The Tools You Need for High Quality Virtual Meetings

  1. Video conference software00:37
  2. Good quality camera 02:04
  3. Cam link  03:40
  4. Power pack 05:12
  5. Lighting 06:48
  6. Microphone and audio interface 08:25

Read the full episode transcript below:

00:25 David Blackmon: Hey everybody welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, brought to you by WP Gears. I’m David Blackmon.

00:35 Tim Strifler: And I’m Tim Strifler.

00:37 David Blackmon: Today in episode 644 we’re going to talk about the tools you need for high quality virtual meetings. Yesterday Tim and I tackled the topic of how to have an effective virtual client meeting. If you haven’t listened to that go take a listen to it. Today we’re going to talk  about the tools that we use and the ones that we recommend and number one to start off is video conferencing software. You know there’s lots of options out there and they’re all good it just depends on what meets your budgets and your needs. Best we use Zoom,  you can use Google Meet, Google Meets free, Zoom has a free option but it’s got a time limit .You can do a zoom call for an x number of time i believe it’s like 40 minutes and then it’s going to cut off. So if you have meetings that could potentially go longer than 40 minutes and when you’re meeting with clients those meetings were really important, and sometimes those clients can get long-winded or vice versa you could go longer than 40 minutes, so be aware of that. You know the software platform that you’re using a la Zoom, Google Meet, Skype those are the three that are probably the most common and that we recommend um you know. Just be aware of that Google Meets free it doesn’t have any time limit you can stay on there forever if you want to and Skype is as well but Zoom does have a time limit so..

02:04 Tim Strifler: Yeah, yeah and another one is go to meeting go to meeting used to kind of be all the rage. Came well before Zoom but Zoom in my opinion and trust David and I we’ve used everything. Zoom is is the best quality and the best like stability um hands down compared to everything else so that’s that’s top of the list for sure. The next thing uh that you need for high quality virtual meetings and again as David mentioned this is high quality, so if you want if you’re starting to do more of this, you want to up the quality that’s the things on this list you don’t
necessarily have to do this just to have virtual meetings right this is. If you want to have high quality virtual meetings so the next thing on the list is a good quality camera. So for example David and I use Sony mirrorless cameras. So mirrorless and DSLR are two different professional camera technologies. DSLR have mirrors and mirrorless are kind of a newer thing and that they don’t have mirrors in the same way but they’re both very high quality professional level cameras. David and I both use the uh use Sony’s as I mentioned I use the A6400, David has the A6500
and I think David’s plenty I’m getting the A6400 as well. And then I also have a Canon M50 um but all great cameras um and if you buy the camera you’re typically going to want to buy a lens as well so um Dave and I both use the sigma uh Sigma lens is..

03:32 David Blackmon: 16..

03:32 Tim Strifler: 16 millimeter okay.. yeah I’m terrible with the lint..

03:33 David Blackmon: Yeah I think it’s a 16 millimeter yeah..

03:37 Tim Strifler: Okay, 60 millimeter Sigma lens is a great one so we highly recommend that.

03:40 David Blackmon: And speaking of cameras obviously your camera can shoot very high quality video hours for example will shoot 4k video well it’s not your computers that your camera could be plugged into your webcams and whatnot um can’t really record in those. So you’re going to need something to capture that so there’s we use cam link which is a capture card. I’m sure there’s some other options out there but elgato cam link is a pretty well known well-known easy to use works with just about any camera you hook it up with an HDMI cord and you can plug it right into your Computer and it will turn any really nice camera like the Sony A6400, A6500 or the Canons or you know any of the other ones Panasonic whatever, into a webcam. So we also have the um Logitech HD 1080p camera but there aren’t any 4k ones so they just haven’t made them yet and this hd camera that Tim and I have,  had for years. With the Logitech is actually the best one that’s out there and but it’s just not super high quality. We want the bokeh effect in the background the blurred background we want us to really you know looking really good
on camera and stuff and uh this capture card is going to allow you to do that so get that.

05:12 Tim Strifler: Yeah there’s no like webcams that can get you the quality that you can get with a professional level camera that you use a cam link or capture card with. And so that’s the route you have to go if you want to have a really high Quality video for virtual meetings and streaming and stuff. The next thing is you’re going to need a basically a power pack or dummy battery for your camera. And so Dave and
I we we’re using our high quality cameras that we’re telling you about right now and uh so they’re you know we’ve been recording now for um I don’t know close to an hour or whatnot. And so um you don’t want to be constantly having to change the batteries you want to be able to plug it in and have it just stay on for an unlimited amount of time and so you can basically get a like a power pack that plugs into an outlet and it’s
essentially like a dummy battery that goes into your battery port and it basically allows the electricity to transfer into your camera without having to constantly be switching battery packs.

06:12 David Blackmon: And you may be asking why not just plug my camera in directly to the wall. Unfortunately a lot of these cameras don’t allow you to do that. They still will shut off after a period of time and that is why these dummy batteries or power pack batteries for these  cameras are important. Because they will even if you have it plugged in for some reason it doesn’t work that way and blows my mind! Sony fix that! So that we don’t have to buy a dang extra dummy battery so.. 

06:43 Tim Strifler: Yeah which they’re cheap they’re like what 20 bucks..

06:48 David Blackmon: Yeah they’re pretty cheap so it’s not a huge deal but kind of a pain. Seems like it would be just built right into the  camera because I can plug mine into the wall however it’s still going to shut off after about 45 minutes. So next on our list which is very important
for high quality virtual meetings is good lighting.  Tim and I talked about lighting yesterday probably the most it’s really really important obviously. You don’t want just the lights from your room you know above lights or just a window only to depend on lighting we actually have purchased some professional lighting that mounts to our desks that you know, goes from um I forget the scales of lighting because we’re Tim and I aren’t photo or video experts..  uh I think it’s kelvin you know and and it. Yeah it’s how you measure light temperature from like the cool to the warm you know and it kind of gives that natural or outdoor or indoor or those types of lights where you can manage the kelvin is is gonna allow you to  adjust the lighting and stuff. And how you position the lighting where it shines from um all of that stuff is really really important so you’re going to somewhat need to educate yourself on good lighting and stuff and it’s pretty easy just use common sense you can see yourself you know what looks good,what doesn’t look good when you have shadows.. uh when things are kind of out of out of out of focus and stuff. So good lighting is really important and it’s pretty inexpensive to get some good lights as well.

08:25 Tim Strifler: Yeah which they’re cheap they’re like what 20 bucks that mount directly to your desk and so we don’t have to set anything up we don’t have any uh you know stands that are getting in the way of anything. They just mount to the desk and they’re made for what we’re  doing you know. To shine directly on you as you’re as you’re you’re doing videos and video calls and streaming or live video calls. So that’s lighting’s Important. The last thing but definitely Not.  uh the least is a good microphone. I would say i’d venture to say if you’re not gonna do any of the other things on this list you should at least get a good microphone because that will automatically make your uh virtual meetings so much better quality by having a good microphone. And so you can uh start relatively inexpensive for example the Blue Yeti that’s probably the first thing that i did to really upgrade the quality of videos and stuff. That I was doing was i bought the Blue Yeti microphone I think it’s about 100  bucks somewhere in there. Get it on amazon or Best Buy or any store that sells electronics it’s a pretty popular microphone it’s and it’s
a usb mic so it’ll plug directly in your computer no additional hardware or software needed and it’s gonna drastically improve your quality over the microphone that’s built into your computer or the microphone that comes with your headphones. So that’s a great place to start however if you want to take it a step further uh two microphones that i highly recommend and are really popular in the kind of the podcasting world the ones that David and I have is the Rode ProCaster. So the Rode ProCaster is a professional level podcasting dynamic microphone and it works really really well and then the second one that’s also really popular I haven’t personally used it, but it’s one that you’ve probably seen a million times in different videos is the Shure SM5. I think I said that right the Shure SM58 that’s another really popular one and  it’s very similar very comparable to the Rode ProCaster it’s actually more quite a bit more money though. And so um I the Rode ProCaster is awesome and and i don’t think the the Shure is any better quality I think it’s just a slightly different sound uh depending on preference um but both of those are neither of them are usb microphones so if you buy the Rode ProCaster or the Shure SM5 8 you’re going to need an audio interface. Because it’s a traditional microphone like you see on stage and it uses an xlr cable which is a traditional microphone cable and so you plug that into the audio interface and then the audio interface connects via usb to your computer, and so you need that in order to use the microphone with virtual meetings as well,  as uh you know live streaming or creating videos and stuff. So the the interface that David and I use that’s probably the most popular one
is the Scarlet Focusrite um i think Scarlett’s the brand focus writes the product right David? 

11:41 David Blackmon: It is, yeah, that’s correct..

11:47 Tim Strifler: And so it works really you know.. It’s a little built-in mixer too so you can have two microphones and then uh control the
input separately so uh very simple very easy to use and it’s going to give you amazing quality like you’re hearing right now. That’s what David and I are using.

12:02 David Blackmon: I’m so glad you tackled microphone Tim. There is so much that goes into just the  microphone alone that it’s as you can tell depending on what the route you go if you’re brand new go start with a Blue Yeti it’s a great microphone you can even use lapel mics that  plug directly into your camera directly in your computer depending on your setup and stuff and what you’re going to do so microphone there’s lots of options do some research check it out. We can maybe even link a list of our all of the equipment that we use in our con in our you know this podcast episode on our website episode 644 and we’ll link Amazon to it as well. And you can go check them out may or may not be affiliate links i’m going to be transparent tim and i don’t typically do Amazon affiliate links. So I don’t even know if we’re set up for that
but who knows we might be and guess what it doesn’t cost you any more money to click on that link  If you’re going to buy it anyway. So just going to throw that out. There we’ve got another great topic tomorrow. Tim until tomorrow we’ll see you then.

13:14 Tim Strifler: Take care bye-bye.

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