With the lock-down in place and remote meetings becoming “the new normal”. Recording, streaming or broadcasting yourself has become a habit which can be perfected to improve the quality of your meeting or presentation. It does not take much for you to up your game and stream high-quality video and audio to your audience.
We have seen it all during our meetings, fuzzy videos with the sun in the background, intermittent audio, unwanted echoes, people on mute and general confusion. Then there is the embarrassing backgrounds, messy bedrooms and untidy kitchens. Not to mention one of our family members making an appearance in the background or interrupting our meeting just to asking to order a takeaway for the third time this week.
And finally, the newest term we have all heard but are truly afraid of… “zoombombing”. That is when someone unexpected has joined our meeting out of the blue. Even Zoom has had to up their game on security measures and has released emergency patches to improve this aspect of their meeting software.
So how do you ensure your presentation is up to scratch with your pristine reputation and image as a businessperson?
Building your home studio is not a hard thing to do. And it only takes a few little tricks and a few pieces of hardware that connect directly to your laptop via USB.
We will concentrate on the hardware you need and then we will give you a few handy tips to make your meetings all about delivery with the highest quality you can get.
You can get relatively cheap webcams on Amazon or any other electronics shop. What you need to make sure is that the camera has a USB connection to your laptop. Some of these even come with little tripods or monitor mounts so you can attach it to your laptop or monitor. Any of these cameras will be detected automatically by your laptop and you will be able to choose it from a drop down menu. On Zoom, go to the little camera at the bottom and click on the name of your new camera. That is basically it!
We recommend buying a camera that has HD quality or higher. Anything above 720 resolution is good but you want to aim for something like 1080 or 4K. And please do not get cheap with this, cheap knockoffs can be a problem too. We recommend spending between £80 to £200. Anything higher than this means it is for professional use. I particularly like to use the Logitec BRIO 4K as it comes with a bit of downloadable software that allows me to change some of the camera settings and further improve my quality.
You would have not thought about this, but high-quality uninterrupted audio is much more important than an HD video feed. Think about what would frustrate you the most, seeing a stutter video or constant audio droppings from someone’s call? We of course want to achieve great quality on both, but I wanted to make a point.
Now it comes to quality and aesthetics. But you also need to buy a microphone that connects via USB to your laptop. And mics are many and yes you can buy professional mics, but we are looking at a home studio anyone can plug and play. I mean aesthetics because you want to decide if you want the microphone to be shown on your video, on centre stage, or you want something a bit less conspicuous.
If you don’t mind a big mic you can get a condenser mic like the Rode NT-USB Microphone, this will be in front of you so bear in mind it will take a bit of the screen.
This mic is also not cheap so find an option that suits your budget. But as always, cheap mics can have bad quality or crackling sounds.
My personal preference is to use lapel or lavaliere USB mics as these can be pinned to the tie or lapel. Quality is good and it avoids an echoey room. The sound delivery is much more present and clearer. Piece wise the recommendation is the same, the cheaper ones can give you unexpected problems or poor sound quality so stick with someone from £30 upwards.
These are in high demand at the moment so cast your search net widely and not just on Amazon.
The final piece of the puzzle is good lighting. You can face the window, but you can’t rely on the sun, much less in this country. We recommend a good clear light from behind the camera directly towards you.
And to avoid any weird shadows we recommend a ring light, this will highlight your best features from all angles and will also give your eyes an extra sparkle of joy.
As a professional streaming company we offer this service to you as well. If you want us to help you source all the hardware and guide you through the installation we can do just that. We'll send a streaming kit straight to your door and will include some easy to follow instructions for you to "plug and play".
Get in touch if you wish for us to get our hands dirty for you.
Or click here if you want to know more.
We will be brief but keep these in mind.
Beware of your background, prepare your scene the best way to avoid uninvited appearances from anyone. Make sure it is clear and not too busy, as this will distract your viewers who will be trying to see what books you read or what is that hanging in your closet.
Connect to your laptop to the internet using a hardwired cable. And yes, you should have one of these lying around as all Wi-Fi routers come with one or two. Just plug it in any port available on the router. This will make sure your internet connection is stable and you have priority above others using the internet at your home or office.