COVID-19 has placed the entire world in quarantine, forcing society to communicate through video conferences. Here are a few tips to ensure that the person on the other side of the call doesn’t feel like they’re being catfished.
Check your software preferences. Most of the time, the setting for video quality is set to standard definition by default in order to save bandwidth. If applicable, change the video quality setting to high definition. Nevertheless, all of this won’t matter if your wifi network can’t support the bandwidth. More on this later.
Lighting is one of the most important key components needed to achieve higher visual fidelity on your calls. For the most optimal ambiance, find a window that has a ton of natural light coming in. If you position yourself so that you are looking towards the window and not away from it, the natural light can shine on your face.
Unfortunately, webcams do not work well in low-light environments. The best scenario is to use a light stand with adjustable “arms” so that you can arrange the light towards your face.
Yes, I know, it’s just more convenient to use the webcam already built in your laptop. Surprisingly, though, laptop webcams are still subpar in terms of quality. The front facing camera of your phone has a camera of higher caliber!
If you’re looking to purchase an external webcam or need one because your laptop doesn’t have a webcam, make sure to find one that utilizes FULL HD or 1080P. Don’t go 4K- it’s overkill and not worth the investment
Again, laptop microphones are not the best. Wearing headphones does increase sound quality by ten-fold, but if you’re looking to purchase a real microphone with crystal clear audio, you can get some for under $150.00.
The most important piece of the puzzle is most definitely your WiFi system. A large portion of your calls’ quality assurance will depend on your WiFi. It’s best to limit (or turn off) any other devices connected to the same connection in order to reduce bandwidth.
Lastly, the placement of your WiFi router is critically crucial. Set the router somewhere high and in an open enough space, not obstructed by other objects. Yes, I know – having an entertainment system is convenient, but a temporary rearranging will make your WiFi connection stronger.
While my work does not require me to show face during our calls, I do opt to turn off my video – not because I’m beastly looking (though this is debatable because I’ve been hiding in my house for days), but because I want to save bandwidth since I’m working on an older laptop. I noticed that when my video was turned on, my calls would be extremely choppy but they would be just fine when I used audio only.
Video conferencing is going to be the new normal until this pandemic subsides, so you might as well ensure your system is well oiled and able to handle the task. Stay healthy and safe, stay home, and make sure to wash your hands!