Quarantines and lockdowns all around the globe have us working online and relying on video conferences and virtual meetings to get most work done. Sitting in front of a webcam for hours is now the new norm, with apps such as Zoom, Skype, etc., having taken over most of our daily lives. Many are now wondering how to improve the quality of their video calls and to look as good on the Internet as they do in real life. Whether you’re a student wanting to improve your online classroom video calls or a businessman wanting to look good on camera, these tips will help you improve your video calls’ quality.
The most important factor for any video, be it a casual or professional one, is the lighting. In a video call you need to make sure your face is well-lit. If you’re sitting in front of a window or in front of a light source, your face will be back-lit, meaning that your face will be dark and the background/surroundings will be completely white.
However, if you keep the natural light coming from a window ahead of you and position yourself in front of a light source, your face and features will be much more complemented – you can see the difference below for yourself:
Try to position yourself near a light source. The best option for this is a window with natural light coming in, but any other lamp/light source will work. I personally like to place a video call from my laptop sitting in front of my monitor – the soft, white light from my monitor helps improve the quality of my video calls.
Make sure whichever light source you choose is either positioned at an angle directly in front of you or above you. If you place a light source at a lower position, your video call may look like a horror movie.
Another very important factor to keep in mind is the background you’re displaying to the people on the other end on the call. It’s better to have a plain clean background. Having a background cluttered with things can really distract others. This may not be an issue if it’s a personal call, but if you’re in a business meeting or taking an online class, you should convey that in your background.
We discussed having the correct lighting angle for your video call, and having a correct camera angle is just as important. A camera should always be placed at eye-level or slightly above that. This will be the norm for those working on a table, but if calling from another place, make sure you set the angle properly. You don’t want to position your camera so high that you need to look above it, nor do you want to place it so low that everyone can see the inside of nostrils, or your double-chin. Always keep the camera at eye level.
With any online important activity, having a good Internet connection is crucial to making an online video call. Have at least a 1 to 2 Mbps connection, otherwise you may encounter frequent lag and may not be able to see/hear/understand the other person. We also recommend doing a trial run before joining an actual meeting. Have a backup network and backup equipment nearby to use in the event something goes wrong. (Yes, things always go wrong when you least expect them to.)
Eye Contact, Posture and Attitude
As in any conversation, eye contact, posture and attitude make an instrumental difference in a video call. When talking to someone, make sure you are looking directly into the camera instead of onto your own face on the screen. We recommend just checking your own image once before the call and then closing it altogether, as it can be a distraction for many. Looking directly at the camera makes people feel you are looking directly at them and lets them see you as trustworthy and confident.
Similarly, posture and attitude are of a lot of importance too. Sitting up straight and attentive makes you look way better than slouching on your chair, which may make people think of you as unmotivated and lazy.
The way you look always reflects on your personality, and this is no different when it comes to a video call. Depending on the type of video call, dress appropriately from head to toe – you don’t want to be looking like the following image in a call.
Consider the background color of your video call before choosing out clothes so that you don’t blend in. Another important tip is to try to avoid shirts with small patterns or repetitive detailing. This causes an effect known as Moiré effect and causes a distraction pattern on camera.
That’s it. Using the tips mentioned above, you’ll be able to improve the quality of your video calls. More than anything, always be confident and prepared, as it’ll help you survive any video call. If you are using Zoom, don’t forget to use some of its features for having a better remote meeting.
Image credit: Handsome smiling businessman waving by DepositPhotos