Whether you’re making marketing videos for your business, or hosting a virtual meeting on Zoom, it’s important to look your best on camera. But let’s face it, webcams aren’t exactly flattering. Fortunately, our video production experts have a few tricks you can use to significantly improve your appearance and look more professional on screen.
Webcam Tips from Our Video Production Experts
Your webcam lens should be at eye level, or slightly above. If you’re using a laptop, try placing it on a stack of books or a box to raise the camera to the right height. You’ll also want to position yourself about an arm’s length from the screen, and leave some headroom (video nerd jargon for space between the top of your head and the top of the frame.)
Natural, even light is always best, but if you’re shooting at night or in a windowless office that may not be an option. Unfortunately, overhead lighting can cast unflattering shadows, and the light from your monitor can cast a blue tint on your face. The key is to position your light source – whether from a window or a lamp – directly in front of you, so that it lights you evenly. (Behind you and you’ll appear as a silhouette.) You can also try adjusting to a warmer color temperature on your monitor in your computer settings.
While a good microphone is a given, the room itself can also impact your audio. A stark office that’s all glass and wood can cause echoes, but a room with carpeting and window treatments will actually help to absorb sound and make it easier for your viewers to hear you. If your mic is too far away, headphones with a built-in mic are an easy, inexpensive option to bring the mic closer to your mouth.
Creating the ideal video background is an exercise in balance. You want something neutral that won’t distract viewers, but not so plain that it’s boring and void of personality. Your background should fit your company culture or brand. As a basic rule of thumb, avoid views of multiple rooms, or even a wide shot of just one room with too much to look at. Instead, position yourself in front of a solid, neutral-colored wall, and create a composition behind you, whether that be through artwork or something that’s easy to set up and break down, like a reading chair and a console table with books and plants.
Dressing professionally, or brand-appropriately goes without saying, but our video production team has learned from experience that certain colors and fabrics ensure people look their best on camera. For instance, jewel tones – such as ruby red, sapphire blue and emerald green – look great with all different skin tones, while pastels tend to give skin a gray tone on camera, and black can actually age you. It’s also best to choose matte fabrics, since shiny materials are rarely flattering on camera. And small, busy patterns appear blurry on video, so stripes, plaids, paisleys and other prints should be worn only as accent pieces.
It’s easy to get distracted looking at your own thumbnail image, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you maintain good eye contact with the camera. Imagine if you were watching the news and the anchor person was staring at the bottom left of your TV screen. Weird, right? To help speakers avoid staring at their own image, most video platforms have a “hide-self” view, or similar feature.
We’re not suggesting you strap your arms to your sides, but try not to do too much talking with your hands. Quick movements can be very distracting on a webcam. You’ll also want to avoid banging on the table or bumping your desk, as these can cause the camera to shake and jostle the view for those watching.
Ditch the Webcam in Favor of Professional Video
Of course, you can employ all of these tips and tricks and still feel like your webcam videos just aren’t cutting it. The truth is, webcams are fine for meetings with your internal team, but for important company-wide broadcasts or your external video marketing efforts, it usually makes sense to partner with a professional video production team.
As a leader in video production for more than 20 years, Worktank has helped many global organizations and Fortune 500 companies improve their internal video communications and external video marketing efforts. We not only provide video solutions and technical support, but we can offer key insights into strategic communications, presenter training and much more.