Tips for Video Calls

Before the call:

  1. Face the light. If the light is behind you, you’ll be in shadow and risk looking like someone in the witness protection program. :)
    • Face the window or close the blinds. If the call is important or you’ll be having multiple video calls, it’s worth the effort to rearrange the room so your desk or table faces the window.  If you absolutely can’t face the window, close the curtains/blinds and make twice the effort with the other tips below.
    • Turn off all table, floor and overhead lights that are behind you.
    • If your call is at night or you’re not facing the window, move one or more floor or table lights so that they are directly in front of you.
  2. Make sure the camera is at eye level or higher.
    • If you’re using a laptop, place it on a 12-24 inch stack of books so the camera at the top of the screen is at eye level.
    • If you’re using a cell phone and don’t have a stand or tripod, DON’T plan on holding it the holding time – build a stand. Begin by building a platform of large books 16-24″ high. Then prop up your phone vertically using whatever you can find – one option is to lean it on a smaller stack of books and put a coaster or two in front of it.
    • If you’re on desktop computer with a separate monitor with a webcam camera perched on top, try to get the camera to eye level or just a little above. Options are to raise/change your chair, , adding a comfortable cushion, lowering the monitor or lowering/changing the table or desk. If you don’t have a webcam yet, order one online now. In the meantime you can use your cell phone or participate off camera (test that this will work in advance as not all systems allow it).
  3. Make a test call using the platform you’ll be using later (Zoom, Skype, Teams, Facetime etc.)

At the beginning of the call:

  1. Mute yourself.
  2. Turn on your camera.