And just like that almost every platform went digital.
Welcome to 2020, the year where everyone had to figure out how to zoom, how to live stream and how to get on with life whilst being stuck inside all day. Over the last few months OBT has been helping churches, schools and individuals get their technology up to date with the latest needs for digital content.
By now, most organisations have figured out how to live-stream and produce digital content (if you haven’t you should check out digital resources page) and we thought it might be helpful if we gave 4 quick tips on how to make it even better! Here it goes…
Lighting is a quick easy fix that will exponentially increase the quality of your online videos, streams and web chats. Sure, there are some things that you can buy that can help, like a doughnut light or one of those big umbrella things, but there are some other techniques you should try before you start forking out money.
Let’s think about placement. Where is your light source coming from? Is there more than one source of light? Placement is a big factor in lighting. If it’s too high you’ll have shadows on your face, if it’s too low you’ll look like a kid shining a torch up their face trying to be a spooky monster, if it’s in frame of the camera you’ll have a hard time getting the lens to focus on anything else. In terms of placement we would recommend turning off your ceiling light and placing a light source behind the camera just above face level. A reading lamp or desk lamp could be all you need. A window with natural light could also work just depending on the placement and time of day. Dolphin Torches and Mag Lights although are really cool, aren’t very effective in this situation.
Diffusing your light source is another quick way to increase the quality of your videos. Too much light focussed on your face is not very flattering unless you want everyone to see that scar you got in second grade crashing your bike into the neighbour’s fence. A large piece of baking paper, a lamp shade, a white bed sheet or even a translucent curtain could make a world of difference in diffusing your light and creating an even spread. If you’re using a webcam turning the brightness down on your screen will also help.
Another factor to think about is your background. Try your best to find a darker background, this will create an effective contrast of light reflected from you and your surroundings. It’s best to avoid brightly coloured walls, furniture and things that reflect light. As cool as it is, your bright yellow Poang from Ikea will probably need to go!
Something else that can be easily and quickly improved is the quality of your audio. This isn’t just about microphones and voice projection but also positioning and surfaces. Not all rooms are good for recording and you may find some rooms are more “echo-y” than others. Some positions in certain rooms will also produce different levels of echo/reverb. A little amount of reverb can help ‘thicken’ up your voice and make it sound much better, but too much can make it sound like you are speaking underwater. A quick way to test the amount of reverb in each room is by doing a loud single clap. You’ll notice instantly how much the sound will bounce around the room – this is why you sound 10 times better when you sing in the shower. Try to avoid hard surfaces like tiles and concrete unless you’re planning on doing a classical concert of some kind.
If you can’t get away from tiles or hard surfaces, putting up a blanket or something to limit the spread of sound waves can help. Foam, mattresses, and egg cartons can all help if you are finding your room has too much natural reverb.
Your computer’s in-built microphone isn’t doing your voice any favours either and it’s definitely worth investing in a microphone. There are plenty out there to choose from, and odds are they are going to be better than your in-built computer microphone. If you can’t justify spending money on a microphone try using the microphone that’s in a headphone set, they are generally better than standard in-built microphones and can have surprising results.
#3 Engaging Content
Unfortunately it’s the 21st century and the attention span of the average human being is about as long the current physical social distancing requirement. I’m sure everyone is putting out great quality content at the moment but it’s easy for someone to just click X on the screen and look at more videos of puppies. So it’s important to put thought into how you make your content more engaging with your audience.
One way to make your digital content more engaging is by actually engaging more people to be in it. Try and think of ways to foster engagement with people in your congregation. You could get them to face-time in or pre-record bible readings, corporate prayer, kids spot, songs and musical items. As beautiful as your face is, seeing a range of different faces will greatly enhance engagement with your content.
10 videos in a row from your office desk is going to lose its impact after a while. Whilst still trying to maintain great lighting and audio try changing your physical setting and see the effect that it will have. A lounge room can help provide the feeling of intimacy and homeliness, being in the garden help provide the feeling of hope and positivity, a kid’s room can help provide the feeling of fun and excitement and so on. There are many different settings so be bold and try some different settings and see what response you get.
#4 Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The world has been thrust forward into the realms of live and recorded digital content in a very short period of time. Whilst it’s important to take your approach to digital content seriously don’t beat yourself up about it if things fail or don’t go the way you hoped. It’s a crazy time we are living in, but please understand that this whole process is a journey and things will get better week by week. People understand the short comings of digital content as everyone is dealing with similar issues in their own lives at the moment. Don’t be afraid to try new things and think outside the box, if it doesn’t work then there is always next time!
In times like now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about technology. Don’t worry, everyone is in the same boat including OBT.These four tips are just quick ways to help make your content even better. Should you have any technological related questions drop us an email – our friendly staff are all safely working at home (not watching videos of puppies) and would love to help.