I’m no stranger to video. I produce a ton of videos here at Drift (you can see some of my work on Insider). I know what a good video looks like, and if I can share just one piece of video-related advice with you, it’s that how your video looks and sounds really matters – and goes a long way in making sure people actually listen to what you have to say.
Wait. Why am I telling you this?
From news hosts reporting from their kitchen tables to screenshots of Zoom calls with coworkers and their pets taking over LinkedIn feeds, one thing is clear. In both our personal and professional lives, our webcams have become our new best friends.
The use of video has grown exponentially during this time.
And it’s not just for team meetings. Asynchronous video is on the rise, too. Our team uses Drift Video to review slide decks, give feedback on work, share internal updates, book meetings with target accounts, walk-through product explanations for customers, share projects that are super visual, and much more.
But no matter what you’re recording for or where you’re recording from, there are a few key things you can do to make your video look – and sound – its best. Yes, even while wearing sweatpants. I won’t tell ?
So when “camera off” is not an option for your next team meeting, job interview, podcast, virtual event, or family game night, here are some pro tips to ensure your video is as high-quality as possible.
(Okay, I couldn’t resist recording my own Drift Video to tell you exactly what I mean. Watch it below or keep scrolling to read the tips).
1. Location, location, location
Your video adventure starts here. Set yourself up in a quiet room, with good WiFi. Not sure if it’s quiet enough? Record a test video first. Then you’ll be able to tell if there’s an echo (or if you need to be closer to your router).
2. Let there be light (but not too much)
I love natural light. But when you’re recording a video, you’ve got to make sure you’re using light in the right way. It’s important to face the source of light (ideally a window), or turn on the overhead lights in the room if there’s no window. Windows can be tricky, so while you do want to face a window, at the same time you have to make sure there is no window behind you. The camera will focus on that window, which will cast a shadow over your face. No one wants that.
3. A little tidying goes a long way
Next, look at the space around you. Is it neat? No matter what your video is for, it’s a chance to make a good impression. A cluttered background can be distracting and will pull attention away from you. So make sure that what people are seeing in the background is clean and organized. Tidy up as if people were actually coming to your home to meet with you.
4. Eye contact is everything
The camera should be eye-level or slightly above (think selfie-style, low angles are unflattering) and about an arm’s distance away. Placing your laptop on a stack of books is a great way to accomplish this – make sure to leave a bit of room between your head and the top of the frame.
5. Storage can make or break the whole thing
If you are recording files directly to your laptop, make sure your laptop has ample storage space, at least 5GB (you can find out how much storage you have left by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner of your computer > About This Mac > Storage).
6. Mic check one, two
If you have a USB mic, use it and make sure it’s selected in Zoom. If not, wired headphones are a great alternative. If you’re using AirPods, only use them as the speaker, your computer audio will be a better mic than the AirPods can provide. Still not sure if they’re working? Test your mic here and test your webcam here.
7. Bonus! Dress the part
I know I said sweatpants were fair game. Don’t worry, they still are. This tip is really about how to dress the top half of your body when you’re recording a video. Prints and patterns are a great way to show off your personality, but on video, they can be distracting. So if the video you’re recording is an interview or a presentation that’ll be shared and viewed by a lot of people, you’re better off sticking with a solid shirt. And as much as we all love them, solid color sweatshirts don’t fit the bill. Instead, wearing layers or a simple long-sleeved shirt will get you looking camera-ready in no time.
And that’s a wrap!