June 1st, 2020

Video Conferencing: Two Palms Top Tips!

Learn how to perfect the art of a good video call with our director Ed Ringwood! As seen on 7News’s Sunrise…

We’ve been video conferencing long before COVID-19, but like most others, we’ve become increasingly more reliant on video calls and meetings over the past 3 months. In a recent segment on Sunrise, our director Ed Ringwood had his moment of fame to discuss how we, Two Palms, have perfected the art of a good video call! 

He really only scratched the surface in this segment, so we’ve put together all our top tips in this article so you can make sure your video calls go smoothly every time. 

Preparation

  • Do a quick internet speed test before you start, your internet speed needs to be at a minimum 8Mbp/s for an effective video call with no interruptions. If it’s below this, either move closer to your modem, get a wired connection into your device or use your 4G.
  • Make sure there are no distractions in the room before you start, we all remember the BBC broadcaster from Hong Kong who’s kids came into the room!
  • Let your housemates know you’re about to jump on a call, take the dog outside, and make sure there are no random construction noises that could distract from from the purpose of the call.
  • Have a clear and set agenda before the meeting, you can waste a lot of time going back and forth about inconsequential things, say what you need to say and then get it over with. Unless it’s a social call, then go for gold!
  • If you are regularly engaging in meetings over video, have a set program to go through – i.e. a summary of what you are talking about, updates, and any new actions needed.

Visual

  • Before you start your video conference or meeting, make sure your lens is clean. You’d be amazed at the grime that builds up on a laptop or phone video camera. Either use a screen wipe or just your shirt to give it a good clean, you’ll notice the difference (and so will the other people on your call!).

Best practice to set up

  • Ensure you’re in a room with lots of light (artificial or natural) as dark video lends to poor quality, because your webcam tries to brighten you up by using ISO, which makes for a grainy image.
  • For best results sit either facing or adjacent to a window so the natural light filters onto your face. A common mistake is to have the window in the background of your video call – you don’t want to appear completely overexposed with your face in shadow. Natural light makes a world of difference.
  • Find a plain background that isn’t too distracting for the viewer so they can concentrate more on what you’re saying rather reading the spines of books on your shelf!

Angles

  • Make sure that the angle of your camera is in line with your face, i.e, not too low and not too high. You can use a box under a laptop or a desktop camera to make sure it’s in line. With a phone it’s easy, but just make sure you don’t drop it!
  • How to know how far away you should sit: your face and shoulders should be in shot with the top of your head sitting just below the top of the screen. You want to be about an arms length away from your device for best audio and to ensure you don’t get lost in frame.
  • If you are dialling in with a phone to a meeting with other laptops or computers, turn your phone horizontally. The computers will all be viewing videos in landscape, so it’s best to match their viewer experience.

Audio

  • Before you start, make sure the microphone in your headphones or the inbuilt mic in your computer/phone is connected to your video call software. To do this go into the settings, select audio and choose which microphone you would like to use. There is nothing worse than starting a meeting and having everyone go “we can’t hear you Karen.”
  • When possible, video call in a smaller space to reduce any echo in your audio. If you’re in a big space use headphones with a built in mic – this will produce the best quality audio.

The Extra Mile

Want to spice things up or hide a messy background? Try a virtual background on Zoom to make it look like you’re in a far off exotic location! You can download a picture from the web, use a personal one or go for one of the standard backgrounds that come with the program to make it look like you’re joining the meeting from a sandy beach! A lot of brands are releasing some stunning background options, e.g. GoPro and Tourism Australia. 

Best Australian Virtual backgrounds for Zoom - Tourism Australia

Inspire yourself with the best Zoom backgrounds of Australia's top destinations. Let these fun backgrounds transport you to Uluru, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and more.

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