After more than a year of remote working, most of us probably think we’ve mastered the art of video call. But have we really? A quick glance at the evening news suggests that even seasoned presenters make rooky mistakes when it comes to Zoom and the like.
Here, our expert filmmakers share five key tips to make your video calls and recordings look professional.
The single most important thing for online teaching. Search online for a “USB desktop microphone” or “USB lapel/lavalier mic” – there are plenty of good ones for under £30, and they’ll make a huge difference to your video.
The camera should be positioned so the subject is looking straight on, not up or down. Use a stand or books to elevate your laptop or webcam. The subject’s face should be positioned so that their entire head is visible (i.e. do not cut off the scalp or chin), and the eyeline should be between half and two-thirds of the way up the screen.
Ensure your video settings on your preferred video conferencing platform are set to the highest possible levels (usually found on Preferences/Settings > Video). You can even choose to “Touch up your appearance” or “Change background”, depending on the chosen platform.
Important: If you are recording yourself, ensure you pin your video so the feed does not cut between participants.
Do not sit with a bright light source (e.g. a window) directly behind you – you will be silhouetted. Instead, you should be lit from front on. For a more interesting look, have one bright light source (e.g. a window) to the front and side of you (two o’clock), and another, slightly dimmer, light source to the front and other side (10 o’clock), or vice versa. Contrast is good, but stark contrast should be avoided; instead, you want graduated contrast.
A neatly composed background makes a big difference. Avoid blank walls, but also avoid clutter, which can be distracting. The more depth (i.e. distance between the subject and the background), the better. Use a few carefully selected props, such as plants, books and ornaments, to improve the aesthetic and provide depth and contrast. These items should be off to the side and as far back as possible – they should never be positioned directly behind the subject, such that they overlap.
If you want to make your videos look more professional, contact us. Studious have a dedicated team of animators, videographers and editors who can take your teaching to the next level. See more of our work here.
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