We remind you (ad nauseam) that the simplest of techniques will improve your on-camera presence. This, then you present, as well as when you connect as a viewer. Your audience sees you before it hears you and even if you’re not there to be heard, your peers will see you and “size you up”. Too many video conference denizens lick and slick when it’s time to show some slides, but they let things slide when they’re online simply to watch. On-camera is on-camera. Be at your best and be respectful of the presenter by leaving your camera on (or by turning it on when a question period comes up – even if you have nothing to contribute).
The basic basics:
Raise your laptop (or camera) to eye level (a stack of books, an empty shipping box, etc.) Look at the camera lens – not the screen (place a sticky note or some other bright doo-dad behind the camera to remind you to focus)
The goose and the gander:
This is where er plug our tech. 2comguys are equipped with a fully wired (high-speed cable internet) videoconferencing suite that provides for studio quality audio and video, as well as facilities to record and play back (in real time) on all the leading platforms (Zoom, Teams, Webex, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.). Interactive sessions with one or many, presentations and hosting for hundreds, or thousands. We have you covered.
The basic bumps:
“Prosumer” grade equipment is affordable and relatively easy to obtain these days, but you need not spend a fortune to bump up your tech. Video and audio can be improved for less than $200.
If you use a laptop, an external webcam will improve the quality of your video significantly. Most laptops are equipped with cameras that produce a basic “square” image at a low resolution (usually “720p”). Better cameras produce a wider “letterbox” image, like you see on your TV, at “1080p” resolution (higher is better). An outboard 1080p camera plugs into a USB port on your laptop and requires no configuration (other than selecting it in the videoconferencing software you use). Plug it in and hang it on your laptop screen. Better yet, place the camera at eye level (stack of books, box) and leave the laptop below where the screen will be less of a distraction (look at the screen, on occasion, as required). Even betterer, if you have conventional camera tripod lying around, use it (most webcams come with a standard screw mount). Easy adjustment for use at eye level and no shaking should you bump your desk or table.
To improve audio, an external microphone wins the day. Here too, it’s “plug-and-play” via a USB port. Place the microphone fairly close to you (6 to 8 inches). Once your camera is properly positioned at eye level, the microphone should not be visible in the shot. Even if it is, who cares? You’re broadcasting. The quality of the audio will make all the difference.
How ever you choose to proceed, make a checklist: position, activation (make sure camera and microphone are correctly designated in your software) and finally, test. Before you log in, take a moment to view yourself in a meeting screen to make sure that all is in place and properly goosy.