We Nigerians find it important to look great. Nobody really wants to carry last on this matter most times; so we usually try to up our game regarding how we look. Operation #PepperDemGang
Covid-19, however, has forced us to stay indoors and our finest apparels stashed away till further notice. Though we had been used to physical meetings, classes, and religious services, now, our new normal is ‘virtual’ as we attend most meetings/classes on video conferences hosted by Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams and the likes.
Last week, a colleague shared a screenshot of a meeting we had via Zoom and I looked terrible! My camera angles were poor and so was the lighting. It spurred me into reading and researching on how I can look better on video calls. I bet most of us can relate. Do you want to look great on video calls too? I’ve found the secrets!
These secrets I’ll be sharing, are insights from an article written by Jaydee Cassidy Media (a fast-rising Media Agency here in Nigeria) on how to improve our appearance called “Looking Great on Camera”
Remember, our goal is never to be caught unfresh, to always be on point. So, start with the basics- comb your hair, have a nice shave, or apply your makeup and think strategically about your clothing. Please avoid wearing a busy plaid or patterned outfit as it could be a distraction to your viewers- you certainly don’t want that. Usually, a plain, solid color will help bring out the best you.
However, Jaydee advises to steer clear of shirts that are bright white or dark black because they make you look off.
This is where most people fall their hands in web conferences. Ensure that you are in a properly lit room. If the voltage is low, it’s better you put your generator to the rescue. Infact, if it’s a very serious meeting, use your generator from the start, because you don’t want your light going off in the middle of a presentation. Also, avoid having situations where half of your face is shaded or blocked in some way- use steady lamp, directly by your face, for even, steady lighting. Lastly, avoid sitting with your back to the window, as the camera will expose for the light and make you into a silhouette. Instead, flip it, and face the window, which will give you soft, people-pleasing light.
You don’t want anything competing with your face. The attention should be on your face and not what is behind you. Some people like backgrounds with portraits, awards, or their bookshelf but a plain background is better as it eliminates distractions allowing your face to shine.
You know how ‘African parents’ take selfies with the camera awkwardly positioned, resulting into a distorted photograph? That is what you want to avoid. Normally, the closer you are to a wide-angle camera (like your phone or webcam), the more distorted you look. So, Jaydee suggests that you step back from the camera for a better look.
Don’t have the webcam looking up at you. You don’t want every one gaining access into the contents of your nostrils, do you? Eye to eye contact is the best connection. Look at that camera directly, straight ahead. Some people recommend having the camera look down at you, but Jaydee doesn’t buy that.
How to do that when the webcam is physically below your eye? Stack a bunch of books under your laptop until you see the webcam eye to eye.
While we just told you to step away and not be so close, don’t be so far away that the microphone won’t hear you. We all know that person that asks “can you hear me?” almost every few minute of speaking. We won’t want that to be us. For improved audio, Jaydee recommends using an accessory mic, which will make you sound way better. You can grab a microphone that plugs into the USB port of your laptop from N4,500 and above from Jumia or A Boya By-m1 Lavalier Microphone from Konga.
P.S: Don’t forget to mute the microphone when listening. Otherwise, everybody gets to hear you typing away.
Now that our sound has been sorted, a final touch on our looks. Since many people have discovered that if they’re going to be on Zoom and other video conferences all day, they want to look their best, Jaydee suggests investing between N15,000 to N20,000 on a separate webcam that helps you can get a sharper look than your regular webcam so that you would be looking on point.
Logitech, which dominates webcam manufacturing, is still sold out of all of its products. The Brio, which broadcasts in 4K resolution and normally sells for N17000, is sold out on Konga except third-party resellers, who are asking N25000 and up.
Canon Nigeria last week announced a preorder of webcam starting from N20000. A set of a webcam and an accessory mic starting at N28000, check them out. With the coupon JCassidy, you get a 15% discount. You are welcome. *winks.
Alternatively, pull that old DSLR out from underneath your bed and connect it to the computer to use instead.
By Maryam DanHabu, Eneze Adava, Osetemega Iribiri