview for a new job.
We know how the software works, but now we need to learn how to make it look good.
We don’t want fuzzy, low light ‘handy cam’ footage. We want professional shots that help us stand out from the crowd.
Well let’s be honest… remote is here to stay. Even as we move back into work, 82% of employees want to be able to stay working from home.
This means that video calls will become the new norm.
If you want to get that promotion, make that sale or close that interview, then you need to up your game.
And so that’s what we’re going to cover in this guide.
A step-by-step walkthrough using the EXACT same techniques and principles that Hollywood uses for cinematic interviews.
All so that your webcam can go from looking like this…
To looking like this:
The best part?
Most of the improvements come from just a few small tweaks, and without the need for a degree in photography.
So here the what we’re going to cover:
- How to set up your camera so you look great. Everything from angles, location and how best to frame your face so you look like an authority.
- How to improve your lighting so your camera works better and you pop off the screen.
- And how to up your audio, so people hang off your every word.
So let’s get into it…
Step #1: Improve Your Shot
It doesn’t matter if you’re recording an interview, filming a blockbuster or just sitting down to get on a Skype call. The first thing you should always think of is your filming location.
It can make a huge difference to the aesthetic and presentation, and all it takes is a little bit of shuffling your room around.
So let’s walk you through an example.
Often it’s not about what you WANT in the shot, but what you CAN’T HAVE in the shot without ruining it.
Ideally you want a space with good light and some distance between the camera, you, and the back wall.
This can create this blurred effect that gives the shot depth.
But because we don’t always have access to the best space, it’s more about making the best of the situation.
So start off by ‘scouting’ your room, and looking for what you DON’T want in the shot.
Head over to where you normally would chat on a video call, and look at the room.
How is it laid out?
Look at each wall and try to think which would be the best ‘background’ for your shot.
Clutter is not a big deal as we can usually move most of it out the way.
Instead you’re looking for more permanent features that can make the shot look bad.
So here’s an example
This is my office at home (aka the downstairs storage space)
I went ahead and took a quick pic of each wall so you can get an idea of how we would scout this room for the best video call location.
Now originally I had my desk up against the back + right wall like so:
This was great for work, but not the best for recording videos or jumping on podcasts.
Well if we look at the background of where I have the desk, it’s a bit of a mess:
I get good natural light from the window next to me, but I can’t always control how bright it is.
Some days are overcast and worse?
It’s the ground floor where the delivery guy drops off, so he will often knock on the window when I’m sitting there.
(Not great mid call right?)
I also have some clutter just over my shoulder, there’s a garage door just behind me, and you can also see the corner of the wall causing shadow.
This position is not great so let’s go clockwise around the rest of the room, and see if we can find a better spot.
Facing the window (Back to the cupboard)
Ok so if we rotate right, then we would be facing the window, and get some fairly good light on our face.
Not only that, but the room is longer from this direction.
This creates a good ‘depth of field’ behind us, which can help to make the video look more interesting as the background fades back.
This is better than the original location, but it’s still not the best choice.
Well we have some broken cupboard doors behind us (on the to do list), and another door that leads to the rest of the house.
Why care about this door?
Well it means that anyone could not only walk in, but walk straight into the shot.
(I actually had this happen to me while being a guest on a video podcast.
We had rented an office above some shops in the centre of town. A tourist thought our office was a shop, and wandered in and started going through the books on the shelves behind us while we were recording…)
Everyone is at home right now so it’s not the worst thing that can happen, but if we can plan for it today, then it won’t be an issue in the future.
So let’s carry on around the room.
Facing the back wall (With front wall behind us)
Spoiler alert but this is the best location.
Because all we have behind us is just a blank wall.
All the other distractions are just out of shot.
The door is off to the side and out of the way, as are the cupboards, and the window is out of shot but can provide light when working.
It’s not the deepest background, BUT it doesn’t have any features that we definitely don’t want in the shot.
(We can also make it look deeper with some ‘set decoration’ and some camera tricks)
So now that we’ve found the best spot with what we don’t want removed, all we have to do is move the room around like so…
The camera is in the best location, so now let’s look at how to frame the shot.
Step #2: Camera Position + Framing
Most internal webcams suck.
Either the quality is bad or they are built into your laptop at a weird position.
This means that when you jump on a call, the other person is usually greeted with this…
Those poor people!
Not only is it unflattering for you, but you look like some giant towering over them.
Believe it or not, but eyeline is important.
Having the camera below your eyes (even a little) can give the illusion of dominance and authority.
It feels like you’re taller than them and looking down.
Likewise if the camera is below your eye line, then it can give the illusion of submission, or frailty.
So where should you put your camera then?
The best location is to have the camera just slightly above your eye level.
This will help you look directly into the camera so you can connect with the other person, and can also help remove any double chins that low angles can cause.
If you’re using a laptop then simply raise it up on some books to bring the camera in line with your eyes.
You can do the same with an external cam, or even use a cheap tripod to raise it up.
Just make sure that the tripod is tall enough to raise the camera to your eyeline first before you buy!)
Once you have the camera setup, it’s time to ‘frame’ yourself in the image.
Rather than just record your entire room behind you, you want to centre your face in the middle of the shot.
You need to zoom in until you have around a fists distance of space above your head and the top of the shot, and some distance either side of your shoulders and the side of the frame.
There are 2 ways to do this, depending on how good your camera is:
‘Expensive’ Camera Method:
If you have a fairly good camera, then you can try that blurred background effect.
Simply move the camera as far away from your face as possible, and then zoom in and focus on your face.
This will create that background blur effect that we talked about earlier, and can really stand out.
Cheap Camera Method
If you have a cheap camera, then zooming in like this will cause your image to get all grainy or blurred.
(The focus is fine, it’s just the camera struggling to function with less light on the sensor as it’s zoomed in.)
And so a way to work around this is to simply zoom the camera out, and then bring it closer to your face manually.
You can see the difference below
So now you have the position of the camera set up, let’s walk you through how to make it look and perform even better.
Step #3: Improve Your Lighting
Ready to have your mind blown?…
Understanding and using lighting properly is the biggest way to improve your photos.
No joke, but good lighting and a cheap camera will often produce a far better picture than a great camera and poor lighting.
Take the image below.
This shot is with the exact same £40 camera, but with different lighting.
So why does it look so much better?
It’s all to do with how your camera works, and how light shapes the face.
So let’s break it down.
Every camera has a sensor inside of it. Cheap cameras have small ones, better cameras have larger ones.
The bigger the sensor, the more light it can ‘absorb’, and the better it can perform.
As you can see, the difference in sensor quality is huge. (A DSLR camera sensor is more than 57x bigger than your laptop’s sensor!)
But that’s not the main problem.
The issue is that most of our houses have pretty poor lighting for photography. It’s enough to do our daily tasks, but it doesn’t give enough light for the camera to work its best, and so it struggles.
Your cameras have built in features to work around this, but by having it work in lower light can cause the camera to struggle or produce grainy photos and video.
The more light we can give the camera, the better it can perform.
It’s not just the strength of the light that affects the quality though, it’s also the position of it.
Where the light is in relation to the camera and your face, will drastically change the quality of the image.
If all we use are house lights, then they are usually overhead.
Having the light pointing down can cause long shadows on our face, hiding our eyes.
Not great right?
The other option we often use is either a desk lamp in front of us, or to just let the computer screen light up our face.
This can cause a ‘flat light’ effect.
This kind of lighting starts to flatten our features, and is not the most dramatic.
Most computer screens give off a blue or green light, causing our image colours to be all washed out or tinted.
The camera picks up on this green light and tries to accommodate for it, often making other colours look weird.
That’s what was happening in that before and after shot earlier.
The top image is brightly light, but it’s a cold blue, flat light.
The bottom image is using a ‘warmer’ light, designed to replicate daylight.
Not only that, but we’re using a 3 point lighting system to both shape the face, and pop out from the background of the shot.
(Notice how the first image almost looks like my back is against the wall, but the 2nd is clearly further away?)
So What Is 3 Point Lighting?
3 point lighting is where you use 3 different lights (or sources of light) to illuminate a subject.
In this example we have:
- A keylight or main light for the face.
- A backlight to help separate the background and me.
- And a fill light to help fill in some of the shadow on the other side of my face.
(Notice how I’ve also removed all other light from the room, by turning off the wall lights and closing the curtains. This way I can control the light each time)
So let’s look at how this works with this photo.
The Key Light or Main Light
The key lights goal is to illuminate one side of my face, while leaving the other slightly in shadow.
Why do this?
To create some depth to the face so you can make out my features and jawline.
See how much better it looks compared to that flat light before?
It’s not perfect, but it’s already better.
The keylight is set up at around 40 degrees away from the camera. To help visualize, if you imagine a clock face then the camera is at 12, and the key light is at 2.
I then moved the light close to my face to give a soft light, and it’s raised up just above my eyeline, to help create a slimming effect.
Not only that, but it’s also close enough to give what’s called a ‘catchlight’.
All this means is that the light source is reflected off my eyes, causing a shine or sparkle that can attract people’s attention.
Once that’s set up, it’s time for the fill light.
When setting up lights, it’s always best to do them one at a time and see how they work on their own first.
The Fill Light
The fill light is designed to help lighten up some of the shadows on the shadow side of the face.
We don’t want it fully lit up, as we can lose some of that contrast. We simply want to ‘fill’ out the light a little.
The fill light is positioned at 40 degrees away from the camera in the opposite direction.
If we think of the clock again then the fill light is at 10, the camera is at 12, and the key light is at 2.
You don’t always have to use a light here- in fact some white card or even a mirror can help reflect some of the light back onto you.
I just like using a light because I can control how bright it is with a dimmer switch.
It may not seem like the shot has changed much, until we compare the image with the 2 lights vs just the key light.
See the difference?
Once you’ve finished adding in that fill light, it’s time to set up the back light…
The Back Light
Sometimes referred to as the back light, rim light or hairlight. It’s positioned directly opposite the key light, but out of shot.
(If the keylight is at 2pm, then this is at 7 or 8pm)
This light is used to light up the back of the subject so that they ‘pop out’ from the background of the shot. It has 3 names but it mainly refers to where you are aiming to get the light to show.
On the back so the shoulders pop out, or the hairline or to the side or ‘rim’.
It all depends on preference and can be above, below or level with the subject.
Believe it or not, but the backlight is almost more important than the fill light as it helps create that depth of field.
If we look at the shot with the final light, you can notice the difference.
Notice the difference?
The colours are far better, and you can tell that I’m away from the wall.
You would think I had an expensive camera but it’s just the same one.
Finally lets talk about background lighting…
Optional 4th Point of light- The Background Light
Remember that we want to try and make our image look as if it has depth, as it’s more dramatic.
So what can we do to achieve this?
Well we can either add in a 4th light to shine on the background, or we can add in some practical lights to help give the background a little more interest.
If you’re in a smaller room, your key light may spill over and light some of the background anyways. If that’s the case then you can use some practical lights to help set the scene instead.
(More on this in a second)
The main thing is to make sure that the light is brightest on you (the subject) and darker in the background.
We don’t want it pitch black behind us, but by focusing the light on you, it will help the camera pick you up easier.
So what lights should you get for your videos?
I’m using 2 elgato key lights for our shot, and then a cheap ring light for a fill.
These are LED lights that can replicate daylight colours and give a natural glow.
They are cheap compared to professional photography lights, but can set you back around $200 each.
Truth be told, any LED light that is ‘daylight’ set (bulbs between 4500-4000k) will do fine- especially if you can adjust the brightness.
You can grab others for around $40-$70 on Amazon etc.
Good LED lights are also great for streaming or Youtube recordings, and so are a great investment if you plan to record content in the future.
So now we have the lighting set up, let’s look at making that image pop even more…
Step #4: Add Set Decoration
Time for a little more rearranging.
The goal here is to help bring interest to the background of your shot, while also helping to bring focus on your face.
You can do this by adding in plants, bookshelves or anything that you have lying around.
(Just make sure not to have plants directly behind the head if possible.)
The main things to keep in mind are:
- Is this background relevant to my video or call and what I’m talking about?
- Does it help build authority?
- Does it distract or bring focus on me?
If you look at our image, I added in a new bookshelf and then some tall plants on the original low shelf.
I could have used other things I’m passionate about. A snowboard or surfboard to help show my interests, but here’s the thing. They are not relevant to what I talk about, or the content that I create.
I write articles for a living and so I have books behind me that are on my profession.
This helps to keep the theme and also builds authority.
The viewer will see the backdrop and think:
“Oh wow he must be smart if he’s read all those books, and some of those are really hard to find” etc
I then positioned this set decoration to help frame me in the shot, and draw attention to my eyeline.
(Notice how the background is still slightly dark though, so that the main light is on me. This helps the camera focus etc)
So now we’ve looked at framing and lighting, let’s look at how to improve your shot even further.
Step #5: Improving the shot
There are 2 main ways to get more from your image or video.
- You can tweak the internal settings on the camera to improve the image.
- Or you can upgrade your camera for a better option.
Lets walk you through these tweaks, and look at 4 different camera options.
Improving the settings.
Ok so let’s start with the obvious and work our way down.
The first step is to clean the lens!
Do your shots look blurry? You’ll be surprised at just how many fingerprints and dust particles can be stuck on there, so give it a clean.
You can simply blow on the lens to remove any dust, and if you notice any smears then can use a microfiber cloth to wipe it clean.
Just be sure not to touch the lens with your bare fingers, as your skin’s natural oils can damage it.
Update your software.
It may seem silly but the more recent the software for your camera (or conference app), the better it performs.
Maybe they upgrade a few settings or improve how the camera picks up the signal. Either way, make sure you have the latest drivers and software installed.
Have a quick google for your ‘camera + drivers’, and then see if you have the latest version.
Turn off auto settings!
Most webcams have auto settings turned on. The issue here is that not only do they make the camera work harder, but they can also make the image worse.
You only have to move slightly and the image changes focus and the colours all tweak as it tries to keep adapting.
So make sure to turn off any auto settings that you have for your camera.
That includes the focus and white balance, as we can set that manually for a better performance.
You can find these camera settings in the hardware section of your computer’s control panel.
If you want to take it to the next level then you can run your camera feed through streaming software, and then fine adjust it there. More on this in a second…
Fix The Flicker
Is your camera flickering sometimes?
Ironically it’s nothing to do with the quality of the camera, but to do with the electricity where you live, and LED lights…
To the naked eye an LED light looks like it’s permanently on, but in reality it’s actually flickering on and off faster than we can notice.
The issue of course is that our camera picks up on this, and that’s where we get that flicker effect.
So how do we fix it, and what does it have to do with electricity?
What we need to do is sync that flickering with the camera’s frame rate (How many images it takes per second)
Without getting too technical, we need to adjust the frame rate of the camera, to fit the Hz frequency that your country uses to deliver electricity.
In the US electricity is delivered at 60hz, whereas Europe and other countries are set to 50hz.
The goal is to have the correct Hz setting set for your country, and then adjust the frame rate of your camera so that it is a direct multiple or division of that number.
In simple terms- if you’re in the US using 60hz then you could run at a frame rate of 30fps, 60fps or even 120fps.
(As each of those are a whole multiplication or division of 60)
Whereas in Europe your electricity is at 50Hz, and so your frame rate needs to be set to 25fps to match.
By doing this, the camera and lights should be in sync and not see flicker on the screen.
Sure it’s much slower FPS, but for a stationary shot like you’ll be doing it’s fine. (Almost all tv shows are shot at 25 fps also)
Again you can find these adjustments sometimes in your camera settings of your control panel, or if you run through a 3rd party tool to control your camera.
Here I’m using some free streaming software called Logi Capture, as I use a logitech external webcam.
This allows me to set my camera settings and save them, and then use that as an option during a video conference call on other platforms.
I can just select it as the camera feed, and then fine control it on the streaming platform.
I can zoom, pan, adjust colours etc.
As for the flicker settings, because I’m over in New Zealand I have it set to 50hz and 25 fps.
(The UK would be similar)
Logi Capture is great if you don’t need or want to get too technical.
But if you really want to dive deep and get the most from your image, then you can combine Logi Capture with another tool called OBS or ‘Open Broadcaster Software’.
OBS is another free streaming platform that the pros and even tv networks use.
So why use both?
By adding in OBS also, we can really add some extra panache to our images and video.
Not only that, but we can save ourselves a lot of heartache.
Well when you manually change the image properties for your camera in your control panel, it doesn’t always save.
You might turn off your laptop, and then come back the next day to find that all your image settings are reset. But by creating a free account and then saving your settings in Logicapture, you can simply turn it on and reuse them again and again.
Better still, you can then import those settings into OBS and tweak it even further, by adding ‘instagram’ type filters onto your video.
More on that in just a second…
Set/Reset The Focus
Now because you turned off all the auto settings for your cam, your photo may need to be re-focused slightly.
This is easily done by adjusting the sliding bar in Logi Capture, or tweaking it in your properties settings.
Adjust The White Balance
The last thing that you want are weird colours in your shot.
When your camera uses the auto white balance, it can be a little too blue, or too red.
(It picks up a dominant colour in your shot and then balances things around that)
This doesn’t always give the right colours, and so that’s why you’re going to manually tweak it.
The easiest way is to hold something white up to the camera, and then slide the scale until the colour on the screen for that paper, is the same as how your eye sees it.
Once you’ve sorted your image colours, you can tweak your brightness + contrast
Adjust The Brightness + Contrast.
Now you may not need to do this, as it’s more for your own personal preference.
I like to bring up my brightness a little bit, and then add a little more contrast to my shot. This can help for any flaws in my lighting technique.
This is not a replacement for good lighting, it’s more of a fine tuning tool.
You can’t get as good an image with no lights and just tweaking your settings!
Adjust The Sharpness
Finally you can also tweak the sharpness of your image.
I don’t recommend moving this more than 10 in either direction. Too low a number and your image will be blurry, too high and it gets grainy.
My goal is to try and tweak it ever so slightly to get my eyes to pop a little more.
(The more expensive the camera, the finer you can do this)
So once I have the image all set up, I can then head over to OBS and tweak it a little more…
Adding final tweaks with OBS
Alright so let’s show you how to take that final image and make it even better.
(Annoyingly the screenshot doesn’t do this image justice- it looked amazing through the camera feed)
It’s going to seem a little complicated to set this up, but it’s actually very easy to do.
Start off by keeping Logi Capture open, and your webcam running through it with your saved settings.
Then go ahead and download OBS, and open it up.
The UI is a little confusing so I’ll walk you through it. Right now it’s just a grey screen.
Go ahead and click on the + sign to add a new source.
Then select ‘Video Capture Device’.
A box will pop up, asking you to name this new source. Give it a name that you will recognise.
Once you’ve named it, click ok and some new options will load up.
Go ahead and click on the ‘Device’ option, and then choose ‘Logi Capture.
(This will only work if LogiCapture is up and running already with your camera selected and your settings saved from earlier.)
Click on it and you’ll notice a small camera feed appear in the top left corner.
We want to change the settings so that this feed fits the screen correctly.
Click on ‘Custom’ and then choose 1920 x1080.
(This is the image size for most HD cameras)
Once you’ve done that, you just need to adjust a few settings.
Set the FPS to ‘Match Output FPS’. This will then make sure that your anti-flicker settings from earlier still work.
Then select ‘Full’ from the colour range. This will allow your camera to use its full colour capabilities.
Finally click OK.
So right now your camera feed is a direct copy of what you set up on LogiCapture.
We want to improve it by adding a filter or ‘LUT’.
(They sound complex but all they are, are filters to help edit your image- just like you might use on Instagram)
You can make your own or you can even grab them for free from some design sites.
(I grabbed 30 of them from here)
So now that we have them downloaded, let’s head back over to OBS and show you how to use them.
Simply right click on your current camera source, and then select ‘filters’
There are a bunch of different filter types to choose from, but in this instance select ‘Apply LUT’
A new pop up will appear asking you to name this new LUT filter.
Give it a name and then click on the browse button to go find it on your computer. (Where it saved)
Simply find the folder and select one of the LUT’s to test it out.
(You can only upload them one at a time)
Choose one and then click ‘Open’
This will apply it to your video feed like so.
You can then tweak how strong the filter’s effect is with the blue bar.
Once you’ve decided on one you like, you simply click close for it to be applied.
Before we talk about camera upgrades, let me explain how to use this on your chosen video conferencing app.
How To Use OBS For Zoom And Other Video Conference Tools
To use this OBS camera you’re going to need to turn this feed into a ‘virtual camera’.
That way you can choose it as a camera source in Zoom, Skype, Simplyvideo or any other conference tool.
To do that you need to download the OBS virtual Cam plugin here.
Click download and then run the file so that it installs.
You may need to reload OBS, but when you do, you should see a new option in the tools section in the top menu called ‘Virtual Camera’.
Click on that and a new pop up will appear.
Select the ‘OBS camera’ option and then click start.
Now you’ll be able to use the OBS camera as a video feed in your video conference.
Simply select it from the menu like so:
So now you have that all set up and running, let’s talk cameras real quick.
Improving The Camera
As we know already, the better the camera, the larger the sensor, and the higher quality it can capture.
We also know that lighting and framing can make an almost 80% difference in the image quality, but sometimes you just want to up your game a little bit more.
So rather than you have to guess what to get, let’s talk about them real quick.
It sucks to hear but almost anything is better than the camera that comes built into your laptop.
They are limited by very small sensor sizes, and usually have very low functionality.
(I can’t even change most of the settings on mine)
That’s why I recommend you try to upgrade asap.
If you have a recent phone I would recommend using that, or buying a fairly cheap external cam like the logitech c290
Wait, I can use my phone as a webcam?…
It’s not the best option, but it’s probably better than the camera you have right now, simply due it having a larger sensor.
OBS actually have a paid app that you can use to connect your iPhone with them, called OBS Camera.
(You can also get free versions by other companies, but this seems to be the best. Heck you can even set up multiple phones for different camera angles and switch them around)
A word of warning though.
I would only use this if you have a recent model iPhone. I used mine with an older model (5s) and it was lower quality than the internal cam.
If you’re stuck, then it’s a great option
Grabbing an external cam
Logitech have some great options for external cams.
They have larger sensors for better quality, and even have a model that goes up to 4k resolution!
In fact, all my shots in this guide were using the $40 C920 model (other than the internal cam shot)
Here’s the thing though.
Due to covid and the rising demand, the prices have shot up.
If you’re going to spend $200+ on an external cam, you can get their new streaming cam, or even the Logitech Brio for $300 instead which is lightyears ahead of the c920.
(Just be sure to have a shop around, as I’ve seen them for ½ that price)
It’s still a great deal for the quality and the fact that we’re going to be more remote in the future, makes it a great investment.
That being said, if you’re going to drop some serious cash on a camera, then I recommend the Canon EOS M200.
(In the US it’s sometimes called the Canon Rebel)
These retail for around $1,000 NZD here, but they are a HUGE step up from an external cam.
Not only do they have a MUCH larger sensor (4x larger than the Logitech), but they also:
- Shoot in 4k HD,
- Have wifi connectivity,
- Won’t go to sleep mid call/video (Some DLSR’s will)
- And they connect as a webcam for FREE. (Most other companies need a $200 card to connect them to your laptop)
It’s the exact same camera that most large Youtubers use because it meets all the features you need, but without costing $5,000 like some other options.
So that’s it for cameras.
Whichever you choose, you will notice a serious upgrade with any new camera you go for.
But enough about the image. Lets talk about the most important feature when it comes to video…
Step #6: Improving The Audio
It seems crazy, but audio is actually more important than video.
Well if the video drops out, you want people to be able to hear you sure, but it’s more than that.
You see our eyes can pick up poor quality or blurry images far easier than our ears like to process distorted sounds.
A tinny mic, a reverb, feedback or white noise can all take our attention away quickly, and make a pro video setup seem bad.
Fortunately it’s not too hard to improve your audio.
- The closer your are to the mic, the better your sound quality.
- Don’t use the mic on your camera. You might be far away from them, and they are not always directional. This means they can also pick up the other person speaking or vibrations across your screen.
- Use a headset or lavalier mic, or go for a professional usb mic. These give the best connections and the best sound.
So here’s a few recommendations.
I actually use a gaming headset if I’m not on a video call.
- It’s a USB connection so it can fit anywhere. (I actually had to get them as my old headphones needed separate jacks for mic and voice with my pc)
- They are far more comfortable than regular models
- They are noise cancelling so I don’t hear other sounds
- And they have a built in mic, with a mute button that I can click at any time.
Better still, they are only $40!
The big thing with lav mics is that quality matters.
Well if you get a cheap mic, then it will usually pick up static on your clothes when you move.
That’s why I would go for anything by Rode or similar.
Or better yet?
Go for our next option…
USB Mic (with headphones)
If you want fantastic audio without background noise, then I highly recommend grabbing a ‘cardioid’ USB mic.
Well these mics are designed to only pick up audio in a specific direction. I.e the sound coming from your mouth.
This means you’ll cut down on noise from clicking keyboards, as well as come through crystal clear compared to other options.
It seems silly but the change in sound quality is amazing, and you’ll notice the listener being hooked on what you have to say- simply because of that ‘radio’ quality effect.
There are a heap of options out there. Personally I just use a cheap Audio technica, but you can’t go wrong with a Blue Yeti or even this Uhuru mic:
It’s got that cardioid directional audio control, it has an adjustable metal arm that connects to your desk, and it even has a pop filter to soften pop noises when you pronounce your ‘p’s’ on a call.
Not bad for £65 right?
So that’s it for audio.
Get a good mic and keep it close and you can’t go far wrong.
But let’s talk about one last aspect of your call…
Step #7: Improve Your Presentation
It would be such a shame to go to all this effort and then fail at the last hurdle.
So make sure to follow these last few steps.
About 30 minutes before your call, just do a quick set up test.
Make sure your lights and camera are in the right place and the softwares all working, and run a quick test.
You don’t want to have to mess around at the last minute or even during the call!
Then, make sure you’re wearing something that can help you, not hinder you.
I’m not talking about makeup or anything, but clothing can actually make a big deal.
Well subtle block colours can help keep the attention on your face, while wild shirts can draw it away from you.
(And after you spent all that time on the lighting for your face!)
Finally, make sure to look into the camera, and not at yourself…
It’s very easy to keep looking at yourself on the screen, but eye contact is vital.
So rather than look at your guest on your screen, look at your camera instead. This will then help them feel like you’re looking into their eyes, and builds trust and rapport.
So there you have it. Our complete guide to looking more professional in your video calls.
It’s everything that you need to know and do, to take your calls to the next level.