A Better Video Message

If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know that I’m all about the “executive summary”, so here’s my summary for this blog:


If you use web-based video with any sort of regularity (webinars, internet calls, messages to
your teams, etc), invest in an external camera – your “audience” will thank you.


OK – so what is Joe bitching about now?

Two key points here – very simple:

  1. Laptop cameras generally suck – poor resolution at best.
  2. Nobody wants to look up at your chin and/or your nose hair.

I really should just leave it at that, but I won’t, of course.

Of course, there are many times when you can “pull off” a laptop camera – no worries there. That’s not my point. My point is for those of us (myself included) that have occasion to be on camera for any sort of web-type meeting, the view from an external, higher-mounted camera is much more pleasing overall.  Why is that?

  1. If you are looking down at your laptop camera, then the perspective is that you are looking down at your “audience”, and that is never perceived well.
  2. Ask any millennial what the best camera angle is. You’ll never see them looking down at their cameras for a selfie – always looking up. Why is that? You look better viewing upward then you down with your head looking down. If you don’t believe a millennial, ask a photographer.
  3. The resolution for laptop cameras is generally pretty bad. Pony up a hundo for an HD external camera so you don’t look so grainy in your group call.

We have all seen execs that record their “inspiring” messages – well, at least I have. Any maybe I’m more sensitive to it having worked with a video production company for a while, but I promise you that if you look at two versions of a recorded message – one looking up their nose on a crappy laptop cam and the other on an HD camera where they are looking slightly up at you, I’m pretty confident that you will perceive the latter more favorably.

Ok – so if you refuse to cough up a hundo for a decent camera, then at least adjust the height of your laptop for just the duration of the call, or video message that you are recording. Stack it on a few books for a little bit.  Please?

There are all sorts of tips around lighting, backgrounds, etc. That has all been written about ad nauseum, so I’m not going to repeat it all. I’ll summarize it though: 1) pay attention to what it behind you on video and 2) make sure we can see your face.

You are smart folks – you can figure it out from there.

Now please, don’t make me count your nose hair next time I see you on camera!  🙂