Even if you do not have an RSS production kit at your home, there are many simple techniques you can use to make your audio and video quality very good. Here are a few tips and tricks for you.
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Most modern high definition cameras are all capable of producing good, if not great, video quality.
Whether in a smart phone, laptop or desktop, digital cameras are all controlled by sensors that automatically adjust settings depending on lighting conditions.
Under low-light environments, the image will look grainy, lack color, and have blurry motion – but with properly lit environments, the image and the movement in frame will be crisp and clear.
To best achieve proper lighting without any specialty equipment, we recommend you choose a setting with ample natural lighting and windows.
Sometimes you cannot choose the location you are working in, and it may not be possible to record or broadcast a video in a space with plenty of natural light.
In these instances, you can make do with standing lamps or table lamps. They do not have to be fancy, and to get started you only need two – one for each side of your face.
This is called two-point lighting, and it is preferable to a single lamp, which can cast unsightly shadows or make your face too bright and blown-out.
What to Avoid
Now that your camera has proper lighting, it should be producing a high quality image. But we still need to be aware of how the camera is angled and what it is looking at (besides you, of course).
Here are a few simple suggestions on how to improve your overall video frame using household items.
First, if you are using a laptop, it is likely going to be lower than your eye-level, meaning that you will be looking down at the camera as you speak.
This typically does not look good, so we suggest you raise your computer up using a cardboard box, a stack of books, or any other items you have around the house.
You want to avoid having a cluttered or off-angle frame. And after your raise your computer up to a proper height in the previous section, it is easy to achieve a simple, clean-looking camera frame.
It is always OK to add a bit of personality to your videos, but remember that the less distractions you have in the background, the more that your audience can focus on you and what you are saying.
The trick to getting good sound isn’t buying a fancy microphone or building out a fancy home studio (but those can certainly help).
Controlling space, your environment and your delivery will drastically improve your audio quality without spending any money. Here is how.
Regardless of which option you choose for your microphone, we recommend that you always wear headphones or earphones of some kind rather than use the built-in speakers on your computer. This will prevent echo and feedback.
Computer Setup for Microphones and Speakers
Before your recording, meeting, or video broadcast, double check your System Preferences settings to make sure your microphone and headphones are set properly.
Other Audio Considerations
Most modern microphones sound good if used properly.
Whether on a smartphone, laptop, headphones or a professional microphone, microphones largely depend on 2 factors to sound good:
- The closer you are to a microphone (within reason), the better you will sound. This is why you hold a phone up to the side of your mouth when you talk on the phone, or hold a microphone up to your mouth when you are speaking at a conference or singing karaoke.
- The quieter your environment and the room you are in, the better your audio will sound. It is hard to sound good in a recording if you have loud traffic noises, cars, dogs barking, and kids yelling in the background. It is also hard to sound good if your room has a reverberations and echoes, or loud background ambient noises like AC or fans.
If you have a choice in the room you can record or broadcast your video from, choose the quietest room you can find.
Internet and Computer Settings
Finally there are a few simple considerations to make when you are preparing your computer for a video recording or broadcast.
Wired vs. Wireless
No matter how fast or stable your wireless internet connection is, there is always a chance that it can drop out or fluctuate if you are depending on WiFi.
Under no circumstances do we recommend using WiFi if you have the ability to connect to your modem using a wired Ethernet cable.
Ethernet connections will typically always have fewer packet losses, along with faster upload and download speeds.
We recommend you take a speed test prior to your video session in order to determine if you need to improve it. The lowest recommended speeds are 10 megabits download speed and 10 megabits upload speed.
If you are not achieving these speeds, we recommend the following:
- Move your computer to a wired connection.
- Check to see if your computer is in the middle of any background tasks like downloading updates, uploading files like photos or backups of documents, or anything else like this.
- See if anyone else in your home is using significant bandwidth, such as playing videogames, watching movies or TV shows, or downloading large files.
Computer settings to double check before a recording or broadcast
- Always remember to plug in your computer if you are using a laptop. Not only will you ensure your computer battery does not die during your video production, most laptops operate faster and with more power if they are connected to external power sources.
- Close out of all applications that you do not need for your video session. The fewer programs that you have open, the more processing power and RAM your computer will have access to.
- Turn off computer notifications. Notifications can be distracting when you are trying to lecture, and they can get in the way of your computer screen if you are sharing materials. You can find instructions on turning them off here:
Mac Notifications Settings
Windows Notification Settings
- If possible, the day before a broadcast or recording, we recommend you check to make sure all of your software is up to date. This could include Zoom, PowerPoint, your Operating System, and any additional software you are using.