CONNECTING WITH STORIES (CWS)
Protocols for Remote Interviews on CWS via Zoom
(Zoom is similar to Skype but preferable),
Download instructions (PDF)
Put the Camera at Eye Level – The objective is to have enough light on the subject’s face but not too bright to create a glare.
If you are using a laptop or tablet, you’ve probably got the device on a table or desk, looking up at you. If you are using a webcam, it is probably on top of your monitor, looking down at you. Neither setup provides a flattering angle: Nobody wants to see the contents of your nose or the top of your head. Instead, move the camera so it is at eye level. That’s a much more flattering angle, and creates a more personal feel.
Look at the Camera, not the Screen
Often you get the feeling in Skype/Zoom calls that the person on the other end isn’t paying attention. That might be because they aren’t, but it is sometimes because of the lack of eye contact. They are looking at your image on the screen, not at the camera.
You can avoid giving this impression yourself by remembering to look at the camera and only occasionally glancing at the screen. That reassures the person on the other end that you are paying attention.
If you are using a small USB webcam such as the Logitech HD Pro C920 (which I’ve had good results with), try putting the camera on a tripod in front of the screen, so you can look at both at once. Webcams are small enough that you can see around them to view the screen.
The image is only half of the story: Audio is the other half. The microphone built into your tablet, laptop or USB webcam is probably pretty bad, especially when it gets drowned out by the speakers next to it that you are using to listen to the other person. Instead, use a USB headset or the wired headset from your cellphone with a microphone to get better sound from both ends of the conversation.
If you have only earphones without a mic, you can still use them, after running the cable discretely around your back. Speak as loudly and clearly as possible into the microphone on the device you are using to make the call.
NOTE: For your typical video call, the built-in microphone on your laptop is sufficient if it works well. However, a relatively inexpensive external microphone will produce far richer sound without a lot of fuss in setting it up.
Test It First – audio and video
Before you make an important call, check your audio settings for microphone and speakers, then do a trial run on Zoom to make sure that everything is working properly.
You can test your audio and video yourself by visiting Zoom Test Service, which records and plays back your audio. https://zoom.us/j/701888201?pwd=&status=success
Videos on lighting and positioning:
Here is another video with tips on lighting and positioning: