How to Be Awesome on a Webcam-Skype Interview

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How to Be Awesome on a Webcam-Skype Interview

In cases where geographic distance doesn’t allow us to shoot on our studio set, your #Changemakers video interview will be done remotely via Skype. This post focuses on our goal of producing the highest quality video interview we can for you – but no matter what the purpose, this information will help prepare you for a great webcam or Skype interview regardless of the venue or purpose.

Thousands of people could potentially watch an interview, so it’s worth the small effort and specific actions needed to achieve broadcast quality. Below are some best practices for the webcam interview that you should take into consideration so we can create the best result.

VIDEO PLATFORM:

We’ll be using Skype for the interview. You can download it here. Please also let your YKY host know your username. We will utilize special software that will capture the best quality video from the host side and the guest side in separate streams.

WIRED INTERNET & COMPUTER

  • Wi-fi can be unstable and leads to video and audio dropouts, so use a fast and stable wired connection if possible – the best option is to obtain a “dongle” to plug directly into a router. Approximate cost $30.
  • Use a real computer or laptop, and not an iPad or Surface tablet if possible
  • Disable background tasks like Dropbox or other backup programs & notifications.

VIDEO

  • Unless you have a relatively new computer with a decent camera, use an external camera. Not all Webcams are  created equal, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend much to obtain a good one.
  • We recommend checking out options from Logitech. With these, you’ll want to turn off the auto-focus.

AUDIO (very important)

  • Unless you are on a Mac or have a tried-and-true internal microphone on your laptop, use an external USB microphone or headphone microphone, especially if you plan to do future video conferencing or remote media interviews.  You may consider an option like the Blue Yeti, which is not terribly expensive (~$100) and has great sound; other solid options range from $20-$30 on Amazon as well – but pay attention to user ratings!
  • Place the mic in front of you or just to the side of the laptop, facing toward your face.
  • Turn off any auto-gain control; set the volume manually.

LIGHTING & ENVIRONMENT (very important)

  • Lighting – webcams typically have small image sensors and need lots of light to create a clear image.
    • Typical office lights aim straight down from the ceiling and cast shadows directly on eyes.
    • To counter this, aim a medium-brightness table lamp towards your face.
    • Alternatively, sit facing an exterior window, as long as the background is not excessively dark or messy.
    • Check out this video to get an idea as to how to set this up: https://wistia.com/blog/snazzy-on-webcam
  • Distraction free – please turn off laptop notifications if possible, no noises or people etc., and silence your phone.

BACKGROUND

  • Use an uncluttered, professional background behind and around you.
    Sit so your upper body fills a good portion of the camera field of view

CLOTHING

  • Avoid tight patterns and stripes as they can cause more artifacts in the camera.
    Consider brighter shades and solid colors

EYE CONTACT

  • Train yourself to hold your gaze toward the CAMERA – and NOT on the person or other activity on your screen. Taking your focus off the camera and putting it on your screen will make you look inattentive and distracted.
  • Stack books or a box under your laptop so your camera sits at at eye level, not above or below you eyes
  • It’s helpful to think of yourself as a TV reporter and recognize that the camera is your audience.

FRAMING

  • Frame yourself from the chest up. You don’t want the camera so close that you look like a floating head and every last detail of your face can be seen.
  • Flatten your hand and measure approximately four fingers from the top of your head to the top edge of the camera/video frame
  • The triangle formed from the top of your head to your shoulders is the focal point as that is where all of your communication is coming from

Here are a couple of examples:

image1

image2

BODY LANGUAGE

  • Sit as straight as possible – try not to hunch over your computer screen
  • Keep your body open (no crossed arms)
  • Try to make your gestures as natural as possible

ENERGY

  • Be overly enthusiastic! Remember, people are likely watching you on their tiny smartphones so it helps if you sit up, speak up, gesture, and use facial expressions in a way that’s a bit more exaggerated than you normally would.

That’s it for the #Changemakers Video Interview Preparation process – you’re on your way to being a star, and you are going to look great!