10 Ways To Improve Your Webcam Interviews and Broadcasts
COMPUTER BASICS & INTERNET CONNECTION
1) Use An Ethernet Cable To Connect Your Computer To Your Modem
Video interviews require a lot of bandwidth and connecting wirelessly via Wi-Fi can be a problem and cause audio and video degradation. So, connecting your computer via an Ethernet cable (and turning off Wi-Fi!!!) is super important! CABLE: https://amzn.to/39a0iPk
2) Clear The RAM / Memory Prior To Broadcast (FREE!)
Broadcasting video and audio requires a lot of memory (RAM) and the easiest and fastest way to clear the memory prior to a broadcast is to reboot your computer and then open ONLY the applications you need for the broadcast. That might be email for a link, a web browser and maybe one other application, like Zoom or Skype. Keep all other apps closed during the broadcast, unless they are used during the broadcast (e.g., PowerPoint).
3) Buy More RAM / Memory – At Least 16 Gigs
If you are going to be doing a lot of interviews or plan to broadcast your own show, then I suggest you upgrade your RAM to at least 16 gigs, or more if you can afford it. This helps to ensure you always have plenty of memory for the broadcast. If you are on a Mac, www.owcdigital.com and www.crucial.com are good choices for memory.
4) Increase Your Internet Connection Speed
The faster your Internet, the better the connection for video broadcasting. If you plan on doing a lot of interviews or setting up your own broadcasting to an audience, then speeding up your Internet connection is money well spent. I am on Spectrum Internet Ultra and I have 400 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. The UPLOAD speed is really important. Try to get that as fast as possible. Contact your Internet Service Provider to see what your options are and their pricing.
5) Upgrade Your Computer (Optional!)
If you have an old computer, it may be time to do an upgrade if you plan on doing a lot of interviews or will be broadcasting regularly to an audience. For broadcasting to my audience, I use an iMac and in terms of bang for buck, I think an iMac is the way to go. If you go this route, be sure to upgrade to at least 16 gigs of RAM when you make the purchase and consider getting their Apple Care, which is a three-year warranty.
6) Use a USB Headset or an Earbud Microphone
Using the computer built in microphone and speakers will cause audio feedback during an interview and the sound will have echo in it and not be clear. This can be remedied with a USB headset or earbud microphone (e.g., what comes with your cell phone). Although it is true that we want to see you during the interview, being able to CLEARLY hear you is the most important of all. The absolute best way to clearly hear you is to have a USB headset with a microphone next to your mouth. The next best option is an earbud connection like what is used to talk on a cell phone. I recommend this Sennheiser USB headset: https://amzn.to/3cffMDF
7) Put Your Web Camera At Eye Level (FREE!)
Many people use laptops for their webcam interviews because of the built-in web camera, but using a laptop in a normal position would also mean looking down at the built in web camera, which is not flattering. Whatever web camera you are using, the best visual will be if your camera is at eye level. In the case of using a laptop, placing the laptop on some thick books or other solid objects will give the web camera much needed height for a more pleasing composition.
8) Reduce Or Eliminate Bright Background Lights (FREE!)
Web cameras use automatic exposure and so a bright window or bright light behind you could cause undo distraction or even cause the auto exposure to darken your face. It’s best to turn off lights behind you or close the shades to eliminate any distracting lighting that is in direct view of the camera.
9) Use A Ring Light For Better Face Lighting
If you do not have a solid light source for your face (e.g., big window, lamp, etc.), which would be behind your web camera, one option is to purchase an inexpensive ring light that can be easily placed in front of you. Lighting up your face will make your image crisp and less grainy, thereby creating a better experience for viewers. Find a ring light: https://amzn.to/3d16pqb
10) Use An External USB Web Camera For Sharper Video
The built-in web cameras on laptops and other computers are low quality, though, they will work. If you’d like to have a better image quality, consider purchasing an external web camera – I’ve run tests and they do look better than a built-in web camera. Find an external web camera: https://amzn.to/3lJiAvO