Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our world, people have scrambled to be able to continue meeting, teaching, lecturing, and presenting online. Many online retailers ran out of webcams and video capture cards due to people setting up home-broadcasting situations in their living rooms, bedrooms, basements, closets, garages and anywhere else they could fit a computer and a camera. It's been cool to see how people are accomplishing this and the creativity going into their setups.
The image above shows my personal setup for presenting online via Zoom. I'm a podcaster and videographer, so all of this setup was pieced together by gear I'd already purchased, it was simply a matter of arranging it all to work for the Zoom platform. The technical side of this setup is the same for any scenario and doesn't necessarily require the exact gear pictured.
When putting together the above setup, I did three things to improve my presentation, and they're things you can do too that'll help your online presentation quality.
1) Upgrade your webcam.
Here's the idea - in Zoom, you can choose your camera and your audio source in the Zoom preferences menu. If you have a laptop with a built-in camera, Zoom will default to that camera. This is how many will use Zoom, and the camera quality usually isn't that great and most likely doesn't do so well in low light scenarios.
The Audio Technica ATR2100x USB mic is a great, $100 solution. Audio Technica also makes a $79 USB microphone if you need to stick to a slimmer budget. In the image above, I've used a Rode Podmic XLR microphone connected to the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB interface for my audio source. It's a more expensive setup, but allows more opportunity for external audio sources like music and sound effects, not always used in Zoom presentations but available if needed.
3) Add a brighter light source.
If you search "LED Camera Light" on Amazon.com you'll get many options for budget lights that will no doubt help the sharpness and quality of your image on the screen. Most of these lights are battery-powered, so looking for one with a power adapter would be beneficial so it doesn't turn off in the middle of your presentation if the battery runs low.
One more trick of the trade, don't sit with a window behind you. As a matter of fact, if you sit with the window facing you, it'll double as a natural light source if you're presenting in the daytime. With the natural lighting and the LED light pointed toward your face, you're bound to have a great light source to help the video quality of your presentation.
If you have any questions about this setup or any other audio or video topics, don't hesitate to email me at PodcastGearForBeginners.com.