Tips for presenting at virtual events
Presenting? First thing's first. Prioritize your internet connection. Connect your computer to router with an Ethernet cable instead of connecting via Wifi. If possible, ask others on your network not to stream video or play online games while you are presenting. 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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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 a Studio In A Box or 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 at eye level.
Too low: chin shot
Too high: small perspective
Look your audience "in the eye" to interact per
Place your head in the upper third 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).
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.
Audio is very important, after all most of your messaging is going to come from your voice. Make sure you can be heard clearly. In addition to headphones, you can also use an independent USB microphone. A reasonably priced recommendation is the Blue Yeti Nano (Amazon: $99 USD).
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).
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 any light sources are in front of you. Consider taking advantage of natural light by setting your laptop in front of 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 Air (currently $49.95), or 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 our more advanced lighting information here.