God tier quality for Zoom / video calls?

Posted 
 by 
rob
 in 
RemoteWork

How do I make myself look amazing on Zoom calls / video calls for remote work?

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rob OP 3 weeks ago *

This is not the cheapest/budget option. But it's worth it.

Audio

The best way to increase video quality is to improve audio quality. Get a real microphone. NOT a USB microphone.

Microphone

Both choices are very well reviewed and sound amazing.

Option 1: Shure SM7B

Option 2: Electro-Voice RE20

Audio interface

You need to connect your studio microphone to your computer with an audio interface. Both options are good.

Option 1: Scarlett 2i2

Option 2: Motu M2

Accessories

  • XLR cable (to go from microphone to audio interface)
  • Microphone boom stand (to hold your microphone in front of your face)

Video

Camera

Get a real camera. Not a USB webcam. A real camera with a lens. These two options are fine, but other work too. You need a camera with "clean HDMI output".

Option 1: Canon M200

Option 2: Sony a5100

HDMI interface

You need a way to connect your camera to your computer. These usually come in the form of a USB-HDMI interface also known as "capture card". Some cameras offer native USB inputs to act as webcams, but this is a brand new feature and HDMI interfaces are usually better for now.

Option 1: Elgato Camlink

Any HDMI capture card will work, this is just the one I use. Basically they take the HDMI signal from your real camera and allow you to use it as a webcam.

Lights

A good camera with bad lighting produces awful video quality. You need some kind of softbox light to put in front of your face (ideally behind your computer monitor).

Option 1: Google "Lighting Soft Boxes" and pick whatever cheap Amazon product you want. They're virtually all the same.

Option 2: Find a higher quality studio softbox from a camera store. They make a massive difference in video quality.

HDMI cable

Each camera is different, but you'll need an HDMI cable from your camera to your HDMI capture card. My Canon M200 has a "micro HDMI" port, so I got a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable. It was cheap on Amazon.

Camera Mount

Most cameras have a standard tripod mounting screw on the bottom. I was able to buy two microphone booms because it was the same screw size as the bottom of my Canon M200 camera. You will have to double check what works for your camera.

Camera dummy battery

Most cameras don't have a way to charge while recording video. You need a "dummy battery" plugged in, which is basically a battery that has a cable coming out of it that you can plug it to keep it full of electricity. They're easy to find for whatever camera you have. I just purchased the first result on Amazon for my camera.

Put it together

  • Mount your camera onto the tripod/boom arm you got for it.
  • Put your dummy battery into your new camera. Plug the dummy battery into power.
  • Turn on your camera, set it to "clean HDMI output". You will have to Google how to do this for your particular camera.
  • Plug the HDMI cable into your camera, and then into your HDMI capture card. You should now see your HDMI capture card as an option for webcam input.
  • Mount your microphone onto the boom arm you got for it.
  • Plug your XLR cable into your microphone, and into your audio interface.
  • Plug your audio interface into power & the audio interface USB cable into your computer.
  • Turn on your audio interface, and download any drivers/software you need for it.
  • You might need to turn on "air power" on your audio interface to supply your microphone with enough power.
  • Select your new audio interface as your microphone in Zoom.
  • You should now have amazing video & audio quality for your video calls.
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