First thing's first... Prioritize your internet connection: Please connect to your router with an Ethernet cable instead of connecting via Wi-Fi. It really does make a difference. Without a solid connection, your audio, lighting, and video specifics won't be important. The purpose of all these tips is so your content - your message - can be delivered. A solid internet connection is key to getting that across.
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Are you prerecording yourself and delivering a video file to us? See our self-recording instructions.
This is possibly the most important part of your setup if you are streaming live. If you don't have enough internet bandwidth, your stream can cut out in the middle of your broadcast or be degraded throughout the entirety of your messaging. Be sure to have a stable internet connection.
TEST YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION WELL BEFORE GOING LIVE
Give yourself time to troubleshoot.
Test your speed on a site like speedtest.net.
You are looking for a stable connections of AT LEAST:
A download speed of at least 20 Mbps (megabits per second)
An upload speed of at least 10 Mbps (megabits per second)
If you are not getting the speeds above, or if you want faster speeds, try some of the following:
Instead of using Wi-Fi on your computer, try running an Ethernet cable directly from your router to your computer. It really does make a difference.
If an Ethernet cable is not an option, try moving closer to your internet router.
If possible, reduce other bandwidth use by asking others on your network to refrain from watching streaming videos or playing online games while you are presenting.
Try connecting via a mobile hot-spot (even a phone's hot-spot) and then run the speed test again. This sometimes yields a better connection, in some cases.
Upgrade your router and/or your Internet package from your Internet Service Provider.
Use a different internet connection or stream from a different location .
Since we don't have studio-grade cameras at every location, possibly not at your office or your house, you may want to think about upgrading your setup. But that's not always necessary. If you can't purchase your own upgrade or if you can't hire a local professional, there are elements and tips you can take yourself to get the best shot possible.
At a basic level, think about the framing and composition of your camera shot.
Keep your camera lens height equal to your eye level.
Too low: chin shot
Too high: small perspective
Look your audience "in the eye" to interact personally
Place your head in the upper two-thirds of the screen
Don't cut off the top of your head.
The shot should include your head and shoulders.
Think about your backdrop. Make sure there is not a window behind you that would be difficult for lighting. Create some depth by moving yourself away from the background and wear colors that contrast, so you don't blend in.
Your camera angle should approximately equal to your eyes. An angle coming from too far below or too far above may not look natural.
How big or small are you in the frame? We should be able to see your head and shoulders, and have some headroom on top. You want some space - but not too much - between the top of your head and the top of the frame).
See more video information here.
In most cases, as a presenter you'll be in front of a computer. If you have a headset with a mic, that's a decent option because the headphones will keep the microphone from picking up the sound from your speakers. This will help to eliminate echo and feedback.
Having headphones or ear buds is one of the most important thing you can do on a recording with 2-way communication, so your microphone isn't picking up the sound coming out of your speakers.
See more in-depth audio information here.
Audio is very important, after all most of your messaging is going to come from your voice. Make sure you can be heard clearly. Place yourself in a room alone, far away from traffic noise or others in the house.
Use headphones to isolate the audio that the microphone is picking up and use an external microphone. A reasonably priced recommendation is the Blue Yeti Nano (Amazon: $79 USD) or a beefier option, the Shure MV7 (Amazon: $242).
You can also use Bluetooth headsets, like the Apple AirPods (Apple: $159 USD). These isolate the sound you need to hear from the microphone as well. A more budget friendly option might be something like the JBL Live 220 (Amazon: $59 USD).
See more in-depth audio information here.
There are a few simple things you can do to improve lighting within a webcast. First, make sure that your face is brighter than your background. This can be accomplished by moving your camera position to ensure that a majority of the light is in front of your face. Consider taking advantage of natural light by setting your laptop in front of or next to a window or sitting where the light from a ceiling or floor lamp shines on you.
You can also add more lighting elements such as simple items you can buy online like the Lume Cube Video Conferencing Kit (currently $69.95), the Elgato Key Light (currently $199.99), or by hiring a production company to provide you with a video lighting kit. This video lighting kit could be part of a fly pack, a small setup with basic audio, lighting, and video elements meant for recording interviews and small video shoots.
See more in-depth lighting information here.