Some of us have been doing it for a while – this video chat thing. Others, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis and the need to set up our businesses to work from home, have been thrust suddenly into having to get on video conferences out of necessity or through an understanding that connecting with coworkers is more engaging if we can all look each other in the eye.
One thing you probably can’t help but notice is that sometimes your face on a webcam is somewhat less than flattering. Whether you’re a video conferencing veteran or newbie, there are likely some best practices that you have not considered which can, literally, help put you in a better light.
With that in mind, and help from popular video platform Wistia, here are some tips and tricks that should help significantly improve your appearance when using a webcam.
RAISE YOUR WEBCAM
Ideally, you want the lens of your webcam to be level with your eye line (or even slightly above it). Chances are you’ve got a stack of books around, or even an old box. Place your laptop on top, make some adjustments, and you should be good to go!
GIVE YOURSELF SOME HEADROOM
Position yourself about an arm’s length away from the screen, and make sure you leave a bit of space between the top of your hair and the top of the frame. In the video production world, this space is called “headroom.”
ALWAYS FACE YOUR LIGHT SOURCE
If you have an obvious light source near you (like a window), be sure to always keep it in front of you, not behind you. When introducing yourself to a new client, it’s best if you don’t look like a mysterious shadow with no eyes. But seriously, light is a beautiful thing. Use it to your advantage.
If you don’t have a window, or if you’re conferencing at night, don’t just rely on overhead lights. If you happen to have an external monitor, place it right behind your laptop, and use it as a light source – a white background or zooming in on a white image will work best.
REMOVE CLUTTER FROM BEHIND
This one seems intuitive, but it’s easy to forget. Home offices can get messy, and sometimes you might leave a dirty plate or glass on a table behind you. Don’t distract your audience with clutter in the frame – a quick cleanup can do wonders.
AUDIO IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS VIDEO
Audio can be tricky, especially if you’re in a larger open space. Try your best to distance yourself from any background noise. Of course, the other issue many of us are currently having to deal with: family at home making noise within earshot. If you truly can’t escape the brouhaha, then plug in some headphones with a built-in microphone. With the mic closer to your mouth, your voice should cut through the noise more clearly.
Natural light is soft and flattering. When positioned in front of you, such as in this image, it will limit shadows on your face and provide you with a good webcam image.
USING LIGHTS FROM YOUR HOME OFFICE
If you are going to use lights from your home office, ensure they are in front of you. If you only have one light that works, position it directly behind the webcam and focus it on your face.
IDEAL WEBCAM SET UP
By using a combination of natural light from the window and lights both on your left and right sides, you will have good coverage.
Finally, you may want to consider these webcams to crank up the production value of your next video conference a few more notches.