Tips for an Optimum Outside Video Call

Ideas to help improve your calls outside the home and office

Making a video call online can happen in almost any location nowadays. As long as a connection to the internet is available. However, the most successful of those calls are usually made from a familiar indoor space. An office or at home. This is because video calls in a familiar indoor space can be physically set up for ideal video and audio conditions. That being said, there are a few things any of us can do to improve the experience of those calls outside of our homes and offices. Of course, it should go without saying that the first thing to do is to select the best video conferencing software so that doesn’t count as a tip. Outside of the ideal selection of video conferencing solutions and video chat platforms, is the physical approach. Some physical improvement details for indoor calls are available here, and for a better look at every video platform we offer at Banty, click here. Sometimes calling from home or the office isn’t an option though. Read below for a list of things to do when that happens, to optimise your communication.

1. Try your car

Fire up your video platform in your car. When denied use of your video platform at home or in your office, your car can often serve as the next best thing. Of course, make sure you’ve parked your car first! Never use a video chatting platform when you’re driving, the screen is dangerously distracting. Make sure to park somewhere safe. Since you’re parking for a virtual meeting you should also park somewhere quiet. Of course if your car is an RV doubling as your home at the moment, it’s an obvious choice for a video conference.

In a car, you need to make the balance between noise and ventilation. If you’re parked somewhere quiet, switch off the engine; along with the fan or air conditioner if you were using either of them. If you hadn’t already before you parked, crack open a window or maybe vent the sun roof if you have it. That way you can get enough air without worrying about noise. Ventilation is important because it affects your personal performance. Your ability to breathe and the temperature around you can affect how well you talk, whether you’re talking on video or in person.

On the other hand, if your only option to park is somewhere noisy, turn on your engine. Seal up all windows and openings into the car, and power on your fan or your AC. That way at least you drown out the more variable noise outside, can still breathe and speak at your ideal temperature, and the consistent sound from your motor and AC blend into the background of the call; further shielding the other caller(s) from the irregular noise outside.

2. Avoid Moving Your Device

You can use video call platforms to have a video call whilst walking or running but unless you’re demonstrating something in particular, or you’re having a casual conversation whilst pressed for time, avoid the temptation to do that. Video chat platforms are only as good as the circumstances of their use. To get the best from your video conferencing software it’s advisable to stay still. If using a car is not an option or there’s a particular reason that “outside” also needs to be “outdoors”, the advice is similar to when you’re conferencing from a car. Find a quiet spot with good lighting and almost no people. Watch out for noise from high wind or such. 

Once you find a spot which fits all of the above requirements, find a way to sit comfortably there, if at all possible. Like breathing and temperature, relaxation can enhance your performance during video meetings, whatever video meeting solutions you prefer. A well-positioned bench would be an ideal seat, but you could also find a safe low ledge if it’s not too uncomfortable. If you regularly and intentionally plan ahead for calls on video conferencing platforms, you might even bring your own portable and comfortable chair. It would also solve any issues you may have with the unknown cleanliness of public seating.

A great idea for a quiet outdoor place to make use of your video call platform is; empty parks. You can typically find one if you go at the least busy times. Avoid lunch hours or weekend day times. Avoiding crowds can be helpful for more than avoiding noise. Emptier spaces can also improve video streaming on some overloaded wireless data networks sometimes. Other ideas for empty spaces can include the beach or the waterfront during the least busy times, if you live near any large body of water. Just beware the sound of waves or high tide before firing up your video platform, if you decide to go to the beach. There are solutions to reduce noises when using a video chat platform but it’s always better to start at an advantage. Speaking of which:

3. Reduce Noise

One of the reasons using your video conferencing system at home or in the office is ideal; is because you supposedly have a greater measure of protection from background noise. Scrap that with regards to your home if you have a cat that regularly knocks things over or a dog that barks every time your child cries unpredictably or something. But if you’re stuck in an area where you have a reduced level of control for the noise that reaches your video conferencing system, like the outdoors mentioned above, there are still a few solutions that can help shield video conferencing apps from background noise. For example, a number of portable, battery-powered, easy to set up noise cancelling devices can be adjusted to reduce any external noise which may interfere with your video chat software.

There are also those who advise seeking more direct physical solutions to shield video call software platforms from pollutant noise. In the outdoors, it may be advisable to take a semi open shelter of sorts. Perhaps behind a wind barrier, sometimes available in outdoor social areas. Maybe a phone booth or a bus shelter. Other ideas, tips and tricks to reduce noise on video platforms include hanging your coat somewhere strategic, positioning yourself in a spot with less air current than the wind blowing in the general area, and more.

4. Better Lighting

Video platforms can be used outside the home and office in restaurants, in coffee shops, outdoors, in nightclubs, in cars, and more. This wide variety of video calling locations also brings a wide disparity of lighting conditions. To ensure better lighting conditions for your video communication outside home or the office, start with the simplest precaution. Positioning. For example, video platforms being used outdoors during high noon and sunny weather are bound to have poor visibility unless that circumstance is adjusted for. Better video calling needs better lighting. Luckily, sometimes a little experimenting with the position is all that’s needed. In areas of very bright light, finding a little shade will often make the visibility just right. Failing that, angling the camera or the device holding your camera a little might help.

If none of these solutions work or are feasible, the simplest precaution of positioning isn’t enough for your lighting. The next step is to look at your settings. Either your camera settings, your device settings, or your platform settings might be able to increase or decrease the sensitivity of your camera to light, which might be required when the lighting is far too dark or far too bright. If no settings are available, or they don’t help, or you’re not too comfortable experimenting with the settings, there is a final solution.

Come prepared. Carry a portable, battery powered light that you can prop up easily in a variety of positions and adjust to different brightness levels. Carry one of those tightly folded disposable rain ponchos. Make sure to pick an opaque model. In circumstances of extreme brightness you can use the poncho as an impromptu tarp or tent to shield your camera lens from the excessive brightness of the light. Using whatever type of portable light you choose to carry, you may also adjust the poncho along with this light source which you do control, to optimise your lighting. Following the same logic, if you’re somewhere where the lighting is far too dark, the appropriate portable light will do wonders if utilised correctly. And again, the impromptu tarp can help, if your impromptu light does not have a brightness suitable enough to adjust the visibility by itself.

When intent on using video chatting apps outside, these are factors worth considering, no matter your video call solution. Consider location, motion, noise reduction and lighting before communicating by video outside of your home or office, if at all possible. This concludes these tips for optimum outside video calls. I hope you found them useful.

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Abdallah Al Alfy

Alfy is a content writer of 17 years, writing in multiple literary and content disciplines, and translating professionally since his early teens. Full name of Abdallah Al Alfy, he is also a licensed pharmacist in multiple countries. Alfy’s pharmaceutical background has often been an asset in scientific and medical writing.