Simplicity over Complexity
In today’s world, we use video calls a lot for work. But, we often don’t notice that our sound or video quality is not very good. Conversely, most think you need fancy tools for the best video calls. But that’s not always true. In fact, simple can be better than complex setups. Having a reliable and effective setup for video conferencing is often more critical. Whether you are a student attending online classes, starting a podcast, working remotely, or someone looking to stay connected with family and friends across the globe, a seamless video-calling experience is essential. Using simple tools can make your video calls easy and less stressful. And you can save money too!
In this post, I will cover a simple video call setup where all the devices are USB and almost error-proof. When it comes to video calls, the hierarchy of importance is clear: audio, lighting, and, finally, the camera. First and foremost, investing in a quality microphone is crucial. Participants can tolerate grainy video to an extent, but poor audio quality can render a meeting unproductive and frustrating. Clear, crisp sound enables effective communication, ensuring that every word is heard and understood.
Secondly, lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing your video quality. Even the most advanced camera can’t compensate for poor lighting. Proper lighting makes you look better and reduces the strain on the camera, enabling it to capture better details. Ideally, you want to be well-lit from the front, avoiding harsh shadows or overly bright spots that can distort your appearance on camera.
Lastly, when choosing a camera, simplicity should be your guiding principle. A USB webcam is a perfect choice due to its ease of use and installation. It doesn’t require special drivers or software and is usually plug-and-play, meaning you can connect it to your computer immediately. This convenience, coupled with the high-quality video that most USB webcams can provide, makes it an excellent choice for enhancing your video conferencing setup.
Many people don’t know their microphone sound is bad during online meetings because they can’t hear it themselves. This can cause problems they don’t even know exist. An excellent way to test this is to record and listen to a practice meeting. You may discover that your voice isn’t as clear as you think or there’s too much noise in the background. This can help you understand the problem and improve your sound, which can improve your communication in online meetings.
Often people think that the Blue Yeti is a good choice for a microphone. It’s advertised as high quality and sold at places like Best Buy. But you can get a lot more bang for your buck with other options. There is even a site dedicated to letting people know the Yeti might not be as amazing as it seems.
So, what microphone should you choose? I think Shure MV7 USB Microphone is your best option for its quality and simplicity since it supports USB. It’s literally plug-and-play and has fantastic sound quality. There is an app that allows you to adjust some settings if needed.
Good lighting is critical for any camera during a web call. Why? Because it helps the camera capture clearer and brighter images. Without enough light, your camera struggles to see you, leading to a picture that can look dark or blurry. Good lighting can help show your face clearly, making it easier for people to see your expressions and read your body language. It also enables you to look more professional and focused. So, ensure you have good lighting, no matter your camera. It can make a big difference in your web calls! The best option for the price I have found is the Neewer 90W Desk Mount LED Video Light. Two lights will help light you evenly and greatly improve your video quality.
It’s important to know that Zoom and Google Meet only support up to 1080p resolution. What does this mean? It means that no matter how high-tech your camera is, these platforms will only show your video in 1080p quality at most. So, buying a super expensive DSLR camera that can capture 4K or even 8K video won’t make you look any better on these platforms. So unless you really need max quality for recording videos, I recommend the Logitech Brio 4K Webcam because of the decent quality with (good lighting). I’m still waiting for a company to release a DSLR-like webcam that uses USB. Until then, the Brio is an excellent option for the price.
In conclusion, enhancing your video call setup doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. By focusing on three core elements—audio, lighting, and camera—you can significantly improve the quality of your video calls. A high-quality USB microphone like the Shure MV7 ensures your voice is clear. Good lighting, such as the Neewer 90W Desk Mount LED Video Light, clarifies your video feed. Finally, a simple yet effective webcam like the Logitech Brio 4K delivers high-quality video. Remember, your goal is to communicate effectively; these tools can help you. So, invest wisely, and you’ll see the impact on your online interactions. Whether you’re connecting for work, school, or personal reasons, these improvements will ensure you come across as professional and attentive, enhancing your overall video call experience.
Thanks for reading. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the progress of my side projects T.LY, Weather Extension, and Link Shortener Extension. If you are interested in the tech I use daily, check out my uses page.