This week I've had some interesting feedback from my colleagues about what they are seeing when we are having our video meetings.
Who knew that what I'm seeing on my little screen is not what they are seeing! So far I've showcased my impressive and numerous chins, my nostrils, flashed my knees (I was wearing shorts- well its been hot!) and best of all shown up as a silhouette - all I needed was the actor voice over and I was a Crimewatch video.
So if like me you have been spending endless hours talking with you fellow students, lecturers or colleagues on video chat the following tip may be just what you need:
1. Lift your laptop up
You should aim to have your camera at eye level - Almost everyone participates in a video chat with their laptop on their lap or their computer on their desk, which means the camera is shooting up at an unflattering angle that accentuates the jowls. Do yourself a favour and elevate your computer so that the camera is even with your eyes. I started off balancing my laptop on books and shoe boxes, not ideal but it did the trick, however without a keyboard this can make typing difficult. Ideally you should have your laptop on a solid sloping surface.
2. Make yourself comfortable
Fidgeting around and constantly adjusting your position can be disorientating for your audience - remember the knee flashing! Also looking directly at the person you are talking to wont give the best perspective, instead look at the lens - and as hard as it is don't look at yourself, this is distracting and can lead to you constantly adjusting while you try to look your best.
3. Light, light and (more) light
If like me you want to avoid looking like a crime reconstruction video getting the light right is a must. Easier said than done right? particularly when the sun is shining outside.
Trying to reduce direct light can help, try tilting down the camera - but beware of the unexpected view your fellow video callers will see! - again the knees!
If all else fails choose a background for your video call, you can dial into your meetings from plain flat background - or a tropical paradise the choice is yours.
Director of Access and Inclusion
University of Worcester