7 Tips for Setting Up a Webcam Chat with Strangers
7 Tips for Setting Up a Webcam Chat with Strangers
You’re not the only one who has been struggling to use video chat with strangers for training or teaching online. Many of us are trying to adjust to the reality of being in front of cameras after an unprecedented pandemic. This will allow us to maintain our work and education continuity, as well as the human connections that can be helpful as we all go through this difficult time.
While there is growing evidence that video can be beneficial in higher education, as well as corporate training, some instructors and educators have avoided creating video content in the past. There are many reasons for this: Some feel self-conscious about video recording or lack of experience, while others prefer face-to-face interactions.
It’s now easier than ever to capture a video that looks great! Panopto, a modern video platform, allows you to stream live and record any lecture, meeting or event using just a webcam. All it takes is a click. With just a few clicks, you can also have live virtual face-to–face conversations using video conferencing tools like Zoom, BlueJeans and Skype (now part Team), or random video chat apps like Camsurf, MiraMi or Camzap.
We want your random video call to look professional and polished without any big production. This will allow you to concentrate on the content.
You can record your first video or use it as a tool to communicate with your students and teachers. There are always new things to learn. These are seven of our top tips to help you create great instructional videos.
7 Tips to Make Webcam Videos Look Awesome
1. Wear Comfortable Clothing for Every Occasion
You should wear something that’s appropriate for you and your audience. A MIT study that examined 6.9 million video viewings in four edX courses found that educational video content is more effective when it combines the personal touch of an instructor with instructional slides. You only need to wear your top half for the recording. So, wearing pants in your next video will be completely optional.
You should keep a professional appearance for the part you will be appearing on camera. Avoid blazers and shirts with distracting patterns.
Recording to chat to strangers is easy with webcams
2. Flatter Yourself with Your Webcam Placement
Camera angles can magnify your facial features or distort your appearance. If you don’t like how the final product looks, video is always a challenge.
It is possible to achieve the look you desire by simply positioning your webcam correctly. You can use a USB webcam, or a built-in webcam, to ensure that your camera lens is at eye level.
After your webcam has been installed, don’t sit too close. A recent Zogby Analytics survey found that 15% of those who cam with strangers felt most offended by people sitting too close to the camera during a video conference. Hearing people eat was slightly less annoying. Your webcam should be placed far enough away from your face to capture your shoulders, and the entirety of your face.
3. Soft lighting from the front
Webcams capture better-looking videos when there is good lighting. Avoid locations that have low light or excessive back lighting when choosing a location to record. Webcams can often struggle with windows in the background. Bad lighting can make your video look washed out or worse, it could leave you looking shadowy.
Ideal lighting is from the front, with indirect, soft light. You should also minimize any other lighting, especially from windows or other light sources.
A ring lamp is an effective and cost-effective solution that can be bought for as low as $20. You can also use light bulbs you already have in your home. You can place a lamp with a shade in front of your webcam or use this DIY studio lighting trick.
4. Take a look behind you!
Even though you are the focal point of your webcam video, it is important to remember what’s behind. Everything will be noticed by your audience and can distract from your presentation. Avoid clutter and avoid anything that is too busy. Also, keep your background clear of windows that allow in natural light. It is best to choose a plain background.
5. Get in touch with your audience by making eye contact and smiling
Public speaking is all about eye contact. This applies to video as well. It’s fine to glance at your presentation materials occasionally, but you should remember to look through your webcam lens and smile while you present yourself to chat with strangers. Don’t forget your chatblink!
It can be tempting to look at your camera if you have your recording software showing your video feed in the corner. However, this will cause you to lose eye contact with the camera. We recommend that you turn off this feature if at all possible.
6. A USB Microphone Provides Better Sound Quality To Chat with Strangers
Sound is more important than you might think. People can see an instructional video with poor audio and still understand the content, but it will be difficult to understand a recording with excellent video and poor audio.
When recording video, most people are so focused on the image that they neglect to consider how important quality audio is. You should test the microphone in your laptop or webcam before you purchase it. A USB microphone will reduce background noise better. You can purchase a USB condenser microphone for as low as $20 or $50.
Also, make sure to reduce other noises in the space. You should turn off any fans or machines that could create excessive white noise. If noise from outside is an issue, place a sign at your door to let people know that a recording is underway.
7. Try a Test Video and Practice with Your Webcam Setup
Recording a test random video chat is a great idea, especially if you are recording in a new place or with new equipment. Not only do you need to ensure that your setup looks and sounds good, but it also helps you to practice giving presentations in front of a camera. Although you might feel comfortable in front of a class, it’s possible to feel uncomfortable teaching video.
You can also prepare a script if you are still having nerves. A teleprompter can be helpful — there are many teleprompter applications available for smartphones and tablets. If you are comfortable presenting to live audiences, it may be worth having someone behind your webcam to record your first few recordings. This will allow you to present to real people.
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