Lights, Camera, Zoom

| May 13, 2021

We may all be (hopefully) moving towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the changes that it has brought to business will be here to stay. Restrictions on gatherings forced businesses to make their meetings remote, and provided a huge jump start to the necessary technology.  Businesses large and small are now proficient on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and have found them to be efficient, cost effective, and professional. This is expected to continue long after the pandemic is a bad memory.

We have all learned the basics: frame yourself in the camera, mute yourself when just listening, be aware of your background ….. But there are also small investments that you can make which will improve your remote video presentation dramatically.  This article is for people without high tech skills, who want to improve their zoom presentation, without spending a lot of money.

There are three pieces of equipment to add around your computer: a webcam (camera), a podcast microphone, and video conference lighting.  Each one will make a much bigger difference than you think – and each one will cost less than you expect.

Anyone interested in upgrading their remote presentation should do some internet shopping.  Products are displayed on Amazon, and on the websites of companies.  In addition, there are many reviews on You Tube where products are compared, set up, and tested – which will give you both the information you need to make a decision, and ideas for how to further improve your presentation.

WEBCAM:  If you are using the camera in your laptop, then consider making a dramatic improvement by purchasing a webcam.  These are small; they plug and play right into your PC or MAC; and sit neatly on your laptop or desk. The Nexigo N660P Pro is an excellent value, find it at the link here. It provides high definition resolution with a first-rate auto-focus. It performs very well even in poor lighting. It has a privacy shutter that allows you to move to privacy manually without changing the visual settings on your computer. It is completely plug and play, without any software or drivers to download. It interfaces seamlessly with zoom, and you easily select it in your zoom video options. You can find them on line at between $50 and $70.

MICROPHONE:  There is a microphone built into your laptop that is not good. There is a microphone built into most webcams (including the Nexigo N66P) which is better, but just okay.  Then there are podcast microphones that are great, and greatly improve how you sound.  The recommendation here is the Blue Microphones Yeti Nano, find it a the link here. It offers 24-bit sound quality, with easy controls and a very handy mute button that allows you to mute manually without touching your zoom settings.  It also has an attractive design that just looks professional. It is completely plug and play without software or drivers to download.  You easily select the microphone on your zoom audio settings.  Cost is $90 to $100.

LIGHTING:  Lighting is very important, and just very hard to do with your lights about the home. Jelly Comb lighting kits, found at the link here, come in a variety of styles and provide great light for your zoom meetings.  They are built to sit on your laptop, or on a stand.  Putting it on the laptop puts the light right in your eyes, so the best results come from using the stand placed slightly above you, and angled down.  It is small, very portable, with a rechargeable battery. A complete kit, with adjustable Bicolor LED light, built in battery for long time lighting, and adjustable stand can be had for $50 – $70.

Total investment is about $250, and it is money well spent to get you ready for the next generation of business.


Category: Technology

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