This is a tutorial.
Six months going on seven is more than enough time for all of us to realize that we are already in the “New Normal” and as such we should all be making the necessary adjustments towards basic requirements of the “New Normal.” Unfortunately many people continue to hold off, hoping or expecting that the “New Normal” will revert to the “Old Normal” where we all go back to work, go out in public, do meetings and conferences just like we used to. Seriously? After 5,865 deaths and 300,000 plus infections and rising, do you really want to go back to the “Old Normal” of beso-beso, hand shakes, and physically appearing for meetings and engagements where you could catch a cold, get Covid-19 or facial warts from all that cheek-to-cheek familiarity. Thanks but no Thanks. I’m perfectly happy keeping my distance.
If anything, I am beginning to discover that being on-line and interacting digitally can be beneficial and practical. As far as our TV program AGENDA is concerned, our “New Normal” of doing interviews via StreamYard online has proven to be a blessing since we now have more guests and more topics to discuss without fear of missing guests who get stuck in horrible traffic of old. There are however new problems that come with the new way of broadcast. Many people have carried on using their old system and old equipment under the New Normal. They have not come to terms with the fact that digital meetings and presentations are now how things are done and will be done for some time. Having a “Puede Na” mentality creates a “Puede Na” impression and image for you. Every once in a while we end up unable to do a proper interview of a guest because of Internet connectivity problems. Then there is the issue of guests not having a “proper” setting while doing the interview or the audio quality suffering because the guest uses built in-microphones on their phones or laptop computers. Other problems crop up because of bad lighting or guests sitting with a window behind them as in against the light. Last but not the least, these interview from home for “Beginners” tend to be invaded by a maid, a helper sweeping the floor in the background, kids screaming, chickens crowing or dogs barking.
We need to come to terms with the fact that under the “New Normal” we need to invest on the tools required for digital communication, we need to have a dedicated area to work in and we need to get tutorials on the system at the very least. The first problem is that many people have not “invested” on their Internet connection. Many still rely on their pre-Covid packages, some have Fiber Optic cable connection but it’s part of a bundle that includes their cable TV, Internet, and security system, which spreads out and weakens the signal strength. Someone I know kept complaining about the poor Internet service they got in spite of the fact that they are paying for the premium package. I explained to them that the package was not meant for ten people operating like ten different companies that regularly do Zoom conferences or webinars!
If you are a regular resource person or public figure or in business and know that online meetings or interactions will be part of your New Normal find a spot of the purpose. If we use to have Boardrooms and conference rooms for meetings, nowadays you better set up your video corner. You don’t necessarily need a lot of space but it should be manageable in terms of sound, lights and looks.
Because many interviewees are not yet set up digitally, we’ve reached the point that our team spends a good 5 minutes with every guest to check their framing so that the guest will fit squarely in the camera panel and not end up with too much space overhead or too far from the camera. We have to insure they are not against the light and we ask some to find a “presentable” or video friendly spot that puts focus on the guest and not on the stuff in the room or makes them look unprofessional. Then we test for audio quality to makes sure I will actually hear the guest and usually we request guests to use earphones because this cuts down feedback and increases the sound quality of the guest on air since the conversation is not being broadcast in the same space where they speak.
Depending on the available equipment of guests, the video and audio quality could be great or horribly bad. So after getting dedicated Internet and a dedicated space, invest on equipment that’s a little better than the camera and microphone on your laptop. A friend spent P400 on a microphone while I spent 11,000. My friend threw out her “Cheapo Mic” and bought a better one. Buy equipment for the long haul and makes you look good and sound good. It doesn’t have to be as expensive as what pros use but buy a decent model that other users give good reviews on.
I bought a webcam for around P6,000 because the system we use on the computer won’t allow high definition/high-resolution cameras. On the other hand a good Microphone filters unwanted surrounding noise and concentrates and enhances your voice. Last but not the least get as many lights as you can and mix daylight with warm light (yellow) in order to get the healthy skin tone. While I have two studio lights, I actually use house lights and open windows for a more natural look. Last but not the least train or teach people to observe silence when you go “ON AIR.” As for pets, well they get banished into toilets or taken for very long walks while I do the show. Good luck!