The following is a post by Jenn Gibson, Sales Engineer (and Webcasting Guru) at INXPO. This post was adapted from a presentation Jenn gave to clients and partners in our online environment, “vBIZ.” We provide instructional presentations (to clients and partners) every Friday at 12PM ET.
If you’re like most people, being on webcam for a presentation or a meeting is enough to make you want to call in sick. First, there’s the struggle of trying to make the video resemble what you actually look like.
Then, the hassle of remembering you’re on camera and making sure not to do anything ridiculous for everyone to see. It’s a lot to keep in mind, in addition to actually giving a presentation or participating in a meeting.
However, setting up a webcam to produce a quality video output isn’t as hard as you might think. If you spend a little time getting it just right once, you’ll know what you need to do every time to recreate the perfect results.
Let’s take a look at the most common webcasting mistakes and see how they can be easily corrected.
1) Bad Lighting
Bad lighting can ruin an otherwise great presentation. Your attendees want to see your face while you are presenting; it’s the closest they can get to actually being in the room with you. If you’re sitting in front of a bright light, you’ll be too dark. If you have a bright light shining in front of you, you’ll be washed out.
Quick Fix for: Bad Lighting
Getting the lighting right is simple if you follow these steps:
- Choose a room where you can control the lighting by adding lamps, turning on/off overhead lighting or opening/closing window blinds.
- Do not sit directly in front of a light source or position a light source directly behind you.
- Don’t rely on the webcam software to fix the lighting. Open/close shutters on outside windows, use additional lamps to create more indirect lighting or turn on/off overhead lighting until your image looks correct on screen.
- Have something white in the foreground such as a white shirt or just something else prominent in the frame. Webcams white balance to the lightest thing in the field of view so if there is something true white in the frame, it will balance to that making you look more natural.
2) Improper Webcam Positioning
You always want to appear to be looking directly at the camera (which translates to looking directly at your audience) so avoid the common mistakes of being zoomed in too close, not being zoomed in close enough and not being centered in the frame (or having the top/bottom of your head cut off).
Quick Fix for: Improper Webcam Positioning
Position your webcam so that the camera is eye level. To do this it may mean setting your computer or camera tripod up on something to elevate it and/or moving your chair to a higher or lower position.
Then, square yourself so you are in the center of the frame with your head and tops of shoulders visible in the camera view. Remember, you should take up the majority of the frame, not your background.
3) Creating Distractions During the Presentation
Your audience should be focused on you and your content, which is impossible if there are constant interruptions to the presentation from cell phones, noisy dogs, kids playing or doors opening and closing.
You also have to take into account the silent distractions from having too many things going on behind you. These include people walking around, too many pictures on the wall or busy backdrops.
Quick Fix: Creating Distractions During the Presentation
When selecting your location, choose a place that is private and can be closed off from other people (or pets) wandering into the room. When positioning the camera, choose a location that has a solid, single color backdrop with no more than one or two pictures on the wall. This will allow attendees to focus on you rather than trying to discern what’s in the pictures behind you.
4) Forgetting You’re On Camera
During meetings or webcasts where you aren’t the only speaker, speakers often start checking email, try to take a quick phone call or start talking to someone in their office. This sends a message to the audience that you are not interested in the meeting/webcast. Also, it means that you’re unprepared when the conversation is turned back to you.
Quick Fix for: Forgetting You’re on Camera
Set yourself up for success before the webcast even begins. Take the following steps to make sure you stay focused on the meeting or webcast:
- Turn off your email client.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Put your office phone on Do Not Disturb.
- Block your calendar so others know you are indisposed.
- Close and lock the door to the room you’re in. If the door doesn’t lock, put a note on the door indicating you should not be disturbed.
- Keep an eye on your camera feed so you know how attendees are seeing you at all times.
Following these easy steps will help insure that every time you’re on camera you are able to project a quality image. Remember, if the audience isn’t distracted by these common mistakes, they’ll be focused on you and your content which will yield more successful webcasts.
For More Information
For more information on our Webcasting product, check out our XPOCAST product page.
About The Author
Jenn Gibson has been with INXPO for over five years, which has allowed her to be an active participant in growing awareness around virtual events, webcasting and shifts in technology. She has held many positions within INXPO, including Associate Producer, Event Director and Webcasting Department Manager; currently, she is a Sales Engineer, where her primary duties are working with new clients to understand their goals and match them with the appropriate solution for their event. Her primary focus over the course of her career has been in webcasting, working with the leading providers in the industry as well as assisting in the development and enhancement of INXPO’s webcasting product, XPOCAST. Follow her on Twitter @JennLGibson.