Do you need to be in front of a camera? Nothing is probably more nerve-racking than realizing that your microphone is not working or the other person at the end of the screen cannot see you. Or perhaps you are live-streaming without noticing that your laundry is at the back, which the whole world can see.
So before you hop on the webcam, ensure you are prepared by doing a webcam test. This article shares five tips that help make everything all right.
1. Get Your Equipment Ready
You may ask, “What do I need to test my webcam?” You have some essential equipment to prepare: a microphone and a camera.
How to Choose a Microphone
With your microphone, decide how you want to use it. Is it for singing, instrument recording, podcasting, or all of the above? This is because these devices can have distinctive features.
For instance, if you are podcasting, you want a mic that can deliver a clear voice. If you are recording instruments, you may opt for mics with more presence and sensitivity.
Then think about your budget. Microphones can range from under $50 to several thousand dollars. Consider investing in a mid-range option if you’re serious about recording, but don’t want to break the bank.
And don’t forget about the technical aspects. Look for a microphone with a cardioid or supercardioid polar pattern, decent frequency response, and low self-noise.
Benefits of an Online Webcam
Unless you are doing a grand production, your laptop’s or computer’s camera can already suffice. However, you might benefit from a webcam mic test over the Internet.
- You do not have to invest in another video camera if your laptop or PC does not have one. Many brands are now cheap, but why go through the hassle when you can access one anytime, anywhere?
- You can assess your videos immediately. Let us say that you performed an online webcam test and saved it. With tools such as Wave.video, you can review your recording and begin editing to see if the final product is up to your standards.
- The video is hosted in the cloud. Besides being able to retrieve the video anytime you want, you avoid eating up more storage space in your laptop or PC.
2. Pay Attention to the Lighting
You may not be doing the Oscars, but lighting is a basic element of video production.
Choose a light source that is either above or in front of you. This will provide enough illumination for your face and avoid shadows, making it difficult to see your expressions. You can also use natural light from windows, so get ready to move to different locations in the house.
Remember that your eyes will adjust to bright lights, so look away from it and not directly into it during the webcam test.
When shooting at night, when the light source is scarce, use a lamp and place it about two feet away from you. If it is too close, the light will be too strong. You can also invest in a ring light for more consistent illumination.
3. Adjust Your Distance
How far should you sit from your laptop or PC? This depends on the type of video you are creating and your available space at home.
For interviews, you want to sit close enough so that the other person can see your facial expressions. However, if you are doing a vlog or hosting an event, moving farther away from the camera for a wider shot is best.
Consider adjusting your position accordingly if you are sitting too near or far from your laptop during the webcam test.
4. Choose a Suitable Background
It is easy to forget about your background when you are concerned about what you need for a webcam test, but the location of your shot is still part of the equation.
If you are recording music, it does not matter if a stack of books is in the background. But if you are hosting an event or doing a meeting, choose something that looks professional, like a wall or curtain.
You can also use apps such as Zoom to create a virtual background. Invest some time in preparing your background so it will not be distracting during the webcam test.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
This is not a one-time endeavor. You cannot expect to get it right the first time.
Set aside some time to practice ahead of your webcam test. This way, you can record yourself and assess your performance before going live or recording professionally.
Practicing also means knowing what works best for you — from the camera angle to the background, microphone placement, and so on.
These are just a few steps to remember when you want to test the webcam. Technology has made recording possible even without expensive video cameras and studio equipment, but remember that you still need to practice and prepare to get the best results.