Everybody is meeting via webcams now. Whether that is a work meeting on Zoom, interviews on cable news networks, or getting stood up for a virtual date on Skype, you need to look your best on camera. I worked in low budget Television for more than 5 years and now I’m sharing all the tricks of the trade to help you not look bad on video chats!
HOW TO LOOK GOOD ON VIDEO CHATS
Tip #1 – Lighting
Test your video to make sure that your face is evenly lit. Unless you’re making a bad indie student film, low lighting is not going to make you look good.
Tip #2 – Dress Nice
Dress appropriately. I don’t care if you don’t wear pants (Hell, I didn’t wear pants before COVID19!) Just don’t take a Zoom meeting while you lay shirtless in your bed…Brendan!
Tip #3 – Yes, We Can See What’s Behind You
Don’t forget that we can see what’s behind you. Fortunately, there are many backgrounds for you to choose from! You can go with the classic “a bunch of books,” or “an abnormally large quantity of family photos” behind you, but make sure that whatever you go with is not distracting. If your audience gets distracted by what’s behind you, then you aren’t being heard.
For example, the virtual background feature on Zoom is no where near as cool as you think it is.
Tip #4 – Position Yourself Close to Your Camera
Position your webcam or phone about 2 feet away from your face, no more than 3 feet. First, this will help you sound better and less like you’re inside a cave made out of aluminum. Second, this will make you look better too thanks to something called ‘depth of field.’
Basically, by positioning yourself close to the camera in focus, with the background far away and out of focus, you create a depth of field that can make even a cheap camera look professional.
Tip #5 – Choose Your Headphones Wisely
Remember that we can see your face and that includes your ears. Pick earbuds that aren’t distracting and wireless is always better.
If you don’t look better than your local public access station then you shouldn’t be on TV. Listen, if middle school kids can figure this out for TikTok, then a person with 3 PHDs should be able to manage this before he goes on National Television.
Good Luck Looking Good, and remember – when in doubt, just mute the video.