Viewing our favorite personalities and key figures speaking to the media from their homes is the new normal using either Skype or Zoom. Regardless of the times, situations or environment you will want to ensure the scene looks as professional and viewer friendly as possible.
PushingLimits presents a few tips that can help you.
Set up your camera so that your face is nicely framed. Try positioning the camera so that the lower edge of the frame is in the upper part of your chest, roughly in line with the third button of a dress shirt. Position the top of the frame about a hand's width above your head.
It’s better to have the phone or laptop, whichever you are using, either in line with or at least a finger length above your face. You don't want to be positioned above the device. You don’t want the camera capturing from chest or neck up as the angle view. This is not the most pleasing.
Remember, raise your camera up to a level where you’re looking straight at it or slight up but definitely you don't want to be looking down at it. Position the lens just above your eye line. This will help to give you a more natural look as well as avoid the dreaded nose shot. One's neck and lower face tends to look bigger from those horrible angles. In other words, say no to the double chin situation.
An easy way to check if you're getting it right is to see whether the camera is capturing your ceiling. If it is, then you're not nailing it. Look behind and see what the wall or image that is in line with your head looks like and if you are seeing that reflected on the video image on your screen, then you're just about good to go.
Tip - Keep a stool around as this can help elevate your laptop or mobile phone on its tripod.
This is not the positioning you want where the head/face is looking down
at the screen and webcam.
This height and angle is the appropriate option.
This is also a correct position.
Test your microphone
For sound, your voice should come through without any echoes, hums or buzzing. If in doubt, invest in a headset. It's better to wear one than to have poor sound quality that will distract from what you say.
Check the lighting, Prepare the Space
Your image should be plainly visible without being too bright or too dark. While it's true you're not making a feature film here, get your skin tones to appear as natural as you can by adjusting the camera's settings, the angle of the room's lights and the window shades. The background is also a key. Try to get one as clear as possible and without much distractions. Calendars etc are a no no. Look out for unwanted shadows.
Set up a professional-looking space that won't distract from the conversation.
Pay attention to your body language.
Focus on sitting up straight and making eye contact, which is a lot more difficult than it may appear. Try to keep your eyes on the monitor with focus on the camera or webcam. Try to stay interested in the conversation, or at least try to look that way.
When you do, interviewers will see you looking at them directly.Lean forward, and nod during the conversation so the interviewers can see that you're engaged.
Try recording your interviews and review them. It helps for the next time. Practicing using your mobile phone or laptop and doing a few takes also goes a long way in your being ready and coming across in the best way possible.
by Shaun Fuentes, media trainer and interview coach, trained by TJ Walker - a New York-based consultant who has trained Miss Universe and Miss World contestants, NFL and NBA players as well as leaders across the globe on dealing with the media.
"I like beauty to be a bit edgy, not typical. For me, the only rule is looking good." - Francois Nars