Virtual meetings, conferences and interviews are the wave of the future. Here are 5 quick tips to make the most out of a Zoom,  Skype or virtual interview.

Tip 1: Framing. Framing is the visual composition of the video. The rule of thirds comes into play in Zoom as it does in a photograph. Break the frame into thirds, both horizontal and vertically. Have eyes line up on the top horizontal 1/3 line of the frame.  This allows for optimal head space and for movement from the person in the frame. Its important to allow for head room above so if the viewers all have different screens, the person in the frame doesn’t have their head chopped off. Placement can be in the center, slightly left or right, but make sure it doesn’t look as there is a blank spot in the frame. The camera should be at eye level with the subject starring in the interview. 

Tip 2: Lighting. Lighting is essential as a virtual interview is all about the visual. Make sure there is plenty of light on the subject’s face. Natural light is best, but there are alternatives to natural light such as diffused lighting, box lighting and a ring light. Ring lights work wonders if they are all around the camera. A few ring lights clip on and others are large enough to encompass a phone or lap top. The light needs to be shining on the face and pointed in the same direction as the camera. The subject will appear like a silhouette if there is light flooded from behind. Shadows will appear if the light and camera are not in sync. Take the time to adjust the lighting, prior to recording an interview.

Tip 3: Background. What’s going on behind the person in the video plays a huge role in the success of the virtual appearance. Choose a background that is not too busy and adds depth and relevance. The “scene” of the interview should play second fiddle to the person talking. The background needs to be clean without too many things going on. An overwhelming amount of clutter or a background that is not relevant to the discussion distracts the viewer. Its important that the person speaking is the star, not the background.

Tip 4: Audio. Probably the hardest thing to master, yet the most important. Ideally, the microphone is close enough to the person speaking that they don’t feel like they have to yell. Most microphones pick up all the noise around them so minimizing background noise is key to having the right voice shine through. A common complaint with a virtual interview is the the sound is hallow. This is a result of sound waves bouncing of objects and not being absorbed in a room. Add material to absorb the sound in order to stop the echo. Conduct the interview in a room that has a large piece of furniture or tapestry or carpet or rug to give the sound a place to land. If the room has a lot of hard surfaces, add a basket of blankets or something soft to take in noise.

Tip 5: Appearance. How a person looks really matters on Zoom. The lighting necessary to see a person will also take away the natural color on their face. Wear makeup to give color and depth to a subject’s appearance. Lighting close to the face also gives the illusion of sweat because it is reflective. Add a thin layer of translucent powder to dampen the reflective elements of certain makeup and/or absorb sweat. For clothing options, choose a color that is complementary to skin tone and eyes. Jewel tone colors have a flattering amount of depth to most people. Stay away from all black or all white as that makes it hard for the camera to have an accurate white balance of color. Solid colors are best and big prints are fine. Small prints, however, will look like the clothing is moving when the subject is not. Most importantly, wear an outfit that is comfortable. If a clothing choice makes the person on camera feel stifled or uncomfortable, that feeling will be reflected in the virtual appearance. 

Taking a few preparation steps before a virtual appearance will take any Zoom video from good to great. Best of luck on your virtual video appearance!