Some great tips to help your videos look more professional...
October 19th 2021...

Cameras for webcams
With so many of us now using webcams for calls on Zoom, Skype and Teams the issue of improving the camera image (and making ourselves look better) is becoming more important. And while some of the upcoming blogs will concentrate on other aspects of better webcams, such as  good lighting, sorting out the background, what to wear on camera etc - this blog will specifically focus on getting a better camera image.

There is no doubt that for a better webcam image you need to start with a good quality webcam, and usually this means not using the camera that is fixed to your computer but to buy yourself a HD webcam that will work at either 720 or 1080 resolution. There are many brands on the market and nearly all of them will be compatible with operating systems on both Mac and PC and will range in price from £50 upwards for a good camera. Do your research and look for impartial reviews, check the camera is compatible with your specific computer - then take the plunge. Most off-the-shelf webcams will come with a clip to allow you to move the camera around to get a more flattering angle and as a rule you want the camera to be positioned at least in-line with your eyes and possible slightly above.
Once you have invested in a new webcam and plugged it in the next thing to do is to go into your computer preferences and make sure you have the right settings enabled to get the best out of the camera. The way to do this will vary depending on your computer but always make sure the  HD function is turned on (some computers default to SD) and also make sure your computer automatically switches to your new camera and not the built in one. And finally always remember that if you use a service such as Zoom or Skype then open up the preferences for each one and double check that the video settings are set as high as possible before you join an online video call. Often online web services will automatically default to a lower-resolution than your new camera is capable of giving you unless you go into the preferences and change them manually. TIP: Currently Zoom only allows users to select HD webcam if you are a ‘Pro’ user and then it will only work with two people on the web-call. More than two and it will scale you down to SD to save on bandwidth. In time this will probably change but it is still worth investing in a HD webcam as picture quality is only going to improve in the future.

Once you have a good quality webcam up and running you will then need to look at some of the other aspects of improving your video such as arranging your background, better lighting or sound -  and we will look at these in future blogs.
October 7th 2021...

Simple lighting to improve your interviews and webcams...
With so many interviews being conducted over Social Media and webcams these days we seem to be getting accustomed to very harsh and uninspiring lighting. This is the kind of lighting where people record interviews in their own home or at their office desk where the light comes from table lamps or ceiling downlights. These situations all tend to have the same thing in common; they are unflattering to the person on camera and usually ends up giving them either harsh shadows across the face or there seem to be no shadows at all and the image in very flat.  But there is something we can do about this. A technique I learnt many years ago while studying photography was the creative effect of something called two-point lighting. This is one of the simplest lighting set-ups but also one of the most effective. It is easy to create and will transform the appearance of anyone you light in this way.​​​​​​​
As the name suggest you will need two light sources: a broad soft light (see image) and a more narrow spotlight. The soft light is to light the face, giving no hard shadows and needs to be placed to one side of the camera and angled down towards your subject. The spotlight is placed high up behind the subject and should hit the top of their head and spread across the shoulders. Sometimes called the ‘hair-light’ it has the effect of both adding a highlight to your subject while also making them stand out against the background. It also adds a sense of shape and form to the subject and so avoids the opposite problem of having harsh shadows - no shadows at all. With no shadows you will get a very ‘flat’ image that tends to lack any vitality or energy.

There are of course other set ups such as three-point lighting but this will take longer to arrange and is probably best left for another blog. But if you want to instantly improve your lighting of people, whether that is yourself or someone you are filming, then consider a basic two-point lighting set-up. It makes your subject look good and will make your videos stand out from the crowd.
We've been working hard....
March 10th 2021...
Mediacrews NHS video production scene image
Mediacrews has been working with NHS Somerset to create a series of videos and audio files portraying various doctor/patient scenarios showing the differing styles of delivering bad news.

Mediacrews NHS live streaming image
Mediacrews working with NHS Homerton, we live streamed a memorial service from the hospital garden. The footage was streamed to a YouTube channel allowing all staff members to watch the service - remembering those that had died during the Covid pandemic.
Mediacrews video production corporate video image
Working with The Mediacoach - one of the countries leading media training companies. We filmed a series of 'talking head' videos to be used across websites and social media platforms.
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