Zoom: upping your video conferencing game
There’s an awful lot more content being produced on Zoom. Over the last week as gym instructors, chefs and teachers have been flocking to the Zoom video conferencing platform to communicate with audiences worldwide.
The typical kit being used is a laptop, phone or iPad. The typical result is tinny audio with muffled voices, slightly blurred video and a really distracting, busy background.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not going to get broadcast results in a flash. But there are three simple steps we can all take to improve matters no end.
- Close the curtains. turn off the lights. Now turn on a video light (or best of all 3 lights) to illuminate what you want the viewer to focus on. You’ll see a lot less of the clutter in your office and you’ll look better on screen too.
- Use a microphone – it needn’t be an expensive one. If you have a dedicated video conferencing speakerphone, the sound will probably be fine, as long as you’re at a desk. But if you’re connected to your phone or tablet and you want to move around, best option is a clip-on mic (also known as a lapel or lavalier mic). You’ll get really good sound and it won’t pick up background noise.
- To improve your video quality, if you’re using a PC or Mac, you have two main options.
- Firstly, you can buy a high-quality webcam such as the Lumens B10U.
- Second option is a Panasonic UE4 camera. At around £1,000 this may sound steep, but as well as being an amazing USB webcam, it’s got the ability to stream straight to YouTube when controlled by a tablet, PC or Mac.
For a quick guide to using the UE4 as a webcam, click here.
For a slicker production you can add on-screen graphics and titles with Wirecast, split the screen between the video and a presentation using Epiphan Pearl-2 or Inogeni Share 2. Or you can create TV with the ATEM Mini, but that’s for later.