How to Shoot a Webinar from a Desktop

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

Webinars are clearly easier than organizing a meeting in a public space, but don’t let that go to your head. Just because space is not a big concern doesn’t mean you don’t have other issues and concerns. For one, you have to have the proper equipment.

It starts with your computer. Are its specifications up to carrying your webinar? Most webinars are audio-only. But even if yours isn’t, these days most laptops, iMacs, and MacBooks have a web camera, making it perfectly conceivable that you could hold a webinar while sitting at your desk, provided it’s a relatively quiet room.

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If you plan on using video, flattering light helps too. Few people would notice where the webinar actually took place, and others would never care as long as there were no problems and it looked good.

When deciding on an effective spot for your next webinar, consider the following:

  • A nice quiet place: You can hold a webinar just about anywhere, provided it’s relatively quiet with enough space. Unless you have a major production, you don’t need a sound stage.

    Depending on the type of webinar you’re delivering, there’s nothing wrong with a little office noise, but generally speaking, you need quiet. But if your space is adjacent to a construction site, high-traffic area, or a train yard, it’s probably a good idea to find another spot.

  • Good lighting: Quite simply, the better the lighting, the better you look. Good lighting also controls the color in the scene, taking it from a dominant cast or muted tone to vibrant color with good separation. Everyone knows why people go to a professional photographer for important pictures instead of using the snapshots they post on Facebook.

    Part of that photographer’s magic comes from good lighting. Maybe it doesn’t matter that the look is less than perfect when you’re using social media or communicating with FaceTime on your iPhone with your BFF, but nobody wants to see you or some expert talking to them with shadows across their face, or worse, under your eyes. (Disregard the latter if you’re reaching out to the raccoon community.)

  • Clear sound: Can you hear me now? It’s not just a catchphrase, but also an issue and a concern that decides if your audience sticks around. Although your audience needs to see you clearly, it’s equally, if not more, important that they hear you — the clearer, the better.

    That kind of sound quality doesn’t happen easily and definitely not when you’re depending on the pinhole microphone on your laptop, or with your mouth to the cell phone receiver. Instead, you should opt for a portable microphone, or better yet, use a clip-on or lavaliere microphone.

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