Being on camera isn't only for movie and TV personalities anymore. Whether you’re working at the office or from home there is a good chance that you’re spending some time in front of a camera. So, if it’s Teams, Zoom, or any other online video chat app, let’s go over some ways to ensure you look and sound your best.
If you happen to use Zoom, we have a handy post describing how to use certain Zoom Features. A lot of them deal with sounding and looking like a professional, so check it out! All the best video calling apps also have a lot of these features.
Hearing and sounding great
We may be a bit biased, but we think headsets are the absolute best way to sound good in video calls. They will help avoid any echoing sounds, background noise, and bypass the dreaded webcam microphones. A headset will make you sound your best, making it easier for everyone else to listen.
Headsets with noise-canceling microphones
When looking for a good video chat listening device, you should seek out a headset with a microphone. One of the more useful benefits of this is getting a noise-canceling mic, which isolates your voice from the rest of the sounds that may be happening around you.
Leitner also carries wired headsets! If you are looking for the classic office look, the Leitner LH255 will plug directly into your computer's USB port and work with any video meeting software you use. If you want some bigger earpads for extra comfort and sound dampening, the Leitner LH255XL is the wired USB headset for you and your video calls!
Another great wireless headset to use for noise-canceling will be the Sennheiser OfficeRunner. While it doesn't have ultra noise-canceling, it still does an amazing job at cleaning up your voice and keeping the distractions at bay.
Setting up your audio environment
Using a headset can get you pretty far in the audio department, but we still can't ignore the audio qualities of your workspace.
Firstly, it would be best to be in a quiet room. If you have a noise-canceling microphone this won't be quite as important, but will still help you sound your best. If there is a door to your room or office, close it to block out extra sounds that could distract you or the others on the call. No one wants to hear dogs barking or the dishwasher running while trying to conduct business.
If your workspace is in a wide-open area with not much to absorb the sound, you may encounter echoes. If at all possible, set up your office in a somewhat enclosed space with some furniture, carpet, or really anything that can disperse the sound waves bouncing around.
Get the most out of your internet connection
You also don't want to neglect a solid internet connection. As you may have noticed, if the internet isn't running smoothly, then neither will video calls when you try to play them over the network.
If your WIFI connection seems to be lagging, consider plugging your computer directly into your router. This will bypass any weird wireless connection problems you could run into otherwise.
It may be a good move to reach out to your ISP to ensure there’s nothing going on that could be affecting your connection. Sometimes the best course of action is to upgrade your internet speed.
Looking good on Camera
Sounding good during video calls is only half the equation: you want to look good too! Just ask anyone who takes pictures or uses a camera in general for work: there is a lot that goes into making everything look as it should. Lighting, camera placement, and many other things go into this process.
So let's make you look great!
Nailing the Lighting
The best lighting you can get is natural lighting (during the day, of course). But before you open the drapes and let the light pour in, we want to make sure that it isn't hitting your back.
When this occurs, it is called back-lighting, and it will make you look more like a shadow than a person. This is because the light is hitting the camera, forcing it to restrict the amount of light it lets in. And since none of that light is hitting your face directly, it will look very dark.
If you have a window that is either facing you straight on or hitting your face at a good angle, then we can use it. On a sunny day, you probably won't need anything else.
In the absence of good natural lighting, artificial light will work just as well. It has the same properties as sunlight, so make sure that whatever lights you have are pointing roughly at your face. You can get an inexpensive ring light that other video chatters use or simply use your existing light fixtures. We just want to ensure that your face is illuminated. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking blurry or worse, like a creature from the shadows.
Positioning your camera
Unless you really know what you are doing and are going for an artistic look, you don't want your camera to be below eye level.
When the camera is too low, it emphasizes the bottom of your face and can make you look a little puffy. This is why you see people doing selfies with the phone pointing down to their face, as it makes you look much better.
Actors will often need to stand on something to look taller for multiple reasons. This isn't cheating, it's movie magic. And we can use similar tactics for getting that camera a little higher by stacking it on books or other objects around your office. You can also simply lower your chair if that is a possibility.
Look out behind you!
Don't neglect the negative space during online video chats! Things behind you can also be seen by the camera. You don't want your background to look cluttered or have things moving around, distracting others on the call.
So make sure whatever is behind you is either acceptable or just can't be seen. This can be achieved by physically moving objects that are in the way or choosing a virtual background that can cover up everything behind you with whatever image you want. Just make sure whatever image you use doesn't also become a distraction.
Wrapping it up
You are a professional, so let's get you to look and sound the part! Remember these tips and people will notice the difference. Just remember to light yourself well, position the camera correctly, and use a good headset, and you will be in a great place.
If you have any questions about the headsets mentioned here, or headsets in general, give us a call at 1-800-HEADSETS (432-3738)!