Just nu är vi många som tvingas hitta på kreativa lösningar i hemmet för att fortsätta vårt dagliga arbete. För att underlätta din vardag så har Susana gjort detta blogginlägg om hur du kan hålla kontakten med dina kollegor via digitala möten, streama, utbilda online och annat smart som kan behövas när du arbetar hemifrån. Mycket nöje!

 


 

These days many of us have to work from home, in the comfort and mushiness provided by the hundreds of toilet paper rolls we’ve been gathering in the last couple weeks.

Your job may now involve online meetings, online classes, online concerts, or even online church preaches. Or this may have become the perfect time to start that vlog you’ve been thinking about for the last 15 years. In any case, you may find yourself hesitant about how to create decent-looking videos and lifestream from home with little or none technical knowledge, and without ending up looking like Michael Keaton in “Beetlejuice”. 

Don’t you panic, we’re here to help! Good news are that either if you use your phone, iPad or camera to lifestream and create videos, following this  6 simple tips and tricks your recordings will drastically improve in quality, will be easier to follow for your audience, and you may even look younger! 

But let’s start from the beginning:

 

First step: CHOOSE YOUR SPOT AT HOME (WISELY)

To decide on a single spot to work from home daily will help you focus, save time, and keep everything under control. 

Avoid sitting close to any source of noise, such as the dishwasher, the kids’ room, or that fridge from the 90’s if you’re my mum.

You also want to minimise the amount of sound that bounces around when you talk. Rugs and carpets will absorb sound (that’s good), and avoid that distorting “echoe”. Bookshelves, or wall tapestry (if you’re in for some Eastern European vibes) work well too. These set up will result in your voice sounding much clearer. So choose a carpeted room with plenty of stuff in the walls! 

Avoid flickering lights (they don’t seem to flicker until you see them on a screen, so make some simple recordings of yourself before deciding on a spot). Don’t blame the lights, though, before making sure the f. number in your camera is set up at 50 (a higher number may create a flicker too). 

Avoid overly crowded backgrounds that will distract your audience. You probably don’t want to be in the middle of a meeting with your boss, and realise all of a sudden that you left 5 empty bottles of wine and a Superman costume right behind you, silent testimony of some late night shenanigans you had forgotten about (until now). You could just place a curtain behind yourself, or even a big pop-up backdrop like these ones, to stay safe and preserve your privacy:

 

                       

I love how little space they take when folded (hi, Marie Kondo!), and how portable and easy to use and store they are. I personally enjoy seeing other people in their element, though. To see people at their homes makes me perceive them as more real and relatable, so I’d rather see your dirty laundry behind you, just like I have mine, than a plain backdrop. But I wanted to give you some effective and professional-looking options in case you’d rather keep work and personal life as separated as possible 🙂

Whatever option you choose, always keep certain distance between you and your background, so that your shadow isn’t visible behind you, and falls on the ground. Just avoiding unwanted shadows, your image will look way more professional.

 

Second step: FIND SHADOWS IN YOUR FACE

Take a selfie in your intended working spot, and if you look 10 years older, there are definitely some harsh sources of light (and shadows) you want to get rid off. They may come from the ceiling lights, from a roof window…Once you find these sources of light, either turn them off, or move backwards, so that they don’t fall straight in your head, but in your face from a 45 degree angle instead. Another option is to cover them with some sort of diffusing sheet. Make sure its made of a material that won’t burn with the heat of the light!!! I really like the way this studio one softens the light, and it’s not even 130kr! Alternatively, you could also use baking paper 😉

 

 

Third step: LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

I am a professional mumbler, and I speak as fast as possible, to be able to stuff more words per second that no one will really be able to understand. Well, that’s wrong. But I am usually behind the camera, so it’s not a biggie for me. It may help in your new video adventure to put some effort into speaking a bit slower than usual, and vocalizing. It takes some practise, but if I could do it once in 2001, I am sure you can too. The built-in microphones inside tablets, phones and even cameras aren’t that great, so you’ll need to put that bit of extra love in your prosody. Because, unfortunately, when people can’t understand or hear you properly, they disconnect.

If after following these tips your voice still doesn’t sound clear enough, you can try connecting an inexpensive plug&play lavalier microphone to your device.

Plug it to the camera, phone or iPad, and use the clip to hold the little microphone in your chest (pointing up towards your mouth, obviously). You can hide the cable inside your shirt, like everybody does on TV. Your voice will automatically sync to your image, so you won’t need to spend any time learning complicated video editing tools to sync sound and image after recording. We have temporarily reduced the price of one of our favourite lavalier mics, to help you all a bit during these days. The quality of the sound is pretty incredible considering how cheap and simple to use it is.

You could also attach a little microphone on top of your camera instead, like this cute one from Rode, that will also sync to the image:

If you need to move around the room while streaming, teaching online or during your meetings, try this wireless solution. The quality is impeccable, the size is 3’5cm, and it will sync too!:

Fourth step: GET ENLIGHTENED

Forget the Ashtanga and all the mantra stuff: you need actual light. If your online appearances are sporadic and you can choose your timing, choose a bright day, place yourself near a window, and get the softest and more pleasant light that exists, and for free! Avoid direct sun light in your face, though, or else your face will appear blown out in the image (that means “way-too-bright-to-see-any-detail”. And it’s a no-no).

You can also play around with some table lamps that you may have at home,but always avoid to point the light straight to your face, or you’ll create sharp shadows everywhere. Again, diffusing is key. Also make sure that both lights have the same colour temperature, or the result will look frankly strange. Your light bulb should mention its temperature. It’s a number that looks like 3500K, 5500K… So long story short, choose lightbulbs with the same K (Kelvin) number.  The lower the number, the warmer the light. A 1000K is basically a red light. 10000K  is like a very blue sky. Most household lights range from 2000K to 6500K, which means “from yellow-ish to blue-ish”. Choose warmer tones to look healthier, and to fake a sun tan. There you go, you learned something today that you will forget tomorrow. Such is the beauty of life. 

A flattering light would be in the warm side, would allow us to see your eyes clearly and shinny and would eliminate most shadows in your face. Ideally it would come from two sources placed over your eye line, and at both sides of your camera, at about 45 degrees. Here’s a little something I made for you, to illustrate what means 45 degrees. Don’t thank me, just send me gold and hand sanitiser and I will understand the gratitude:

If you are on a schedule, need good sound and light  always ready, and don’t want to leave the quality of your communications in the hands of the Swedish sun and the technical limitations of your recording device, ring lights are the easiest tools to get soft, flattering light evenly distributed in your face, and make your eyes shinny and happy.

This is me shamelessly pretending to be vlogging in front of my favourite ring light:

 

 

It allows you to control the intensity and the light temperature with two wheels and comes in a handy bag. This type of light seems to soften my wrinkles, so I am considering stitching it to my hat and never take it out. I also found that cute and very affordable stand in our website to place the ring in my table at the right height! Love it all!

This next ring light is bigger, and I chose it because it allows you to charge your phone or iPad via USB while you use them together, so you will never run out of battery in the middle of an important meeting or while you stream! It comes with a phone holder, but we have prepared a pack with an iPad holder too, and a stand. In this one you can also chose the light temperature and intensity:

 

 

Oh, and remember: to get the best quality of image out of a phone, always use the back camera. It has better quality and more megapixels than the selfie-one at the front.

 

Fifth step: AVOID ACCIDENTS

You’re going to be using your phone, iPad or camera more than usual. Sure you can hold them in place using an improvised book pile, but a simple phone or iPad holder with a tripod or stand won’t cost you more than 350kr and may save your device from a fatality! The mix of expensive devices over the table, kids, pets, coffee and meals has never been known for being a great safe combination. Keep your devices safe, you need them now more than ever!

 

Sixth step: FIND YOUR BEST ANGLE, LOVE YOURSELF

Sure it can not be good for your karma to hate your face everytime you see yourself in videos. It takes time to adapt to our own image and voice. Everybody hates their voice the first time they hear it, it’s not just you. Let me tell you in advanced: your voice is normal and beautiful, you will get used to it.
Most people look better when placing the camera slightly over the eye line (like the lights, yes, thanks for paying attention!). A slightly elevated camera reinforces the jaw line, and hides a bit any possible double (or triple) chin. Also helps you to keep your spine straight without noticing.

 

And that’s it! I hope I have helped a bit to get you started and solve some of your doubts about working from home. I have enjoyed a lot choosing my favourite products and sharing them with you! If you need any help you can also call us from Monday to Friday, and we’ll be more than happy to help you find a personalised solution  for your needs and budget, and give you our best advice!

In the link below you can find our selection of affordable, good quality lights, microphones, phone holders and much more that hopefully will make your life a bit easier during these strange and challenging days:

https://kaffebrus.com/kategori/arbeta-hemifran

Big corona-free hug!