A great video conferencing platform is key for any successful video call online. But what if you’ve already taken care of that? We’re going to assume that you’re already signed up with Banty for now, if only for a free-trial. You’re already plugged into the perfect video conferencing system. With that assumption in mind, the next pertinent question becomes: Is there anything else I can do to improve my video chatting experience? The short answer to that question is yes. After signing-up with Banty, there are more things you can work on to optimise every video call online! Let’s help you with some of them.
Visually speaking, some might say that your video conferencing software is only as good as your camera. A good camera however, can be pretty subjective for cameras in the same price range. Experiment with your camera’s ideal lighting conditions until you deduce the best lighting for virtual meetings with your particular setup.
Factors to experiment with include how directly or indirectly your camera lens is exposed to one or multiple sources of light, the brightness of the light, and whether it’s filtered through a window or some kind of coloured glass. Is the main source of light in your room a window? A light bulb? A lamp? All three, or several of those? Experiment with curtains, lamp positioning, and brightness to find the lighting conditions ideal for your video call.
You had to have seen this coming as the second point. If light is the most basic factor for visibility in a video call, your camera is what receives and processes that factor for the folks at the other end to see! To optimise video chatting with other people, get into your camera’s settings.
Most of the cameras out there have adjustable settings, and a few of them have options for default ideal adjustment to lighting conditions. This option is meant for novices at lighting, like most of us are (including yours truly). Of course, if your camera is terribly unsuitable and you’re currently able to replace it, that would be ideal. No matter what the video conferencing solutions are, some cameras outlive their usefulness pretty quickly. This is not necessarily a function of price or age. Very high quality cameras typically come with warranties precisely because mistakes might have been made in production.
After you’ve figured out your camera’s ideal settings under your space’s lighting conditions, it’s time to look at positioning. Take a little time to test the camera’s projection of your image from different positions. Whether your camera is built into your device or external, how you place it can have a huge impact on your appearance during a video call. If your camera is built into a laptop, try adjusting the screen’s position. If it’s external, or you’re using a lightweight device, try positioning it with the help of other items. Typically some people use books, shelves, mini-desks atop regular tables or adjustable desks altogether. Some of these solutions can also be applied to laptop cameras. If your device is a cell phone or tablet you can also use a flexible mount to adjust the position to your exact preference for a better video conversation or meeting.
I do confess that we’re going through these factors pretty intuitively. That’s because Banty is a very intuitive video platform. The microphone you use is another major factor towards the impression you give off during a video meeting or a video chat. You don’t need a very expensive microphone for a regular video call, or the average video conference. If the one on your device isn’t ideal for you, there are some very efficient models out there going for very reasonable prices. There are USB microphones under $35 USD or $40 CAD which are ideal for video conferencing. Of course, if you’re in the market for a very high quality microphone and professional setup is an option for you, that’s a step-up for your video call, but beyond an $80 USD or $100 CAD price tag, these advantages are all cosmetic.
One thing to consider aside from settings and positioning is; echo. Whatever the brand of your microphone, depending on the room you’re in, echo can be an issue. Now, some software can remove echo pretty seamlessly and the audio coding chip within many of the mics out there also does a spectacular job of that, but in case neither of those work for you, make sure to see if your microphone settings allow cancelling feedback. Beyond that, the basic solutions work best. The physical ones. The reasons for echo vary from the molecular structure of the surfaces reflecting it, to these surfaces’ shapes, but don’t worry. We don’t need to get into acoustics. All you need to do is experiment with echoes in your space of choice. More often than not, it’ll be fine. If not, consider changing the space.
This one was unexpected, no? But yes, you yourself are a very important factor in the success of your video call. When you’re considering the positions of the camera and the mic, you’re doing so in a trifecta of sorts. As you adjust their positions, you need to adjust yours. In a flawlessly lit, audio-reliable space, you might not need to adjust your position at all. Simply adjust the equipment’s positions in relation to yourself. However, if the location is less than perfect then yes, you will need to adjust yourself as well.
Aside from your position in relation to the camera, lighting and microphone, your inner projection is important as well. How excitable your voice sounds can affect how others perceive you through a video meeting platform. To keep winning at video calls and video conferencing in general, your voice needs to be steady and appropriately intoned. This means that while your voice needs to sound even it can’t be monotonous.
Your appearance also needs to be consistent with the kind of virtual event you’re attending. For example our service, Banty Virtual Events, hosts all kinds of video conferences and conventions. If you’re attending a virtual event for actuarians, insurance brokers, or healthcare workers like; doctors, hospital administrators or pharmacists, you may want to dress accordingly. If you’re attending a virtual event for costume players that’s another way to present yourself entirely. On the other hand, if you’re just having a regular video meeting with some friends for a digital re-union, you may want to present yourself nicely but casually. To win at a video call; approach it with confidence, take your time speaking, and present yourself the way you’d like to be seen. Which intuitively ties in to the final point.
Preparing to succeed at your video meeting is definitely one of those last but not least situations. After all, it forms the basic building block for all of the above mentioned tips and more. You’re even preparing just by reading this article! However, preparation merits a mention all on its own because none of the above mentioned points do it justice, despite being aspects of it.
There’s an old saying attributed to an ancient philosopher about the importance of preparation. The gist of it is that if you have four hours to chop down a tree, spend three of them sharpening your axe. Think of certain delicacy vendors who only sell for a limited time each day. Far more time is spent by them preparing the food.
That’s all good and well, but what else can you prepare for? The answer is, quite a lot. You could prepare presentation props if you’re on a professional video call, or giving an actual, full presentation on Banty. You could prepare conversational props if you’re using Banty socially. You could write down informational prompts on your screen, on another device, or even on paper! If you’re a doctor video calling a patient you could pull up the patient’s file beforehand. If you’re attending a video call to develop technical repair skills, you can come prepared with your tools to mimic your instructor’s actions.
There's more. If you need to set a certain mood to present yourself with confidence as described in the point above (point number 4. Yourself), you could adjust the scent of the room to your liking and make visual arrangements to your taste outside the camera’s view. If you’re learning to draw from an art teacher you could prepare the space to illustrate on your desk beforehand during the positioning, as well as bring your stationary! The possibilities for preparation are endless really, if you’re looking to win at your video call.
And that’s a wrap. The hints elaborated on in the five points you’ve just read should help you optimise your teleconferencing experience, whatever video platform you currently use or video calling solution or software you’re currently limited to, but they would help you a lot more using one of our specialised, high-performing Banty platforms. Read more about our presentation aids, security features, customisable web presence and versatile visibility options. Then get yourself in for a free-trial of any of our regular subscription solutions at zero cost or obligation to you. 14 days straight. No joke. Sign up now.