Being that we are in the middle of summer fun, I wanted to look back to a pre – quarantine event with Freedom Boat Club. On this occasion, George from my business networking group invited us on an evening cruise on the Occoquan River. I was very familiar with these waters since my mom has a house right on these shores.
Since George works for Freedom Boat Club, we were taken for an evening cruise just out of their marina. Having a membership in his company gives you access to their fleet of boats. What a great way to entertain clients, or treat friends to a unique experience!
If George wanted to pick a perfect day for a demonstration, this was it. Not only did the summer heat go away as we were speeding out on the waters, but the sunset was amazing. I took some time from networking to get lots of photos of the sunset. It doesn’t look like Woodbridge from out here!
Since we are weeks into this quarantine – video conferences have replaced in person meetings. To be sure this is not my favorite way to network and meet business contacts. However, the current state of our world has forced this style of communication for everyone.
While the advances in technology have made the webcam an adequate conduit for this communication, I am a photographer. Thus, I want to have the best picture quality! Of course I would look better myself, but it would also help my business profile. If my little box looked the best out of all of the boxes in the meeting, it would stick with some people that I know how to make a good looking image online. Moreover, it would show how much I care about how I project myself online, and how professional I can make my clients look. To this end, I looked at how I could use my professional cameras to stream online. My lenses and lighting could then be used to elevate the look from my studio.
Quarantine 2 – Video Setup
As an overview, my laptop is positioned next to my camera on a tripod. The lens is set to a 50mm focal length. If you are using a smart phone for your calls, I would select a portrait style mode to zoom in closer to your face. Seeing that this is the most important thing to see in the video, fill your frame up with your face! The microphone captures a nice clean audio from me sitting about a foot and a half away from the camera. The background of my shot is 10 feet away from where I am sitting. With the difference in distance, the background is blurred out nicely. As long as there is some difference between you and the background, you can have this same effect.
Once you have the camera set, the HDMI cable comes out of the camera and into a video capture card. For this setup, I used the Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2. From here the audio and video is transferred by USB to my laptop. From here, you can choose your USB connection as your webcam in Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, whatever program you would like to use. Both your audio and video will be sent through.
Similar to the separation of your face from the background, the lighting setup follows. I have a very cheap shop lamp with an LED bulb to my right. It is shining into an umbrella that softens the shadows but still gives dimension. With the bright light only about a foot from my face, the exposure is set for my face with the background becoming dark. This makes for a nice dark background. As a matter of fact, this is a good way to hide a messy work room 🙂
Again this may be overkill for most video conferences. However, I want to be remembered as a photographer. With this setup, it makes it easier to make an impression as someone that produces professional images! Please let me know if you have any suggestions, or questions. I am very knew to this, but am pleased with the results so far!
Hitting the ground running in 2020 is important for the Tysons Chamber Board. Not only do they have Signature Events that require months of planning, they also have new initiatives on the table. Also, they have some new board members this year that are enthusiastic to put their stamp on the Chamber with their expertise!
If making ‘Connections that Matter’ is the goal of the Tysons Chamber, by all means this retreat fit the bill. Stone Tower Winery is a beautiful venue for this gathering. With the size of the group, they were seated in a private tasting room. As can be seen in the photos, the table was set up in between large fermenting barrels. A sommelier poured a selection of wines for tasting. After all the tasting, the group met for lunch and continued the planning for 2020. It should be a great year for the Chamber!