If you are looking for a more holistic approach to creating your own content, gear, instruction and support – check out the vidwheel Creator Network. We can help you unlock your ability to create powerful, professional video.

 

In this video, we go over the best practices when it comes to your webcam setup. We want you to get the best quality possible using the gear you already own. The video is broken up into four sections, which are video quality, audio quality, lighting, and staging.

Free webcam setup coaching session – https://vidwheel.com/free-webcam-coaching-session/

The gear we are using in our setup:
Panasonic GH5 (with 12-35mm Lens) – https://amzn.to/3dHjX9T
Blue Yeti Mic – https://amzn.to/2WkEt8w
Mirabox Capture Card – https://amzn.to/2Ux85Qf
10″ LED Ring Light – https://amzn.to/2xmpIJX

The gear we discuss:
Logitech 920 HD Webcam – https://amzn.to/2YoEryS
Blue Snowball USB Mic – https://amzn.to/2UuWdOO

____________

Transcript:

Neil K Carroll [00:00:00] We’re all in a very different reality than we were just a week, week and a half ago. Covid-19 and the way it has changed our behaviors has changed everything. This is a video series inspired by that. 

Your Webcam Setup – Getting the Most Out of What You Have

Neil K Carroll [00:00:17] Not surprisingly, we’re seeing a lot more webcam generated content on LinkedIn and YouTube, and everybody’s got a full slate of Zoom meetings coming up. So let’s take a look at your webcam setup. This video is meant to get you the best quality out of gear you already have. We are going to offer up a few low priced options that will also improve your setup. You may also be interested in our Free Webcam Setup Coaching Session. You can sign up with the link that just popped up in the cards or in the description. 

Neil K Carroll [00:00:49] OK. This video is going to be broken up into four sections. The first is video quality. Next is audio quality, lighting, and staging. At the end of each section, you’ll have the option to dive deeper into each of those subjects. 

Neil K Carroll [00:01:04] First things first. This rig that I’m shooting on right now is a little bit higher than what you’re going to be able to achieve on your webcam setup. It’s GH5 with lighting in a USB mic. I will list out all of this gear in the description. But for the purposes of this video, let’s look at a very typical webcam setup. 

Video Quality

Neil K Carroll [00:01:27] OK, so right now we’re shooting with a run of the mill webcam. A Logitech 920 HD. It’s a very common unit. And we wanted to shoot with it to kind of show you where we can get to from this. So overall, the quality of the shot is not great. Let’s start with positioning. This is kind of the easiest thing. I see a lot of videos like this, but this is not a good look. You know you get a little bit of a double chin thing going. Uh, you can kind of see up somebody’s nose. 

Neil K Carroll [00:02:00] You want that camera to be eye level or higher. So we are just going to make a real quick adjustment there. The other thing you can do that’s typically a very big improvement is just kind of fill the frame. The best practice with any interview style video shoot is that you want that camera at eye level or even a little bit higher. So this is a much better look. It looks more natural. It’s going to be more flattering for the speaker; being you in this case. Just by adjusting the webcam setup we’ve also fixed another issue. I was sitting way too far back from the camera, and I know a lot of people are maybe not comfortable seeing themselves fill out the frame. But ultimately, that’s what you want. The lower end of the video camera market, which would include webcams, don’t have the sharpest lenses. So by getting closer, you’re not only filling the frame, but you’re also really helping your camera kind of show you as best it can. Right. It’s still not going to be super crisp, but it’s going to work better than if you’re across the room and it’s trying to focus you in. The other thing to think about here is the last time you’re in a Zoom meeting. Right. And you’ve got all those little video feeds coming down the side of the display or the top. However, you have it set up if you are not filling the frame of your camera. Nobody is going to be able to tell you’re there. They’re not going to be able to see you. Look at it the next time you’re in and decide what looks better or what looks more professional; filling the frame there and actually being a person involved in the meeting or being way off like inevitably somebody in that meeting will be. 

Audio Quality

Neil K Carroll [00:03:59] Next, we’re going to pipe in a little bit of artificial noise to prove how difficult it is to hear someone and how distracting it can be to have a lot of background noise. The mics on webcams are not terribly sophisticated. They’re going to pick up a lot of background noise. So pick the spot that’s quiet. Again, that little move that we made to get in better framing position also is going to improve the audio quite a bit through the webcam. Being close to the mic is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your audio. 

Neil K Carroll [00:04:31] Now, if you wanna level up even more, what you can do is try a USB mic. They’re readily available. We’ll include one in the video description, but they can make a huge difference in the audio quality. 

Neil K Carroll [00:04:45] Another really common issue of webcam shooting is echo. If you’re in a really empty room, echo can be really hard to deal with. You might consider moving to a room with a couch or throwing down a rug or really any kind of furniture that breaks up those large flat surfaces is going to help a lot with echo. 

Neil K Carroll [00:05:06] Now, that’s how we’re going to cover for the audio in this general setup video. If you’d like to learn more, or drill down and a couple of specific areas. We’ll have cards relating to audio coming up there. Again, video links in the video description notes. 

Lighting

Neil K Carroll [00:05:27] OK. I didn’t give you the true worst-case scenario of this room with the webcam because I had my blinds closed. You can see now, though, just how strong that sunlight can be. That just blows out one side my face while the other side is completely dark. On top of that, we have a tungsten colored bulb in the ceiling fixture and it causes a lot of confusion with the webcam between – What color balance should I use? So in general, in this situation, you end up looking a little bit blue. There are a couple of things you can do here to help. The first is to shut the blinds. As you can see, closing the blinds helps somewhat, but it’s still hot on the side of my face. So the next step is to either continue to block out light. You can try masking out this window. We’ve got construction paper back here that will demo that on; on a future video. The other thing is to simply add more light. Now, this is a low-cost ring light that we’ll put a link to in the description and we’ll see if we get a card for it, too. That does a great job in kind of creating a much more even setup. And the other thing you can do is to turn off that overhead light and it gets rid of a lot of that color mixing that’s going on. So from a lighting perspective, it’s a lot better, that simple, inexpensive fix. Otherwise, you know, you can get do masking curtains and so on. 

Neil K Carroll [00:07:06] OK. One other word of warning. If you go ahead and you mask out a window like this, you can end up with this space that’s too dark. Now, if you have a space that’s too dark and you don’t have a ring light like we do or something else, you can just get a lamp. A simple desk lamp will do. Aim it at the wall in front of you or even at the ceiling. What you’re trying to do is diffuse the light by bouncing it off of other surfaces. So if you take a desk light you put it right here and just blast yourself in the face, you are not really going to be able to see probably. It’s going to create really harsh shadows on your face and it’s just not going to work out that well. So try bouncing it off the wall in front of you or even the ceiling and seeing what that does for you light-wise. That’s all we’re going to go into in terms of lighting in this general video. Look for the cards for deeper dives and lengths in the video description. 

Staging

Neil K Carroll [00:08:10] The last thing we’re gonna look at is staging. OK. This is a pretty simple one. More or less you don’t want to too crazy and busy. You don’t want it to spartan and boring. Right? Now, I have a lot of stuff that I left out here before the shoot. Part of the reason that I did that was so that we can clean it up and you can kind of see side by side comparison of – Wow! That looks better kind of thing. So here we go. So this is a better looking shot than what it was just a moment ago. So I’ve reset myself here. And part of it is, is I cleaned up a bit and you have to clean up everything because you can, of course, just use yourself to mask some of the stuff in the background of your video if you want to. This is all the more reason to fill out the frame. The more you fill out, the less you have to clean up. 

Neil K Carroll [00:09:10] Clutter is distracting when you can see it in a web video or even on a video call. So a couple of books, you know, something here or there, something that shows some personality. Great. But keep the clutter to a minimum. The same thing goes the other way. Try to add a little something of interest without being distracting. Even the corner of a room is a little more interesting than a plain white wall. That’s going to do it for the staging section of this video. We’ll have links up in the cards and in the description for this video. Please check them out if you want to learn more. 

Conclusion

Neil K Carroll [00:09:51] All right. Let’s see how we’ve done. Which one of these two shots look better? 

Neil K Carroll [00:09:59] Thank you for taking the time to check out this video. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions or suggestions of what you’d like to see covered next and take advantage of that free coaching session. I mean, it’s free. Subscribe to this channel and share this video with anybody you think it can help. Thank you again.