With unprecedented times, come a never-ending stream of video calls. From what I can see, most of us could use a little help sprucing up our video real estate. We’ve broken down the basics for you so you don’t have to take a crash course on the basic elements of photography or drop a lot of cash on unnecessary equipment. Our resident photographer/videographer and Director of Channel Sales, Alex Ratajczyk went from a basic (subpar) home office set-up to pro status by adding a few key elements like camera, lighting, and the “set design” of his workspace.
It’s important to use what you have and purchase only what you need. And before you get too trigger happy on purchasing new gear, think about what you hope to get out of your investment. If you’re speaking daily with clients, investing in a higher resolution webcam may result in a better ROI than if you get very little camera time.
Here’s what you need*:
*Prices are at the time of publication
Having a grainy picture in a video call is not cute. Most computers have a decent built-in webcam but with all of the time spent at home, it may be time to invest in a new camera. Look for one that has at least a 720 resolution, if you want to up your game, even more, go for a 1080 resolution for an even clearer picture.
Top 3 picks
Basic Upgrade: Logitech C270 Plug and Play HD 720p $39.99
Uplevel: Dell C920S Pro HD Webcam 1080p $69.99
Video Call Master: Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Pro Webcam up to 4096 x 2160p $199
Warning: Once you increase your clarity, you might need to up your grooming and makeup routine.
Utilizing natural light is another zero-cost method to enhance your video quality. Be sure to sit facing a window, rather than having the light shine from behind you. This will cause a silhouette effect. For those of us who have been relegated to a dark corner of our homes, a simple light will improve the quality of you.
Basic upgrade: Sit by a window and take advantage of natural lighting $0
Uplevel: Get a small desk lamp -Price varies depending by style Razer Kiyo (Camera + Light)
Video call master: AIXPI LED Ring Light 10″ with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder $49.99
Frame it up
Now that you’ve gotten your camera and lighting in order, it’s time to work on the set design. First, take some time to figure out the appropriate headroom or the amount of space between the top of your head and the top of the frame. Ideally, you want to position your eyes to the top third of the frame (not the center).
Once you figure out the ideal frame, it’s time to clear out space behind you and complete your virtual office with interesting background elements. Think of a plant, a unique piece of artwork, or a bookshelf showing off your literary side.
Dress the part
No, I don’t mean dress like you’re on full work from home mode. Scrap the old t-shirt and upgrade to an eye-catching shirt, fun hat, or bold jewelry when you’re on a call. Pants are completely optional as long as it’s not a standing meeting.
Remember, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to give your set-up a refresh. Use what you have and then add the necessary items. Small changes could make a huge impact, especially when you need to make a first impression via a video call.
Special thanks to Alex Ratajczyk for the creative and technical input. You can find examples of his photography work on Instagram or you can contact him on LinkedIn to learn more about programmatic buying at 33Across.