How to get the perfect video call setup, whatever your budget
Video calls have become increasingly popular recently and are likely here to stay. You can give yourself a professional edge without spending a fortune on technology with just a few changes and upgrades that will fit within your budget. Three areas to evaluate are lighting and background, camera, and sound.
The biggest improvement that can be made is with your Lighting and Background. Here are a few smaller scale things you can do to make sure that make sure that you don’t look like a silhouette.
- Move to face a window or turn on a light/lamp ($) – Try facing a window and switching the lights on in the room you are in. Make sure the light is in front of you to not create shadows.
- Get a Ring Light ($$) – This circular LED light can be purchased cheaply off amazon and provides soft light that can be very flattering.
- Invest in professional LED Lights ($$$) – If you do a lot of video calls, steaming, or webinars then this may be the best investment for you. Try using at least two LED panel lights like Elgato Key Lights and position them on either side of you.
Your background is also very important. Try to use an environment that is simple and clutter free. If this isn’t possible then consider blurring your background. After evaluating your lighting, you could then look at upgrading your camera with these 3 budget options.
- Use your smart phone ($)– apps can easily turn a current cell phone into a webcam and steam the picture to your laptop.
- Buy an external webcam ($$)-Standard video calls need an external webcam with a resolution of 1080 HD.
- Bring out the DSLR ($$$)- These cameras come with a high price tag but will give you the sharpest, best-looking videos.
You may also want to check on the quality of your sound in your videos. An easy way to test this is by listening back to a recording of a recent call and comparing your sound quality with others. If improvements are needed here are 3 budget options:
- Adjust your settings ($) – If your default settings sound off, try adjusting them or reducing your background noise.
- Buy A USB headset and mic ($$)- These are relatively low cost and can make a dramatic improvement in sound.
- Go Wireless ($$$)- Try a lavalier mic (tie mic) or a Rode Wireless Go.
Any of these options can help improve aspects of your technology with a variety of options for a variety of different budgets.