EVERYONE seems to be using Zoom. Many are connecting with family and friends virtually to be safe during this pandemic and virtual happy hours are now a big thing. But a lot of people are also using Zoom or Google or Face-time for work. In fact, we have been using Zoom for both meetings and virtual consulting including media trainings, pre-COVID-19, and even more so now.
Being we are in the professional messaging and story-telling industry, we have learned a few things along the way on how you can get a more professional look when using Zoom or any video conference platform:
You should always try to position yourself at the same level as your camera. The shot should be a classic head and shoulders composition. No one wants to look up your nose, or see the top of your head. Experiment with your laptop or desktop as to what looks best. You may have to scoot your body closer or farther away from the camera to get the best look.
Light is your friend but only if the light source is in front of you or to your side. Most people make the mistake of positioning themselves with a window behind them, leaving the subject badly backlit and the viewer unable to see your face. If you have no choice, close the blinds and use a desk top or floor lamp to cast a soft light on your face. If you are fortunate enough to have a window in front of you, use that light for your face. My office has a window to my side, which I use to light that side of my face, with one of our LED professional video lights providing some light for the other side. Again, experiment and see what looks best for you.
Most newer computers have a decent built-in microphone which is adequate for most applications. However, if you have a podcast mic you can get better audio using that for ZOOM conferences as well. Additionally, combo earbuds/mics like Apple’s Air Pods can provide better sound too.
Zoom has announced new security enhancements following some well publicized hacks. You can take additional precautions by doing the following:
Require a password for every Zoom conference you schedule. This should already be a default setting as part of the security enhancements but double-check.
Enable “waiting room” in settings. This forces any participants to wait until you approve their participation in the meeting.
Stay healthy and safe!
Rich Dubek is a two-time Emmy award winning TV news reporter with more than twenty five years of news media experience at the local and network level. He is President of the Dubek Media Group, specializing in expert media training messaging, and on-air coaching, and full service video production. The Dubek Media Group is based in Tempe, Arizona.