Early on in the first lockdowns in 2020, did you ever sit at your computer and think “I really like working from home”?
Or were you the opposite; desperate to get back into a building and meet with other people like in the old days?
Whichever was the case – and whether you feel the same now – we’ve ended up with a mix of the two: Hybrid working.
Some people are in the office. Some are at home. The days of having everyone together at the same time are gone. Maybe forever.
Which means that video calls are here to stay.
If you want to invest in your video call setup, here are three easy upgrades for you.
The first is about improving your picture quality.
Many people use the built-in camera on their laptop, which is OK. Cheap webcams also do the job.
However, if you’re spending a lot of your day on video calls, you can instantly make yourself look better with a decent camera.
The simplest option is to use an old smartphone. The cameras in most modern phones are great. And it’s really easy to link them up to your computer using a free app, like Iruin.
Alternatively you could invest in a 4K webcam for the ultimate professional look, but this can be pricey. Most people find that a 1080p Full HD resolution webcam is more than enough.
Next up, the most important part of your video call - and the one most often neglected - the sound.
Think about how well you can hear the other people on your calls, and how well they can hear you. Most video platforms allow you to do a test call to check your quality.
If your computer’s built-in microphone isn’t up to the job, get a USB desk microphone.
The other alternative is to buy a headset with a mic. If you work in a noisy environment, not only will people you call be able to hear you more clearly, but you’ll hear them better too.
Finally, think about your lighting. Even the best camera will struggle to make you look great with poor lighting.
The very best solution is to use natural light. That means sitting facing a window while you are on calls.
When that’s not practical you can give your lighting a boost with a ring light. This will give you even lighting all over your face.
Again, this doesn’t have to be an expensive option. You can get great ring lights without spending a fortune.
If you wanted full control over your lighting, consider two LED lights. These can be adjusted to light the whole scene. And with some, you can adjust the colour temperature of the lights to match the natural daylight coming through your window. That will give you a consistent look on each call, day and night.
Finally, here’s a thought. If you don’t want to have lots of accessories cluttering your desk, consider a webcam with built-in microphone AND ring light. What you lose in control you gain in convenience.
The best part about all of these solutions is you don’t have to be an expert to set them up. You can get them all working with minimal technical knowledge and make your next video call look more professional.