Whether we’re distance learning or remote working, we’re spending a lot of time with videoconference apps these days. And, while we’re all used to mediocre-quality video and sound, there are options to make our videoconferences just a little more professional.
If you’re using an older laptop, it’s easy to upgrade your video quality with a gaming camera. I’m using the Razer Kiyo which can be purchased from Razer, Target, Best Buy, Amazon and the like for about $100. It’ll shoot 1080p at 30fps or 760p at 60fps. It’s also got an onboard ring light to supplement your lighting. More details at Razer: https://tinyurl.com/yy3yn7e7.
Audio Options – Speakers vs. Headphones
I’m going to start off making a recommendation. If you’re going to be distance learning or remote working, do yourself a favor and get some decent headphones. They don’t have to be noise cancelling, but a good pair of closed-back headphones will help drown out any ambient noise and will ensure you don’t have to worry about any audio feedback due to mic/speaker placement. I’ve got an older pair of Senheiser Momentums that I like quite a bit: https://tinyurl.com/y4mhqd6w. Sure, they’re $100, but they’re good for more than just videoconferencing. Consider a splurge!
Audio Options – Microphones
Once you’ve got your audio isolated to just your ears, you should focus on a mic upgrade.
If you’re using an onboard laptop mic, odds are you’re hearing a lot of ambient noise and perhaps some room echo. For $20, I picked up the MOVO lavalier mic that plugs into either your computer via USB dongle or your smartphone. It’s not studio quality, but it’s a definite upgrade over your laptop mic. More details at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yyacwyfh.
If audio quality’s really important to you, you can pick up a Blue Yeti Microphone. Several different options are available on Amazon for $150 or so. The Blue Yeti is very popular and used by many YouTube creators and podcasters. Amazon’s choice here: https://tinyurl.com/y39cpwu9.
So, if you’re serious about upgrading your videoconference experience, some simple options are out there to help.