Several friends have asked about my camera/videoconferencing setup, so some notes on that.
I’ve joked that for lawyers, a good videoconferencing setup is now like a good suit—sort of pointless but nevertheless can help make a good impression in a field where impressions, for better and for worse, matter.
I picked up the new book “Presenting Virtually” from Duarte and it starts with something that’s pretty basic, but also not always obvious—you can’t control networks, and often don’t control what presentation software you’re using. What you do control is your hardware, so make that the best you can.
I bought a Canon 77D to take baby pictures and… it was in a closet when the pandemic hit. I use it with a 24mm pancake lens. Canon provides a driver that lets you use the camera as a webcam.
Given the cost, I’m not sure this makes sense for most people to do unless they already have a compatible Canon laying around. But if you do have a supported one it works great!
As an alternative, friends speak very highly of this new Dell camera.
I cheat by having good natural light in my office and then supplementing it, rather than having to blast light all over to make up for the gap. This means my light was cheap; the primary criteria was being able to change the color (from a bright white to yellow-ish) so that things looked right.
The exact model I got is no longer available, but is basically similar to this one.
Pro tip for new-ish home workers: if you have two rooms, one dark and one bright, make your bedroom dark and cramped and your office big and light. The previous residents of our place made the reverse choice and I don’t understand it at all.
I have a Blue Yeti mic. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for most people. The audio quality is very good, but positioning it over a desk is finicky. (I use these for both my camera and mic, and they work once you get them set up, but they’re a pain.) In addition, it has a headphone jack—which is fine except it insists on reporting to the operating system that it is live even when it has nothing plugged in, so I frequently have to say “no, bad zoom, use the speakers that are actually speakers”.
If I were doing it over again, I’d get something designed more specifically for the home office use case. A friend swears by their Jabra 510, and this new thing from Logitech looks pretty interesting.
What I’m not doing (at least not yet)
I’m sorely tempted to get a teleprompter, but Stephen has mostly convinced me not to. In my experience, at this time, the bar is pretty low—having a good camera and light really does make things noticeably better for people on the other end, even if your eye contact isn’t perfect while doing a slide deck. So you can get a lot of bang for a lot less effort than Stephen spent. Still, tempting some days :)
Hope this is helpful!
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[…] Luis Villa very proprietary, which I suppose is consistent with what he has been promoting this past decade (corporations absorbing #freesw to take away freedom) https://lu.is/blog/2021/10/21/my-teleconf-setup/ […]
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