Improving the home setup for video calls

Since I’m on a Zoom call most days, I’ve been taking steps to improve the video conferencing setup at our house.

(of course, none of this of course is essential, but the inner geek in me is enjoying this a bit under the circumstances)

I use my iPad Pro for pretty much everything but I am back to using our old 2016 iMac for Zoom calls. The front facing camera location on the iPad is positioned poorly for pretty much everything and that includes video conferencing. The iMac webcam is really poor but at least you can connect a 3rd party webcam to it. So I bought this Logitech model. Unfortunately they are sold out everywhere but I found mine on eBay at a serious markup.

The lighting in my home office isn’t ideal for video conferencing. I’m either side lit or back lit most of the day which creates a harsh silhouette effect. Then I remembered I have this portable LED for my photography. So it’s now on a desktop tripod, facing me during video calls. Much better. You don’t need a dedicated video LED. Any desk lamp that lights up your face will do just fine. I recommend getting one with a warm light and skip any florescent lighting. And turn off your ceiling lights.

I highly recommend using Krisp to make the audio quality a million times better for the other party. They won’t hear you banging away on your keyboard or if you have any street noise, etc. I believe Krisp is free for the first 120 minutes and then you can sign up for the monthly plan of $4/mo. It’s a massive improvement.

Get a microphone. Any external microphone (EarPods, AirPods, desktop mics, headphones with mics) will likely be much better than the mic on your computer. And you can talk in a more natural volume level. Your Zoom friends and your throat will thank you.

My three kids are also on Zoom most of the day as their school is online. I picked up these laptop stands to improve their posture. And I’ve got them wired up to the LAN with an Amazon USB-C to Ethernet adapter.

I’ve been using virtual desktops on Zoom for the last few weeks. They are super fun and lord knows we can use some more smiles these days.


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