How to Look Good in a Zoom Meeting World
Video conferencing is zooming: On my home-office computer I have Skype, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, LifeSize, GoToMeeting and Zoom conferencing software depending on person with whom I’m trying to communicate.
We are all seeing ourselves the way a video camera sees us – in a 16 X 9 ratio box. This is not temporary. This is the new and growing normal. My prediction is that this will become the preferred way to communicate quickly and efficiently — adding in the non-verbal cues we all need in a conversation.
From an old TV guy, here are a few ideas to look more professional on your next Zoom meeting:
- Key light. If you are being illuminated by the computer screen, you’ll look blue. Get a light to brighten your face. I have a shot of my light above my screen.
- Back-lighting. Bright lights in the background (like a window or lamp) will force the camera to stop down and make you look dark. Digital cameras are better at white balancing but check your camera’s setting to make sure you are white-balanced to the room – if you are not, your video will look orange or blue. Look at whites in your shot like a shirt, teeth or eyes and check color.
- Background. TV stations spend millions on backgrounds for a reason. Your ceiling is not a flattering background. Try to have your background go into darkness. Turn on your camera and check out your background. Zoom meetings can take the background out of focus which looks fantastic.
- The camera angle. When you set up a professional shot, you typically want the lens to be at eye level with the person your videotaping. Same with your computer lens. Otherwise it is looking up your nose. That means you may need to put your computer on a box.
- Digital microphones. They pick up everything. Your paper shuffling, your tapping of a pencil, background noises, the sound of you doing your email instead of listening. Mute your mic. You’ll probably forget you’re muted and you’ll get some lip flap, but it is better than everyone hearing you are watching reruns of the Price is Right in the background.
- Teleprompter. An easy way to do a teleprompter is to tape your notes to your computer screen up by your camera lens. It will look like you are looking at each person like an anchor when you are actually reading.
It’s a new video world. Make the best of how you look on your camera because that is how you look in person. Lights, camera, action.