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  • Alexandra Bond Burnett

Be better over video: I share my basic at home video kit

No more dull dark zoom calls, or misheard garbled chatter. Clear, professional communication, even on lockdown. Video calls are a communication lifesaver, but also could be so much more effective with the right kit.


With video as our only way to have face to face communication I thought I'd share with you my personal toolkit that you can set up easily at home. I'm no videographer, BUT I can show you what kit you can get to use easily so that you can look more professional on screen.





I tend to use this kit for facebook lives, zoom meetings, social media content and quick tutorials.


There are two very simples rules when it comes to being better on video/ zoom


1) Don't make it hard for the audience to SEE you

2) Don't make it hard for the audience to HEAR you





Microphone


If you're on zoom, your computer mic can be ok, but it can pick up lots of other background buzz. If you can, invest in a USB mic such as a blue snowball, or yeti (even better a Rhode mic) But for a great result for a few pounds, grab a lavalier lapel mic.

Make sure it also comes with an extension lead as that will come in useful for standing shots.


You can grab good ones for £9.99 and they really do make a difference (see rule 2 and the video below)




Lighting


I recreate three point lighting with two soft box lights, and a backlight to give some depth (but that's me being fussy) . I often use one box light for video calls and pop it at an angle behind my webcam so that I can be clearly seen.


You can find basic ones on amazing pretty cheaply, for about £40 or £50. Better lighting really does make SUCH a difference by simply lighting up your face so we can see you. (I refer you to rule 1).


For the backlight I use an industrial painters light, bought from B&Q for £20. I actually saw


one in the supermarket on my visit, so you might be able to get one on your emergency supply trip.






Stability


If you start using your phone you need to get yourself a tripod. Again - easily found online but carefully scour the reviews as cheap often means breakable. I have a telescopic tripod with phone mount for travelling.


It's very compact, lightweight and does what it says on the tin. It means I can frame my self easily and quickly on the go.


If you are zooming using your computer camera or webcam do check the position and if you look clear with the lens pointing directly to your face.



Camera (phone)


Did you know you might have a BBC quality camera in your pocket? It's worth checking out. It was only in our Video Masterclass workshop that my videographer partner Sarah Rowland from Hack Creative told me that I had a 4k camera on my iPhone.


Check your settings. I have an outdated iPhone 6 (I use a headphone jack for the mic so can't use the new fangled ones). Yes it's a bulky file but high HD quality. Better than some 'proper' video cameras.


That's it - that's my simple travelling kit for video. I hope that helps you create a more professional impact from your home for the next few weeks.


If you need any more help join my facebook community - I'm happy to answer any questions.



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