Are you experiencing Zoom fatigue? As we near the anniversary of the moment everyone packed up their offices and moved work life into their homes, it’s clear that many people are suffering from this phenomenon. For so long we’ve held tightly to the notion that we just needed to get by until we return to our old offices and forget all about the days of seeing our coworkers on grainy video feeds. It’s time to snap out of that mindset and accept that video conferencing is here to stay. The antidote to Zoom fatigue is to break the monotony by ditching that subpar webcam and learning how to produce a compelling livestream.
Jeff Achen is here to help. He’s a U.S. Navy veteran and the owner of CallSign51, a video and production company that specializes in helping small businesses and individuals produce great video content. For Jeff, the ability to deliver a high-quality and compelling video is essential. “I love helping all my clients figure out their message to the world and communicate what value they have,” he says.
Jeff will be hosting a free live webinar this Friday, March 12 at 11 a.m. Central. This hour-long session will break down some of the mystery behind the components that make up a good livestream, with a focus on addressing common pain points around streaming: video and audio quality, technical glitches, and navigating complicated technology.
Whether your livestreaming experience consists of delivering speeches during virtual conferences, or simply showing up to daily check-ins with your team, there’s room for you to learn something new about video and do your part to combat Zoom fatigue.
As a teaser to the webinar, here are five keys to producing a compelling livestream.
Get the Right Gear
You can spend hours readying a presentation for your team about an exciting venture that will turn your business around this year, but the delivery just won’t feel compelling if you share the news into your laptop’s built-in webcam. Before anything else, you have to make the investment in quality gear.
To start, get a lighting device and rid yourself of the need to schedule your meetings around that time of day when the sunlight hits your room perfectly. Another must-have is a tripod, to keep your image stable and avoid making others feel queasy.
If you want to wow your audience, Jeff recommends the Canon XA40 for a more professional look. (He will be demonstrating it during the webinar.) While the price tag is higher than a consumer-grade webcam, it’s a worthwhile long-term investment that will make your video content really stand out.
Spend Time on the Livestream Setup
After you’ve selected the gear that fits your personal needs, the next step is to make sure everything is set up correctly. After all, the ring light that you bought is only good if you position it in the right place. To avoid shadows, make sure to place the light behind the camera and try to aim the light directly in front of your face. Jeff also recommends bringing your camera up to eye level to give you the most flattering appearance. (If you’re using a free-standing camera, this is where an adjustable tripod or tabletop mount can come in handy.)
And, of course, test everything out ahead of time. Make sure your gear is properly connected to your computer, such as through an HDMI cable, and that your system recognizes the connections. Conduct a few test runs and troubleshoot any issues that may arise so you can avoid technical glitches during your livestream.
It’s About Sound As Well As Sight
No matter how great you look, your presentation will be a slog if everyone’s struggling to hear you. While it would be nice to conduct your livestream inside of a soundproof studio, this isn’t a feasible option for most of us. Happily, regardless of the space or the room configuration, there is a manageable fix.
According to Jeff, how you position your microphone is by far the most accessible way to ensure a great sound. “As long as you have the level of your microphone adjusted properly and you have it right in front of your face, the room isn’t as much of a factor,” he says. As for gear recommendations, Jeff suggests using wireless microphones to deliver professional-sounding audio.
It should go without saying, but a key to delivering a compelling livestream is showing up ready. If you’re delivering a presentation, make sure to rehearse well ahead of time and make adjustments to your speech based on recorded trial runs. This way you know beforehand how you will look on camera during the session. Even if you’re just conducting a basic check-in with your team, being prepared will ensure that the meeting runs smoothly and eliminate some of that video fatigue for everyone else.
Jeff mentioned that investing in a teleprompter could be useful for events where you have a lot of detailed information to convey. Lengthy speeches such as keynotes, sales presentations, and teaching exercises could be improved with off-camera prompts to help ensure you never lose your train of thought. One benefit of working from the home office is that you can discreetly use cue cards. If it makes you more comfortable and confident, be sure to take advantage of that opportunity.
Know Your Audience
As you likely know all too well by now, there are lots of different approaches to livestreaming. Which type do you need to provide? Are you delivering a speech? Will your audience benefit from participation and other interactive elements during your livestream? Is it a combination?
Knowing who your audience is can determine how much time and money you invest in your streaming capabilities. Jeff will devote part of his live webinar to addressing these types of questions from attendees. We can all use a boost in our video capabilities, but everyone’s needs are ultimately different. Just remember: Keep in mind what your audience is experiencing and try to make it as engaging as possible. That way, the next time you find yourself enduring Zoom fatigue, you’ll know you’re part of the solution, not the problem.
Register for Jeff Achen’s free live webinar and take your livestreams to the next level.