While things may be opening up, getting to a conference to deliver a keynote may still be difficult for a variety of reasons. Don’t let physically being there limit your ability to participate because let’s be real, virtual and hybrid events are here to stay and we’re here to support you as you navigate the future of events.

 We’ve been around the event block a few times and quickly adjusted to virtual records at the height of COVID-19. Here are our tips to bring the production studio into your home office and help you create a more successful, and hopefully less stressful, recording outcome.

Tip #1:  Make sure the height of your camera is at eye level. You don’t want to appear as though you are looking down nor looking up at the camera. Assuring the camera is eye level will guarantee the audience feels like you are addressing them directly.

Tip #2: Lighting can make or break your at-home or home office video recording as much as poor audio can (check out tip #5 for audio). You want to always have the light in front of you but try not to sit directly in front of a window as it’ll blow you out and overexpose you. It’s best to have lights you can adjust so that if your lighting changes from any natural light spilling in through windows you can fix and offset the lighting change. There are many inexpensive LED light options out there that provide a lot of flexibility in color temperature, brightness and more. We recommend this inexpensive pair from Amazon, but in a pinch you can also use an external monitor with an all white background to light yourself. 

Tip #3: Be aware of your surroundings, especially your background. Get that waste basket out of there and remove the shirt hanging over your chair. Cleaning up the background presents a well thought out environment for a successful shoot. We also like the pop-up green screen approach when working with a video production agency, but the natural setting in your home office can look just as good if it’s clean and ready for your recording. If you decide to go the pop-up green screen route, be sure to grab a chair to lean it against or go for the Emart Portable Backdrop stand.

Tip #4: Don’t put too much space above you – leave just an inch or two above the top of your head when framing your shot. General rule of thumb is to sit just beyond an arm’s length away from the screen to show enough of you to the audience while also giving you the freedom to lean in when you want to make an important statement or sit back when you want something to sink in during your presentation.

Tip #5: If sound is an issue during your remote recording, AirPods or an equivalent (like the Anker Soundcore Earbuds for $40 from Amazon) can be a great way to solve for it. As an added bonus for those with longer hair, you can hide the AirPod in your ear so your audience doesn’t have to know about it. Be sure to test the quality of the sound first as sometimes wireless microphones and earbuds can cause bitrate issues. If wireless headphones aren’t your thing, that’s ok! We’ve also had folks use wired earbuds and tuck the headphones under the shirt while still using the built in microphone. Finally, if you have a lot of reverb and/or echo when filming, consider adding a few pillows around your desk directly in front of you to absorb the noise. If you have the ability to hang a blanket behind your computer out of view, even better! 

Tip #6: Connecting to the internet and having a successful stream can all end in the blink of an eye with an unplanned disruption in your service. A hardwired connection is always better than wifi so we recommend that you plug directly into your router via a Cat5 or Cat6 cable. We also recommend sharing with the rest of your roommates or family members that you will be doing a remote recording and to try to limit anyone else streaming web content, playing video games or video calling during your record. 

Tip #7: The most crucial tip, and the one many clients dismiss, a tech check! Whenever possible, doing all of the above steps to assure your presentation goes off without a hitch is paramount, and running a tech check should be just as important. It’ll help you walk into the actual recording setup for success and prepare you to tackle any day of technical issues that may arise. Having a great technical video team (like ours here at The Franchise Group) to support you also helps. 

WebCam or Smartphone?

When you are able, and recording on your own, we recommend using your Smartphone since most smartphones have a 4k camera built into the front and back of the phone so recording a higher resolution image is preferred. Having a nice smartphone tripod can also be a difference maker – we like this UBeeSize Selfie Stick from Amazon. 

If you don’t have the option and are recording with a video production team, using an inexpensive webcam can also help with the quality of the record. We really like the flexibility of the Logitech c920. It’s 1080p recording / microphone combo looks and sounds great in just about every environment we’ve used them in. They also sit very nicely over the top of your monitor keeping your line of sight with your audience directly in front of you. 

Above all else, confidence is key. We know remote recordings can feel awkward or unnatural, but with these tips you’ll be able to shift your focus to recording like a professional! 

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