For those of us taking our events online, one of the biggest challenges that we’re faced with is delivering a powerful attendee experience all from our very own homes.
The thought of connecting with potentially thousands of attendees from a home office is definitely a daunting one and understandably it will take some getting used to.
Without the AV production, branding opportunities, and general buzz that comes from having all of your attendees under one roof, we need to adapt and identify new ways to create the perfect environment from home. And the good news is that this is a lot easier than you might think.
Just take the example of YouTubers who have built successful careers out of creating videos from their homes. You only need to take a quick look at how they use all of the resources available at their disposal to create slick, high-quality videos that are visually appealing and engage viewers.
So without further ado, we’ve drawn up some pointers that will help transform your home office into a visually appealing virtual main stage.
How to build a quality DIY home studio
But first things first, let’s talk about the home studio. This is the prerequisite to a top-quality production. Of course, this will all come down to how many events you’re planning on doing, so we’ve put together two different options for you.
The basics on a budget
Use your smartphone or laptop as a camera: Today’s smartphones have some fantastic cameras and the same can be said for the webcam on your laptop. Use this to your advantage and save yourself some valuable money in the process. Just remember when recording to have your phone placed horizontally in front of you with plenty of elevation.
Improvise with a book stand: You camera lens should always be at face level. If using a smartphone this will mean investing in a tripod, which can be done for $20, and for laptops, you can use a pile of books. Either method will give you the stability needed for shooting.
Split your devices for audio and visual: If you’re choosing between your laptop and your smartphone for recording, always go with the former which produces much better audio quality. It’s also worth using one device for audio and the other for visuals to provide clearer sound, that when you’re editing you can put the two pieces together.
Make the most of the sun: The biggest and best natural light known to all of us is the sun, so make good use of it. Sit by a window to make the most of all the natural light available. And remember to always face the sun, that way your face will be lit up as opposed to a silhouette.
Use fabric as a backdrop: Option 1 is to use what you already have, that could mean sitting in front of a shelf to show off branded decorations. Option 2 is to use a large piece of black fabric as a backdrop that will make it much easier to add overlays and visual elements.
Free video platforms: Zoom, OBS, and SteamYard are some of the many options for recording the video. However, it’s worth noting that your options for branding will be limited when compared with a subscription service.
Free graphic design tools: To create the overlays and visual elements you can use free graphic design tools such as Canva which already has the many templates needed to create the designs.
Taking it up a level and investing
Looking to splash the cash? There are plenty of ways to do it but here are three of the most important upgrades that you should be looking to make.
Get a quality microphone: There’s nothing worse than poor sound quality (especially when you consider how important audio content is to virtual events) so if you’re going to spend anything, spend it on a microphone.
Invest in an SLR camera: If you’re familiar with the kit used by YouTubers then this will come as no surprise. SLRs will guarantee crisp, high-resolution video which is exactly what everyone is looking for.
Buy better lighting: If you’re one of the many people that can’t rely on the sun, then purchase some clamp lights. You’ll want 3 of these and we’ll explain why later, but at $10 a pop, these won’t break the bank but will ensure that you have a well-lit production whatever the weather
OK, so now you’ve got everything you’ll need to get started, let’s take a look at how you can use all of this equipment to its fullest potential.
Your overall studio branding
Identify how you can use some of the visual elements at your disposal to give attendees a real taste of your brand. First, make sure you get the basics right, think about your logo, the colours, and fonts that you’ll be using. Then take it up a notch by getting creative. How about some branded balloons for the background or some good looking overlays? Whatever you choose, make sure it that it aligns with your brand and moreover, the message you want to communicate with your attendees.
To get your attendees focusing on the right areas, create a shallow depth of field look where the background behind you will fall off to a softly focused blur. Naturally, this is how our eyes work so doing this in your videos will please your attendees, making it much easier for them to zone into the content that you’re offering. Finally, don’t have yourself boxed in between a wall, instead, give yourself plenty of distance.
Use lights the right way
When it comes to lighting, the aim of the game is to illuminate your face so make sure to incorporate plenty of natural-looking light that will minimize any shadows. The best way of doing this is with three-point lighting (now you see why we mentioned the 3 clamp lights). You’ll want two lights pointing at you from a 45-degree angle and the other light aiming at the backdrop to remove the shadows.
There are a couple of options here. First, you can keep things simple by using some white or black fabric. Second, you can use your home office or wherever it is you’re recording from. Understandably, the latter is a lot harder to get right but if do it will look the most visually appealing. This will give it more of a personal touch and give your attendees the impression that they’re there with you in the room.
Following on from the last point, to make your background more appealing add some decorations such as a plant, pictures, or awards, this will help break up the background. But remember it’s a fine line, you don’t want to get carried away. Having a cluttered background will distract your audience as opposed to engaging them. That’s why you should always try and keep it refined and simple.
So there you have it. We hope that this article has provided you with the inspiration needed to transform your home office into a virtual main stage that will see you present to thousands of attendees. Now it's time for you to give it a go!