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    Audio and lighting for Skype-type transmissions?
    #1
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    We're going to see a lot more of these coming from home computers. Interesting to see a news show where you have 4 boxes of talking heads and the differences in lighting and audio. I would think the networks would supply some simple audio and lighting support kits to improve/standardize.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Unfortunately itís been going on for years and itís been bad for years, even from people that know better. I think part of it is the mentality that itís ďSkypeĒ, so who gives a f***. But then the other part is people that really have no clue. As much as I hate to see a poorly lit and framed shot, the bad audio is the big thing. So many of these types of LSís and interviews are such a struggle to hear the person.

    One of the local news stations here has a show immediately after their 10p news that is sort of a cross between news and TMZ, with the topics and guests and feel to it. Theyíve been emphasizing ďsocial distancingĒ , so they have been spreading people out across the studio and even putting people in the field, for no other reason to separate them and because they can(dog lick LS). Last night for that show they had the main host/anchor(female) in the studio, another anchor(male)standing out in the cold with a cityscape background and the third host/contributor(female) from her house via Skype with an AirPod prominently visible in her ear. Obviously the Skype shot looked and sounded like crap compared to the other two. And this isnít a 20-something reporter, sheís easily in at least her late 30ís, cares how she looks and has been doing this for a long time, but she didnít appear to be lit by anything more than the lights in the room(looked like every single overhead was on) and was leaned into her laptop at times, because you could see her face being distorted in an unflattering manner. The funny thing, though, her delay was significantly less than the anchor in the field. She was able to converse and carry on with the studio almost seamlessly, while the field anchor was several seconds behind them, as he was constantly stepping on someone else talking trying to weigh-in on a topic.


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    I also find this baffling. They should at least give some instruction, like put your laptop on a stack of boxes or books so that the audience isn't looking up at your nose hair.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    This equipment was never intended to be used to make TV. It’s just so regular people could see each other while they talk to each other. The internal mics are bad, there is no zoom lens so you can’t get the camera into a more flattering position and then if you could, the mic is even farther away making the audio worse. Then you have the compression that kills the audio even more and the limited frame rate... It’s a train full of nitro speeding down hill to a bridge that is out. I personally don’t have much use for FaceTime/Skype, unless I’m needing to see or show someone something(besides our faces), like a piece of gear that may be broken.


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    Very timely, my wife is a middle school teacher and working with her, I am putting together a tips and tricks YT video for using your crappy laptop camera for distance remote teaching.
    The teachers only have their laptops, they cannot use Zoom with their phones or a better camera they might have so that's what they're stuck with.
    It is the most frustrating type of camera, auto exposure, auto white balance and I agree, the main hurdle is audio, it matters so much more for talking
    heads to be able to actually hear what the teacher is saying. I'm just doing this for fun mainly because it's better to work and not get paid but do something for my
    community, than to not work and not get paid and contribute zilch.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puredrifting View Post
    Very timely, my wife is a middle school teacher and working with her, I am putting together a tips and tricks YT video for using your crappy laptop camera for distance remote teaching.
    The teachers only have their laptops, they cannot use Zoom with their phones or a better camera they might have so that's what they're stuck with.
    It is the most frustrating type of camera, auto exposure, auto white balance and I agree, the main hurdle is audio, it matters so much more for talking
    heads to be able to actually hear what the teacher is saying. I'm just doing this for fun mainly because it's better to work and not get paid but do something for my
    community, than to not work and not get paid and contribute zilch.
    I’ve commented before that it’s funny that when you actually try to light for these “auto” cameras, they look even worse sometimes. It’s like they’re programmed to expect and deal with crappy light and when they’re given something different, they don’t know what to do. I don’t know how many times, during some of these collegiate sports media days we shoot interviews for, that they’ll try to take pictures/selfies while in our lit interview rooms and they’ll look horrible, usually blown out faces or backgrounds, but they step out into the hallway and it almost looks like a pro shot it(I’m exaggerating, but you get the point).


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    Senior Member cpreston's Avatar
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    I tried fixing the lighting once to get the correct exposure on one of those internal cameras and I gave up. It isn't worth the effort and nobody cares. It wouldn't be hard to put together a base teleconferencing kit with a usb light or battery powered light, software that controls the gain on the camera and the audio feed, and simple lavalier. But nobody would buy it or use it. Just listen to the number of podcasts where somebody seems to be using a single mic on a table with everybody just sitting somewhere in the room.


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    #8
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    When I use Google hangout, I set up a light, but I don't shine it on me directly, it works better to bounce it off a large surface like a wall, which works well in my home office. In the winter it works very well to use a 1,000w halogen light, as it not only illuminates your face, but also radiates some heat onto you as well.


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    I discovered utilities for both Mac or PC that give you exposure and WB control of any webcam including the internal one. They are just a few bucks or free. The smart thing for anyone to do is invest $50.00 into
    a Logitech web cam but for the cheap or poor, that's not an option. Same with the mic, which I think is more important than picture in these cases. For Gods sake, invest $50.00 or $100.00
    into a USB mic but most won't.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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