Today so many of you are using video online even if that means just using your webcam to do interviews, vlogs, or conference calls. Just because it’s the webcam does not mean you have an excuse to produce a poor video. There are still simple and small adjustments you can make to improve it.
The normal angle of your laptop screen typically leaves too much headroom. Make sure you check out your framing and tilt it down as necessary…even if the angle is not perfect for your current viewing of the screen, it will look better to your viewers.
If you are interviewing someone, try to look into the camera itself when you are speaking. It may seem awkward, but the person will feel like you are looking right at them and in the final recorded version it will look natural and engage your viewers more as you will be ‘making eye contact.’ Just like you look right into the lens of your ‘normal’ video camera, you want to try to look into the lens of your webcam (and not at yourself on the screen!).
Don’t actually keep your laptop in your lap. Make sure it’s on a solid surface that will not shake as you talk.
Because laptops are smaller than desktop computers, the camera tends to be a bit lower than eye level. To avoid looking ‘down’ at your interviewee, try to put the laptop on a slightly higher surface that allows you to look straight into it (not up or down). You can put books under it, or sometimes I sit on the floor with it on a coffee table or couch that puts my eyes parallel to the camera.
You don’t have to have a costly professional light kit to make the lighting better.
Sit facing a window or move a table lamp so it’s shining on your face. The shade of the lamp can act as a diffuser to prevent harsh lighting. Turn off the ceiling light. And don’t have a light or window behind you. Not only is it distracting to the viewer, it often causes the camera to underexpose your face. Something else you may not think to do: turn up the brightness on your computer screen – this extra bit of light will reflect off your face.
And, of course, do not forget sound. Laptop mics tend to be fairly good for their purpose. Just make sure you are in a quiet room and remember not to fidget with the laptop itself, because the sound will be very loud on the mic.