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Video calls and virtual conferences have become the norm over the last two years. While they were already on the rise, the COVID-19 pandemic skyrocketed them into popularity. In 2020, Zoom saw a 317% increase in revenue from the previous year.
We’ve all had to get used to the ins and outs of video calls, and some aspects have been easier than others. One of the struggles with video conferencing can be engaging and connecting with your audience. While how you present yourself is important, your environment may play a bigger role than you realize.
With that in mind, let’s cover how you can expertly stage your video backgrounds for live streams, Zoom calls, tutorials, influencer videos, and more. With a few simple changes, you can grab the attention of your audience, give off a more professional vibe, and make the most of the virtual meeting society we’re currently living in.
1. Set the Right Stage
To set up the best background, you should first consider what you’re going to be using it for. If you spend most of your days in virtual meetings for work, you might want your background to be fairly neutral, or show off your college degree in the background. If you’re setting the stage for content creation or live streaming, your background might need to look a bit different.
Some general tips that can help you to keep your audience focused, even if you’re just talking to one person, include:
- Choosing a low-traffic space to stream or record
- Considering how the other person is going to view you
- Thinking about your primary purpose for the stream and if your background sets the right tone
- Adding a touch of your personality
Another good rule of thumb, no matter the type of video you’re trying to stage, is to keep things as clean as possible. Having points of interest in the background can be useful. But, they should be tasteful and never take away from you as a focal point.
2. Choose the Right Lighting
By now, most of us have probably seen some pretty tragic Zoom calls and videos. You know the ones where the person on the other end looks washed out. Or, the room is so dark you can hardly see them at all. Maybe the background color of the wall behind them is so vivid that you can’t look at anything else.
You don’t want to end up as one of those “nightmare” stories, yourself. So, pay attention to the lighting you use and avoid bad-quality streaming.
Everyone’s lighting setup will look a bit different, but you can improve the look of your background almost instantly by:
- Using natural lighting as much as possible
- Using a desktop lamp to supplement natural light
- Trying backlighting to improve focus on yourself
It’s also important to play with angles when you’re trying different lighting setups. Certain angles can create more shadows, which can be distracting. Be sure to do a few test runs before going “live” to determine how your lighting setup actually looks on screen.
3. Choose the Right Background
There’s nothing that suggests your video background can’t be functional and fashionable all at once.
Make your background a part of the overall user experience, especially if you’re using video for live streaming or content creation. If you’re offering people tips on being outdoors, set up your video equipment outside. If you’re trying to train someone or offer a lot of information, consider using a large whiteboard as your background so you can draw/write, erase, and keep going.
You can even use large sheets of paper as your background, choosing a different color each time to set the mood or theme of what you’re about to convey. Don’t be afraid to explore your creative limits and put your background to work for you as part of the video.
4. Protect Yourself and Your Content
If you’re publishing videos as a content creator, it’s important to make sure your background keeps your original work and ideas protected.
If you’re an artist, for example, it’s worth it to learn about intellectual property laws. If you’re a musician, an inventor, or even just someone with a creative idea, it’s okay to want to share those things. But, do it safely. Having trademarks, copyrights, or patents on your work can keep others who might be viewing your videos from taking those ideas and profiting off of them as their own.
While showcasing your creativity and even things you’ve developed is a great way to incorporate your personality into videos, you certainly don’t want your ideas to be stripped from you in the process.
Keep these staging tips in mind to make your videos clear, clean, effective, and safe. Video calling, streaming, and content creation are all here to stay. These ideas can help you to hone in on your efforts and improve your videos immediately.