Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Capture Great Web Video Interviews

We shoot a lot of video at Software Advice, and we’ve learned that recording interviews over the Web can be challenging. With the right setup, though, you can capture great video content for your site. There are a few basics you (and your guests) need to ensure high-quality group video calls:
·At least a 1 GHz processor (as well as Windows 7 or 8 if you're on a PC)
·High-speed broadband connection with an upload/download speed of at least 1.5Mbps
·A webcam capable of capturing HD video (more info below)
We recommend Skype to conduct group interviews on the web. To capture your video call through Skype, though, you’ll need to purchase and install a third party app (Skype does not offer this feature yet).Check out SuperTintin for Windows ($29.95), andecamm Call Recorder for Mac ($19.95).
Setting Up Your Studio
Camera (Webcam) - While most notebooks have webcams built-in, most of them are low quality. We recommend using a webcam that’s capable of shooting in HD. Check out the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 ($70) for Windows and the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 ($110) for Mac.
Microphone - Like webcams, most microphones built into notebook computers are of poor quality. You have several options for improvement here:
lMany higher quality webcams, like the Logitech models we recommend above, can also capture decent sound.
lUSB microphones exponentially improve your sound quality. We likeBlue Microphone’s Snowball ($68) as it offers great sound for price, or you can upgrade to their Yeti ($106) for even higher quality sound.
lHeadsets or lavalier (lapel) mics can also capture high quality sound, however they will likely appear in your shot and can be more difficult to configure for Skype than the examples mentioned above.
Background & Setting - You want to select a private space with as little background noise and other distractions as possible. Access to filtered, natural light can also benefit your picture quality. You also want to consider what will be behind you on-camera.
Lighting - Bright, even lighting is your primary objective. As these samples below demonstrate, relying on room light alone results in footage that is under lit (top). The picture becomes muddy, the colors dull, and there are strong shadows on the figure’s face.
< Figure 1 >
We use two small desk lamps with copy paper diffusers to light our foreground, and a three-piece lighting kit to light our backdrop. Also, dim your monitor as much as possible. Light off the computer screen doesn’t photograph well.

Kyle Lagunas is an industry analyst at Software Advice. From social to mobile to video, he's a huge advocate for leveraging technology to upgrade the way we work. While he usually covers the talent management and recruitment track, and has had work featured in Forbes, BusinessInsider, InformationWeek, The Huffington Post, and more.

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