Since people are forced to work remotely from home, here are some useful tips for using the Zoom video teleconferencing application.
We all want the same things in life.
We want to look great, be safe, happy and, I might add, look great?
In our new normal of the COVID-19 era, many of us have turned to the Webcam and videoconferencing on-site school, work conferences, and many of us spend our days on video conferences hosted by Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, WebEx and the like.
And many of you are probably looking at the window and saying, "Really? Am I really that bad?"
It doesn't have to be that way. We checked in with Florida photographer Larry Becker, who just wrote a book on how to improve our appearance, called "Great on camera, "for some information.
Larry Becker, author of the book "Great on Camera" (Photo: Larry Becker)
Start with the basics. Comb your hair, shave your face or apply makeup and think strategically about your clothes. Wearing a busy checkered or printed outfit will make the viewer's eyes go numb. A smooth, solid color will help bring out the best in you. However, Becker says to avoid shirts that are shiny white or dark black, because they look like a "bubble" on the camera.
This is where most people fail at web conferences. They have what Becker calls "Shady Face", meaning that half of the face is shaded or blocked in some way. He recommends having a fixed lamp, directly to your face, for uniform and uniform illumination. No side lights or backlight, please add. He suggests, as we have done several times, to avoid sitting with your back to the window, as the camera exposes light and makes you a silhouette. Instead, turn it around and face the window, which will provide people with soft, pleasant light.
You want people to focus on your face, not what's behind you. Many people like to be photographed in front of a bookcase, but Becker says that sometimes "knick-knacks" on the shelf cause distractions. He likes it "plain and simple", like blank walls or a wall with nothing but a hanging piece of art. Becker photographs himself in front of bricks, which he calls "boring" and, therefore, does not distract.
Here's the biggest no-no. Get rid of what he calls a "wide-angle face". Smartphones and webcams cameras are wide-angle, which means they allow a wide view. So if you get too close, it will look distorted. In other words, move away from the camera. "The closer you get to a wide angle, the more distorted it gets."
Example of incorrect webcam position, when the camera is too low (Photo: Larry Becker)
Don't have the webcam looking at you, because that will turn you into "Look at my nostrils, man". Let's put it this way. The camera under the face is the most unpleasant appearance in books. That's what director James Whale did in Frankenstein's original 1931 film to make the monster more threatening. Some people recommend that the camera look at you, but Becker doesn't buy it. "Eye contact is the best connection", look directly at the camera. How to do this when the webcam is physically below your eyes? Stack several books on your laptop until you see the webcam in your eyes.
NT-USB Rode Microphone (Photo: Rode)
Although we told you to get away and not be so close, don't be so far away that the microphone doesn't hear you. Remember to put children and other noise distractions in another room during your meeting, if you can. And this is huge: don't forget to mute the microphone when listening. Otherwise, everyone will hear you typing. For enhanced audio, Becker recommends using an accessory microphone, which will make you look much better. You can pick up a microphone that plugs into your laptop’s USB port for $ 99 or more (we like the Rotate the NT-USB microphone as a beginner) or, better yet, for $ 20, he recommends a small lavalier microphone, the I move LV1, which plugs directly into your laptop's microphone jack. In Zoom, you can access the general settings and adjust the audio to choose the accessory microphone instead of the webcam microphone.
Finally, we wrote earlier this week about the great shortage of webcams in 2020. Many people have found that if they want to use Zoom and other video conferences all day, they want to look their best. Laptop webcams are ultra low resolution, and for $ 100 to $ 200 you can get much better and more presentable specifications with a separate webcam.
It is sad to report that the situation has not improved. Logitech, which dominates the manufacture of webcams, is still sold on all of its products. Brio, which broadcasts in 4K resolution and typically sells for $ 199, is sold out on Amazon, except for third-party resellers, who are asking for $ 359 or more. On eBay, bids start in the $ 275 to $ 350 range.
Logitech Brio is a webcam with 4K resolution (Photo: Logitech)
What to do? Try one of the classified sites, such as Craigslist, Letgo or Facebook Marketplace, to get a used and reasonably priced model, or take that old DSLR out of the closet and connect it to your computer to use it. This is much more complicated than using a webcam, but a software site like eCamm It is compatible. YouTuber Adrian Salisbury has a tutorial on how to do it here.
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is donating $ 1 billion to coronavirus relief efforts. (Photo: PRAKASH SINGH, AFP via Getty Images)
In other tech news this week
Google and Apple have teamed up to help fight coronavirus with "contact tracking" technology applications to help determine if the people you know have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Samsung introduced new smartphone lines starting at $ 109. The A series is the company's low-priced response to the higher-priced Galaxy S line.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO said it would donate $ 1 billion for COVID relief.
Verizon and Cox Cable ended their visits in person, using smartphone apps to communicate with customers.
This week's Talking Tech podcasts
How to record a podcast remotely. Photographer Jan Schrieber helps test the various recording methods with the Zencastr and Cleanfeed, Voice Memos and Anchor apps.
Just found in a pile at home. Any buyer? pic.twitter.com/W7IPLiBcqR
– Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) April 11, 2020
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