Lights, Camera, Action | How to Look Better on Zoom

You’ve heard this before, lights, camera, action. . . and I think we all should add a little bit about sound in there as well.

In today’s video, I’m going to give you some tips and hints on how to look better on Zoom.


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Hi, my name is Keith Parsons

I’m going to give you some tips and hints

on how to look better on Zoom, kind of a

home studio set up a 101

You’ve heard this before, lights, camera, action,

and I think we all should add a little

bit about sound in there as well

So to get started

Let’s talk about light

You could use your room lighting

I’ll show you in a minute just what it looks like

if I let my computer light my face

or as photographers have done for generations,

they’ve used what’s called three point lighting

There’s a key light off to this side

That’s the main light that’s lighting this subject

You there’s a little light filling in the side that the main light

or the key light doesn’t get

And then finally, a back light or a hair light to give a little edge

so that it just looks a little better

So these three lights, key fill and hair are what we need

I happen to have some light so I can control for my computer,

but there’s a lot of LED lights available that allow you to get

a better look by lighting properly

Next up, you need a camera

You could go with a webcam,

Dave and I have some very nice 4k webcams

Kind of hard to get a hold of now in the in this covid time

But, the problem with a camera that’s a webcam,

it’s easy to go connect right up to your computer,

but it has a focus, that focus is basically everything in your room

You’re in focus, the things you put in front or in focus

I suggest you get a better look if you use a real camera,

not a webcam that has a lens that you can control

You’d like a lens that has a big aperture

because if I can go to a big aperture,

that means I can have a shallow depth of field

If I have a shallow depth of field,

I can be in focus and everything else can be out of focus.

I can even do things like put something up close

and allow that to be in focus

And then I can be in focus, so that’s another thing that we can do,

we can change your camera

I suggest a camera that you can have HDMI output

if you have HDMI output and a fast lens

allows you to have Bokeh,

bokeh is that look where the the person’s in focus

Here, let me move over the side

The subjects in focus

But the background’s out of focus

And in your world, you probably want your background

that you’re running to be out of focus,

you know, could be a little messy, but you want

you to be in focus the whole time

If you do go with a HDMI type camera,

you’ll need something to take the HDMI out of the camera

and convert it into a webcam

There’s a wide variety of things that do this Camlink from Melgarejo

They’ve been hard to find

I was able to find something called an HD 60 SPlus

that does the same feature was made for kind of gaming,

but allows you to take an HDMI out and convert it

And it shows up just in your zoom as another webcam

with those things allows you to take

get a nice picture and be able to bring it in as a webcam

Next up, I think you should have a green screen

What allows with a green screen allows you to do

is to be able to cut the background

totally and replace it with a background that you’d like

You can get green screens that pop up,

that come up from the ground up,

or I have one that I just pulled down from the ceiling,

kind of like an old fashioned, you know, projector screen

you would pull down

The chroma key, either blue or green allows you to cut out

a certain color, leaving everything else it’s there

Well, this wouldn’t be a good recommendation

if we didn’t talk about sound and audio matters, actually,

probably more than the than the video look itself

We could go with dynamic mics and a dynamic mic

doesn’t have any power nor amplification

The microphone itself doesn’t

You have to take it over to a mixer or something

or something that can convert it to USB

and bring it into your computer

I like the sound of a dynamic like myself

I also don’t like having to deal with the phantom power

of a condenser mic

But if you do have a condenser mic,

they do have those that come in a lot of different form factors

and they can also go directly into USB

and they can pull their phantom power from there

So they also have microphones that for us in the wireless world

look kind of like antenna patterns

where you can have cardioid pattern,

cardioid, kind of like heart

It kind of comes out and you can have super cardioid

that go directly towards the person

or an omni which picks up more in the room

Personally, I like a cardioid or a super cardioid with a dynamic mic

So I pick up less of the room noise,

less of the outdoor noise like a condenser mic

You also need to think about

where you’re going to place the microphone

You can put a lapel microphone just on your shirt

Do you want the microphone in camera or out of camera?

I happen to like mine

It’s happens to be right there,

just barely out of out of range of the camera

And I have a little swing arm that lifts it up and out of the way

If you have a desk that works too,

you need to kind of get it clean and close to your face

Sometimes it might show up on camera

Well, that’s enough talking

Lets go and see what these things look like

Here we’ll show you some examples of what we do with lighting

and focus and green screen

To give you an example of what I’m talking about right now

I’m had the lights on my key feel and hair light are on

My green screen has little light on

It’s behind me and I happen to be running a Chroma key,

putting this little kind of Olan Mills photography,

blurry background behind me,

that’s that’s the look I use for a zoom

It’s not distracting

There’s nothing in the background to show off

and allows me to just be me

And whoever is watching can just see me a lot

So that’s that’s the starting

But what I’m going to do is turn all the lights off

and then add them back in one by one

so you can see how the loud lighting changes what we’re doing

First off, turn off the green screen light

And then I’ll turn off all my lights

and now we’ll be sitting in the dark,

I’m actually in a very dark room right now, all the lights are off

It’s very dark, but my camera has a fast lens.

Remember I said it has a lens that has a big aperture

Which means he has a shallow depth of field,

which gives you that Bokeh thing

It also allows you to to bring in more light

And so even though it’s dark, this seems to be working

Now, when I turn on my first light,

you’re going to see kind of a flash

while the camera adjusts and adapts to the new lighting

So here is my key light alone

This is coming in from this side

Here is the key light alone,

key light gives you your main light for you

It does kind of have a sharp shadow on the opposite side

And, you know, that could be used for dramatic effect

And people do use these with a single light

The other light I’m going to show and turn this one off

is just the fill light

Now, the fill Light looks an awful lot like the key light

It’s slightly different position angle wise

And I have mine a little weaker

But the result is that the two of them together

give you a nice even lighting on your face

So you’d like maybe a little shadow around the chin,

but nothing, you know, on your face too much

and you just want to have a nice even lighting

Now I’ll turn those off and so I can highlight and show you

the hair light or the backlight and it has a different job, its job

Well, in my case right now, its lighting up my silver hair

by putting light on the top of my head and on my shoulder

It gives a nice clean edge

so that the chroma key has a place to cut on

Additionally, it kind of, you know, adds just a little something extra

to show that the lighting was done properly

With all of them on together

You get this kind of look

Now, right now, this is the lighting

and there’s no light for the green screen

So let me show you what this is, what the green screen looks like

If I cut totally out, this is just me on black

The lights are on me, the green screens working

Let me cut out the green screen for a minute so you can see

This is what’s actually going on in the room right now,

you can see there’s some little shadows on my green screen

and the green screen career is taking that information,

cutting out the green

And then replacing with something else

So if I turn it back on, I can replace it with black,

but since I have this now,

I can change it to replace it with anything

Since the green screen is cutting all the green out

and leaving me left, I can say, you know,

I’d rather be on some wood right now

and I can be one kind of wood

Vertical, horizontal

How about a fake green screen on top of a green screen

or back to that Olan Mills kind of look,

or if I wanted to, I could even just cut straight to black

and have black alone

So the lights that we do allow us to light up the individual

The camera takes the individual and gets you in focus

and everything else out of focus,

the green screen allows for chroma keying

and a nice audio allows you to sound really good

So I think between all of these tips I just did,

you’ll be able to improve your own zoom

Hopefully we’ll see you on the web soon


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