The number of people working remotely has increased by 50% since 2020. As many working professionals know, that transition hasn’t always been a smooth one. By now it seems like everyone has a similar remote working story: you enter the video call with your coworkers hoping to contribute something to the conversation only to be met with cries that you’re muted, your camera is off, your connection is bad, etc. Or maybe you’ve got all of this under control but something still isn’t quite right.
Bad lighting is a much harder problem to fix on the fly. But with just a few small changes before your next meeting, you can greatly improve the quality of the lighting in your video calls.
Stop and Assess
To begin, you’ll want to evaluate the lighting in your current video conferencing setup. The general rule of thumb is to make sure that your background is darker than your subject and that the subject is the lightest part of the video. Not only will this reduce strain on your viewer’s eyes when they try to look at you, but you also look your best under good lighting.
When evaluating your conferencing setup, begin by asking yourself whether there is a natural light source. If there is, is it in front of you or behind you?
If your light source is currently behind you, consider whether there is a way to reposition yourself to take advantage of its full effects.
Sometimes this isn’t possible to do. In that case, make sure you draw the curtains across the light source to minimize the amount of light hitting your webcam from behind. Then, if possible, turn on a light in front of you to ensure there is also a light source on your face.
However, this will depend on the type of light source you are using. For example, this tip does not apply to your monitor’s brightness, which is more likely to wash you out and result in an overexposed image. A lamp is a much more reliable option, and a lampshade should be sufficient to diffuse the light hitting your face.
Generally, aim to have your main light source facing you directly, or at a 45° angle which can create some dynamic shadows without being too distracting to the viewer.
Do a Trial Run
Last but not least, test your setup before you join the call! Many video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams will show you a preview of your video before connecting to the call, and this is a great time to double-check your lighting. If the platform you’re using doesn’t have these features, you can open any application on your device that uses your camera, like FaceTime or Photobooth on iOS.
With the increase in remote work in recent years, video conferencing is becoming an essential skill to have. These are just a few tips to keep in mind when setting up the lighting in your video calls, but applying them to your setup can make a huge difference.
At VidOps all of our videographers are experienced in setting up professional lighting for your interviews. Check out this example:
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