If anyone told you a year ago that a product called LumeCube would be the best COVID solution for your workplace, you likely wouldn’t know what they were talking about. But, fast forward one year and most everyone has been adapting to Zoom meetings for work, creating content, and communicating with loved ones.
Lights. Camera. Meeting Room.
Most people don’t think they look very good on a video call. In some cases, it’s because they forget that they are in front of a video camera. If you were to go to a production studio, there would be a makeup artist, lighting director, camera operator and a host of people standing around to make sure the background was well lit and made you the focal point of the video.
But when you are at home, with photos of your family vacation and nick knacks on the shelves behind you (not to mention your cat jumping on your lap), it’s difficult to feel like you are in a professional setting.
Here are a few tips on how to set the tone so your video conferencing environment is more professional:
- Look behind you – is there anything hanging on the wall or sitting on a shelf that either blends into your head or is distracting? If so, remove it or slide it out of direct alignment with your head.
- Less is more – you don’t need to buy fresh flowers or stack intelligent looking books around you. In fact, they can be distracting. You want to create a framework where the focus is on you, so your audience is paying attention to what you’re saying, not reading the titles of your favorite novels.
- Pick a neutral room – As curious as some people are, no one needs to see the fruit bowl in your kitchen, or worse, whether your bed has a pretty comforter and pillow shams. A room that comes as close to looking like an office environment is best.
- Watch what you wear – those comfy sweatpants may be your favorite and you may think no one sees them, until you have to step away from the screen. Dress for work as if you were going into the office. You’ll feel more professional as well.
- Lighting is everything – Have you ever been in a situation where the phone rings and you are so happy that it isn’t a FaceTime call because you look like you just rolled out of bed? Well, even if you are showered, dressed and properly coifed, the image you want to portray won’t come across if the lighting isn’t right. Products like LumeCube can really save the day. Previously used by professional photographers, it’s a product line of simple LED lamps and accessories that either snaps onto your computer or a tripod and lights your face just like newscasters on TV.
Lighting Do’s and Don’ts.
If you are planning to use a LumeCube for your lighting, there are some helpful tips on how to set it up that can help you from looking washed out or not giving you enough light. For instance, look at the kind of computer set up you have. If you are working on a laptop, it might make more sense to get a small tripod. The good thing about a tripod is that you can use it when you are not at the “office” as well. It hooks up to your cell phone or device just as well as standing next to your laptop. You can stream, call or tape anywhere.
Need more light? LumeCube also has a two light combo set up where you can create cross lighting just as if you were in a production studio. For people who are on live stream webinars or lectures, this is a terrific way to look professional and have properly balanced skin tones without shadows. It also helps if you wear glasses and don’t want to have any reflections.
Some people have heard about ring lights but aren’t sure why they are a good option or if they are overkill. The main purpose of a ring light is to provide an even light that casts an overall glow over your face. Unlike a regular lamp, which can create glare and uneven tones, ring lights do not create shadows and can even out your complexion. It is a very flattering option. There are some LumeCube ring lights that attach right to your laptop or can stand on a tripod. They come in different sizes so you can fit the right one to your surface. Depending on the platform that you are planning to use for your video, you may want to consider the amount of light you need, the vehicle that you are using to shoot your video (phone vs camera vs laptop) and the environment (outdoors vs indoors). There is a size and brightness lamp for every situation, so you may want more than one ring lamp for multiple uses.
One question many people have is whether the LED lights in some of these solutions are harmful to your skin. Actually, they are not any different than a typical light fixture.
Finally, there is audio.
You may look perfect, but if no one can hear you, you will be at a disadvantage. LumeCube has audio solutions with microphones that attach to your phone or laptop as well, so you have consistent sound that is neither muffled or picks up ambient noise. This is a wonderful tool for collaboration, creating professional videos, presenting webinars and more.
If COVID has created anything positive, it is a new normal in the way we all work and interact. Now there are solutions that people have adapted to and are comfortable with that is changing and creating innovative communication and continued collaboration.