Author: Chelsea Bland
The current health crisis has more of us joining meetings, conducting interviews and connecting with our friends and family virtually. This means our camera phones and web cameras are working overtime to keep us connected.
We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you navigate video conferencing. Even the most video-savvy among us can use a reminder on how to create well-lit and clear videos the next time we need to do a virtual meeting, interview or panel discussion.
One more thing! Need a background for your next Zoom call? Check out these AFGE-themed backgrounds. Tip: They work best if you don't check the 'I have a green screen' or 'Mirror my video' boxes under the virtual background settings.
This may take some creativity to raise your device to the appropriate level. Don’t crouch or hunch over the camera! Try using books, shoe boxes, or a tripod or laptop stand if you have one. Doing this avoids awkward angles during your interview. You should be centered in the shot and we shouldn’t be able to see the ceiling.
This can be hard because most of our homes have overhead lighting. You can try sitting in front of a window with the light shining on you. Do not position your back to the window!
If you’re able, turn on the camera on the device you’ll be using for the virtual video and try out various positions to get the angle you want. Remember the first tip! If you’re doing a video news interview you can also video chat a friend or colleague beforehand to practice answering potential questions. They can give you feedback on how you’re looking on camera.
When possible test your audio connection on the platform you’ll be using. You want to make sure your audio comes through clearly. Also, make sure you have a strong wi-fi or data connection in order to maintain your internet connectivity throughout the call.
This is an important tip for video interviews and meetings. It’s somewhat awkward because we’re used to looking at our screens instead of the embedded camera.
If you have a prepared statement or talking points you want to hit during a meeting or interview, it’s helpful to position them as close to the camera as possible. Think of it as your own personal teleprompter!
Select a neutral or complementary background for your video.
This again can be tricky depending on your home situation. To the extent possible you want to select a neutral background or office-like setting. In this case a plain white or beige wall can come off as a bit drab, but you have to work with what you have!
Make sure the background doesn’t include any of your personal identifying information, it’s clutter-free to the extent possible, and there are no lights shining in the background. This will make you appear dark.
Video interviews are a great opportunity to wear your AFGE gear. Avoid wearing a government-issued uniform.