5 Things to Consider When Recording Your Next Webinar on Zoom
So you’ve been tasked with facilitating a Zoom recording. Whether it is a webinar or a virtual interview, you still want it to look like you know what you’re doing. It’s not like the good ol’ days where you could set up a professional film set with a high-res camera, lighting, and a film crew that makes your life easy.
Now the name of the game is all online and all virtual, but you still need to churn out content. Whenever we’re tasked with recording a webinar or an online conversation, we always go through a checklist list of best practices to make sure the footage looks as high-end as possible with minimal technical issues. We’ve compiled that list so you don’t have to.
Keep on hand next time you’re planning on hitting record or send to the stars of your show so they can prepare.
Lighting is a very important element to making your Zoom recording look worth your viewer’s time. Avoid your speaker being shroud in darkness or being backlit by an open window. Aim for natural light on their face. This can be achieved by placing them in front of a window, but maybe with a light shade or curtain to ensure the lighting is also soft. This kind of light will also give a brightness to their background, which is the next important set up step.
The second half to lighting is the speaker’s background. While you want their lighting solid, you also want to make sure what is behind them is pleasant and visually appealing. There is no exact formula to achieve this as each speaker will a) most likely be limited to their home office and b) have their own unique style, but here are some ideas to get the process rolling. Home office looks are great, just make sure everything is neat and organized. A cluttered bookshelf is not very attractive. We’ve also worked with interviewees who have included plaques from their company or various awards/degrees on their wall. Definitely avoid fake Zoom backgrounds as they can glitch and don’t look professional.
The last point of the Zoom recording visual triangle is what your speakers or interviewees are wearing. Avoid insanely crazy patterns, such as stripes or zig zags. However, soft florals usually do well on camera. A sensible blazer or suit jacket in a dark neutral color, think dark grey or navy, tend to be safe staples. Bright colors like red, white, or black can look great, just make sure it goes well with their background. You don’t want them to blend in or clash. This is generally why we like to suggest a prep session before the actual recording where the speakers can give us a preview of their outfit and set up.
Sound & Recording
Now on to the technical side of things. While almost all computers nowadays have decent sound, it is always a good idea to double check during the prep session and make sure there is no interference. When conducting the actual recording, we use the Zoom recording feature (make sure whoever is hosting gives recording abilities to the participants conducting the recording, if they are different from the host). As a backup, we use OBS Studio. This allows you to record your screen or a specific window. It takes a little research on learning the software, but it is easy to pick up. We like to use this system so we always have a back-up recording in case one falters.
Another important element to remember when recording on Zoom is how to deal with other participants. In addition to the speakers, there is a host and another recorder. In our experience, brand and company people typically like to sit in on these recordings. If that is the case, make sure all non-speakers are on MUTE and OFF-VIDEO. The host also has the ability to turn off all “non-video participants” to double make sure little boxes with names don’t appear in the middle of recording.
Since it looks like working from home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, make the most of webinars and virtual interviews for your marketing and PR materials.
Lighting, background, action!