Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 48

Working from Home
Upgrading Your
Home Office to a Home Studio
Should you 'studio-ify' your home
office? By David Maldow
IN TODAY'S WFH-PREVALENT WORLD, most of us have
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex and several other video apps
working on our laptop in our home office. We can successfully
connect and participate in video calls without any problem. So,
now that we finally have just about everything working, why
would we need anything more?
Well, it's pretty clear that, if you want to become one of the
people who starts creating video content for YouTube, or who
livestreams their content anywhere, you'll want to research
and utilize higher-quality video and audio gear.
But what about if you're only on video a few times a day, or
even just a few times a week? What if you only use it to check
in with team members and clients? Should you be concerned
with the quality of your home-office setup then? Well, yes. Yes,
you should....
I believe most of us have learned to be concerned about how
we appear on video over the course of the pandemic. We have
seen ourselves onscreen, in our little video boxes, right next to
our colleagues, who are in their own little boxes. We've noticed
how people with better framing, lighting and audio quality have
a more professional presence in our online meetings. We might
even feel that, as they make their points, people who are " good
on video " have more impact than others do.
Don't Stand Out in a Bad Way
Just as we care about our appearance when we are at the
office, we should care about how we present ourselves over
video - even when it's just meeting with our work teams. At
the end of the day, you don't want to stand out in a bad way
over video any more than you'd want to stand out negatively
in the office. You might think that, if your company and team
have a casual vibe, you can be more casual about your appearance
and your home-office video setup. Even if you're casual,
though, you still want to look good. Having some clutter
behind you is casual. Having terrible lighting and bad camera
angles doesn't come off as casual, though - you just look
bad. And it can affect the way you're perceived professionally.
The good news is this: You can take the journey of improvement
at your own pace. And the better news is this: The
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Commercial Integrator SEPTEMBER 2022
home-studio journey is an approachable, manageable and
affordable process. You don't need to bring in a construction
crew, tear things down and build an entire home studio from
scratch following a common plan. You can take a piecemeal
approach, based on your current setup and budget, and gradually
work to improve your video experience.
Ideally, you should start with the low-hanging fruit. If everyone
is complaining about your audio, then, to start, investigate
improving that. If you feel that everyone else in your meetings
looks better lit than you do, then start by researching lighting
options. A small strategic spend can often give you a more
significant improvement than a bigger, less strategic spend
can. For example, if you have terrible audio and decent video,
you can spend $50 for a headset and realize a massive improvement;
that's better than spending $500 on a higher-end
camera for a less-significant improvement.
Home-Studio Spending
There is no definitive answer to the question of how much
you should spend on your home studio. Every aspect of the
home-studio-upgrade process exists on a sliding scale based
on needs and budget. Whether you are talking about lighting,
audio, video or room elements, you can start with affordable
options and spend more as your needs grow.
For example, at some point, you will probably assess where
you are on the scale of video quality. If you currently have no
video, you can get a webcam for around $30 that will do the
job. If you increase that to around $80, you have options that
do an excellent job and that can handle HD. For about $200
and up, you start getting into advanced features like 4K resolution.
At the top end - for those who have larger budgets
and the need/desire to look as good as possible for content
creation and livestreaming - it is possible to spend hundreds
on a high-end home professional camera or thousands on a
DSLR or other kind of ultra-high-end camera.
This is your personal journey. If you're already happy with the
resolution, clarity and quality of your video image, then focus
on another element of your home studio. If you feel that your
webcam experience stands out in a bad way as compared to
your peers, ask them what models of camera they're using and
pick one that's in your price range. If you're looking to stand out
in a positive way, start saving up for the higher-end gear.
The same kind of sliding scale applies to lighting, microphones,
speakers/headsets, audio mixers, PCs/laptops,
software and other room elements. This might sound overcommercialintegrator.com
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Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover1
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Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
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