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10 tips to set up your home office for videoconferencing

Before many of us began sheltering in place at home, we used videoconferencing at least occasionally for meetings with colleagues or customers. During the pandemic, videoconferencing is going to become a way of life, because you’ll want it for the human connection. And you’re going to want to look and sound your best.

How do you do that? It’s actually not difficult — all it takes to project a professional appearance is a little preparation and some common sense. Whether you’re having a one-to-one discussion or a one-to-many conference, here are a few tips and tricks that will put you at your ease when you’re on-camera.

1. Check your lighting.

One of the most important things to get right is the lighting. The placement of the light source is key, says Terence Taylor, an independent video writer and producer. To begin with, “you don’t want light behind you,” he says, “because then you’re just a silhouette. It’s a common mistake.”

You don’t want a single bright light on one side either. “Everything on the other side of your face drops into dark,” Taylor explains, “so you look like a film noir villain.”

videoconferenc bad lighting officeIDG / Doug DuVall

Don’t let bad lighting make a bad impression.

The best place to put your lighting is in front of you so your face can be seen clearly. Ellen Fanning, director of visual and digital media at IDG, agrees. “It could be a window, it could be artificial light, just as long as you’re facing it,” she says.

If you’re not satisfied with how you look, Taylor suggests using a second light source on the side, preferably with a soft light bulb, to fill in the shadows. A desk lamp would work very well, he says.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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