Here are a few tips for optimizing your online zoom group participation or video performance. Think about setting the scene. You actors know this to be an important part of a show production. Don’t forget this step when you’re online!
BACKGROUND: Ask yourself, what do you want the viewer looking at? Now ask yourself, what does your background look like? My advice is, keep it simple. Let me say that again, keep it simple. Put yourself in front of curtains, or a background that fits with your performance, or a background that keeps to different shades of only one color. This advice is pleasing to the eye and will detract much less from you! For zoom groups, you can also take a look at the background images available in the VISUAL BACKGROUND FEATURE on zoom or load your own background graphic into zoom.
LIGHTING: Just as theatre stages have lighting, your online visual presentation will benefit greatly from the right lighting. The easiest good lighting is natural light, so if your in front of the camera during the day, try facing a window. If that’s not an option, find a good lamp and place it right behind, or next to, your camera. This will give you direct lighting. You do not want side lighting, back lighting, or overhead lighting. Don’t sit under a ceiling light or with your back to the light/window.
DRESS FOR THE PART: It’s very easy to minimize your outfit effort telling yourself “everybody knows I’m just at home.” Instead, remind yourself that your audience has expectations and what you’re wearing will play into their perception of you, your abilities and/or your performance. This is a visual medium! I recommend you dress the part.
RECORD A PRACTICE SESSION: Think of it like a tech performance rehearsal. Test and practice and record yourself using the microphone. Turn your volume up and down. Then play it back and listen to yourself on the recording. If your live, follow the same practice and recording steps but note that ZOOM will let you adjust your audio settings.
Look at yourself sitting at different distances from your camera. You don’t want to sit too close, especially if you’re using an iPhone camera or webcams as they will distort your face by flattening it. Experiment and find out exactly how far away from your camera is your best look.
Practice which lamp is going to afford you the best hight and light. Eye height is the most flattering for both lighting and camera angle. This might mean you place your computer on a stack of books. If you’re recording a standing performance, I suggest you use a tripod.
STAY FOCUSED: Remember, just as when you’re on stage, if you’re in front of a camera, people will be watching you. Stay focused. Don’t multi-task in a group zoom (you look like you’re not paying attention). If you have to multi-task in a zoom meeting, don’t speak while you’re doing it so that zoom won’t make you the center focus box. Complete your task, then speak. Use good posture. In zoom, you can click on the TOUCH UP MY APPEARANCE and the HD features to see if you like the changes it imposes.