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A couple of tips on lighting for your VIRTUAL meeting

This is definitely the year of the virtual meeting and although the facility has been around for a good while now, it’s not until recent events that we have all taken on board this technology and really pushed it to the limits.

This is not an article on how to use the various methods of technology, nor the etiquette that you should be using, but on a couple of tips to make sure you get the best light on your face and the reasons why it doesn’t always work how you want it to.

Scenario 1

You’ve got your computer in front of a window (because you have to remind yourself that the outside world exists and one day you’ll be back out there) and I would normally say having natural light coming in onto your face is fantastic, but as you can see from the image below, the computer’s shadow covers half of your face and it doesn’t look pretty (see what I did there, I used light as an excuse for not looking pretty).

With just natural light and the computer blocking half of your face.

So, a simple trick would be to shine an extra light on your face from a desk lamp. Now if this was one of our productions or work in the studio, I would be cringing by now because of the difference in colour between the two light sources, but this is a tool and you just need to let people see you.

Natural light with a desk lamp filling in the shadow areas which the computer is blocking.

 

Obligatory selfie to show you the setup.

 

Scenario 2

Now the other thing I’ve seen is when people turn away from natural light without any light on them whatsoever – all this does is to make the camera expose for the most dominate parts of the picture (which is going to be the really bright sky) and this is just going to make you a silhouette; if you are trying to pretend that you are on crime watch and hide your identity, I think you have succeeded but it’s not great for a virtual meeting as no one can read your body language.

Having a really bright background just makes you a silhouette.

The selfie showing how a normal camera shows the scene – it’s a lot more sophisticated than your tiny web camera.

Now if you turn around so you are facing the bright light, all that fantastic natural light is coming in and making you look wrinkle-free and gorgeous (*no promises here).

Turning around and facing all the natural light. This also makes sure you can see your screen clearly.

 

Selfie view to show you how simple the setup is.

I hope this has given you a couple of tips and you can improve your virtual meeting game now. It’s not difficult but when you understand why it makes it a lot easier.

Terry Livesey