Webcam Videography | Phil Ebiner | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Enroll Now to Make Better Webcam Videos

    • 2. What is this course all about?

    • 3. Step 1: Change the Webcam and Adjust Your Framing

    • 4. Step 2: Improve Your Audio

    • 5. Step 3: Improve Your Background

    • 6. Step 4: Add Lights

    • 7. Step 5: Use the Right Tools

    • 8. Bonus - Background Option II

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About This Class

Do you want to make better webcam videos?

Do you want to make better videos with your webcam?

This is the perfect course for you!

Learn how to make better webcam videos with proper composition, lighting, audio, and backgrounds.

Use simple and inexpensive tools to get a professional-looking video.

Who will benefit from this course?

  • Livestreamers
  • YouTubers
  • Webinar Hosts
  • Online Course Creators
  • Marketers
  • Skypers
  • Any Video Creator

How does the course work?

The entire course works through improving a webcam video, starting with framing and audio, and moving through to lighting and backgrounds.

  • Start with fixing your webcam framing
  • Improve your audio - so important for webcam videos!
  • Make your backgrounds better
  • Add proper lighting (that won't break the bank!)
  • Use apps and tools to manually adjust your settings

Enroll now to start making better webcam videos today!

What others are saying:

'Just great, the best investment in udemy so far. The instructors know deeply about making video, and instead of flooding the course with tons of information, they focus in always boiling down to the essential, the practical, all the course felt doable, and I have completed all the homework to the current point.' - David Cabezas

'The instructors are to-the-point, like-able and engaging. I have learned a lot! Thanks for the great course!' - Caryl E

'Phil and guys, great course. As I get through the material, you guys are doing a great job breaking down the information in clear and easy understandable lessons.' - John Sanders

I'm looking forward to helping you make better webcam videos!

Enroll Now to Start Making Better Webcam Videos

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Phil Ebiner

Video | Photo | Design


Can I help you learn a new skill?

Since 2012 have been teaching people like you everything I know. I create courses that teach you how to creatively share your story through photography, video, design, and marketing.

I pride myself on creating high quality courses from real world experience.


I've always tried to live life presently and to the fullest. Some of the things I love to do in my spare time include mountain biking, nerding out on personal finance, traveling to new places, watching sports (huge baseball fan here!), and sharing meals with friends and family. Most days you can find me spending quality time with my lovely wife, twin boys and a baby girl, and dog Ashby.

In 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Film and Tele... See full profile

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1. Enroll Now to Make Better Webcam Videos: How do we get our Webcam videos to go from something that looks and sounds like this to something that looks and sounds like this? That's what this many courses all about. I'm going to walk you through all of the steps so that you can make your own Webcam videos look better than ever from choosing the right camera and microphone to manually adjusting all of the settings, adding lights to make your videos look even better and adjusting the background so that it looks professional. By the end of this many course, you'll be making better Webcam videos than ever before. So if you're doing live social media videos making tutorials, if you're an online course creators doing webinars, this is the perfect course to help you out. And the best part is it's completely free. So there's no reason to hesitate and roll now, and we'll see you inside 2. What is this course all about?: everyone fill here from video school, online dot com and online course masters dot com. In this series of videos, I will walk you through how to improve your own Webcam videos and the way we're going to do that, as each video in this series is going to take a step further towards a more professional looking and sounding video. So the course itself is going to look and sound better as we go through it, starting with our Webcam moving on to audio things we can do with the background and lighting. We're gonna cover it all in this many course. Thanks so much for watching and let's get straight to it. 3. Step 1: Change the Webcam and Adjust Your Framing: My first recommendation for improving your Webcam videos is to actually swap from using your internal video camera to an external webcam. Your internal webcam for most computers isn't going to be as high quality as external Web cam, so you can get for relatively cheap. I'm going to swap over to the lodger text, see 9 20 right now to show you the difference. It's one of the most popular Web camps out there and couldn't get it for less than $75 on Amazon. Here you have it, the logic text See 9 20 which is a relatively old camera. They even have a newer version, the Logic C 9 30 which is a little bit more pricey. But either is a great option for your external Web camp, and you could probably already tell that the quality is much better. And one of the reasons is just the fact that this camera can shoot at a higher resolution. Even though I'm using a relatively new I Mac computer, it can only shoot at 12 80 by 7 20 Now, some of the newer Webcams on newer computers can shoot at 1920 by 10 80 but The quality difference between that is a huge difference. The next thing we gotta do is composed your shot. Compose yourself in your shot Better. I see so many Webcam videos that look like this where I'm looking up at the camera or ones where you have your laptop on the table or in your lap and you're looking down at the camera. That is no bueno. When it comes to a Webcam videos with all types of video, you want to make sure that the camera is I level. So that's what we're going to do right now. Whether you are using a stack of books to put your laptop on or you can stand up or do something else to make sure it's that I level do it. I have a stand up death. So that's what I'm going to do right now. Raise my desk, stand up. So I'm at eye level. All right, so now you can tell that just from putting at eye level, it looks a little bit better. Now. I'm just gonna address the camera, so that is more eye level, and then the next thing I'm going to do is center myself Right now I'm looking at the video itself of me, So I'm trying to center myself. This looks pretty good a lot better than over here. We're over here or just being slightly off center. That just looks bad. The only reason you want to put yourself over on the side is if you are adding some sort of graphics that pop up on the side of the frame, which is a cool technique. But for most Webcam videos, whether you're just teaching a course, doing a YouTube video or just doing a Skype call or something like that, a live stream, you want to be put in the center of your frame so that you are the attention and not what's in the background. We're gonna be talking about how you can change the background to make it look a lot better for your Webcam videos in an upcoming lesson. But the last time I want to give you is to make sure you put your eyes in the upper third of your video so you want a gesture camera. I'm going to do it right now so you don't necessarily want your camera to be have your face in the center of your screen. It just feels a little unbalanced this way. And you also don't want the top of your head being cut up like this. Another example of it just looking a little awkward. You want to make sure that your webcam and your eyes are about at the top third of your camera. If you split your screen into 3/3 in lines for your thirds. This is somewhat the rule of thirds that we using photography to place your subject at the thirds or the intersections of the thirds lines. You want your eyes at that top third, and we also talk about headroom. The head room is a space above your head, so you don't want too much head room again. If we have it framed up down below, it looks a little awkward. And if it's too little, it looks awkward, too, because again I'm cutting off the top of my head and there's my mouth is in the top third. It just looks awkward. You want to make sure that your eyes are level with the camera, but also around that third line of your composition. Using these few tips will automatically make your videos look better than most of the other people doing Webcam videos out there right now, 4. Step 2: Improve Your Audio: The next thing you need to do if you're recording videos is to change from your internal microphone to an external microphone. USB microphones are easy to use, like the Blue Snowball or the Blue Yeti. Those range from about 50 to 100 or $125. You can purchase them on Amazon, and these are great for getting started. I'm going to switch over to the audio that I'm using, which is the Heil PR 40 automatically, you should tell a major difference in the equality. I'm just gonna play back some of that old audio. I'm going to switch over to the audio that I'm using, which is the Heil PR 40. So you can tell there is a major difference in the audio quality. And I'm talking about audio quality so early in this course before we get about into backgrounds and lighting. Because audio is so important, especially for Webcam videos, if you're doing Skype sessions, if you're doing webinars, you might not always be the center of attention. On video. It's your voice that is the center of attention. And for so many people watching videos online now they're distracted by other things. Other tabs, their email. You might not even be on their computer screen. You might be hidden behind a tab or shrunk down to the bottom of the screen. And that's why having crystal clear audio is so important for Webcam videos. As I mentioned, I'm using the Heil Pier 40 microphone. I'm gonna bring it into this frame right here so you can see. And this is also another good thing to talk about placement of your microphone. Some microphones do a lot better when I'm talking up closely to the microphone, compared to further away. See if you could hear the difference when I'm talking right up here. Two. If it's farther away, Obviously the level of the audio is a little bit different, but also the quality of the audio is a little different. This depends on how particular you are with having the microphone in frame or not. When I'm recording podcast episodes or doing Webcam videos, I don't mind having the Heil PR 40 microphone in frame like this as long as it's not covering up my mouth. If I'm covering up my mouth like this, it looks really awkward, right? It just looks like my head is kind of moving around and you can't really see my lips, and that's really awkward for the viewer. But having it just in the corner of the screen as much as possible is good. I like having it close to my mouth, so I'm getting the highest quality sound possible. But if you're very particular and you don't wanna have the microphone or the stand in your frame, you can always move it out. Just know that the quality might drop a little bit. One thing you see here on my microphone is this black filter. This is called a pop filter, and this effects the sounds of talking. So if I take this off and I say Pop Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, you'll probably hear some of that wind noise when I say a word that starts with a P. So with this filter on, it cuts down on that popping sound. Peter Piper picked a peck, a pack of pickled peppers, so that's a tongue twister that I need some work on. But you can tell that it cuts down some of that popping noise, depending on the microphone that you have. You'll definitely need this. Some microphones are better themselves internally at cutting down that popping noise, but I do suggest just getting one on Amazon. You can get one for less than $10. If I did want to get this out of the frame, what I would do is just bring it down and as close as possible right underneath the frame. Or you could put it above. But you don't want Teoh create any shadows on your face from the microphone stand, so putting it just underneath the bottom of the frame is a decent idea. I'm using a pile microphone boom arm that attaches to my desk. This is a great option if you have a desk and you want to have your microphone out all the time, ready to go for whatever videos you want to make, and this just allows me to adjust easily up, down, left right toe. Position it exactly where I want it. Your other microphones, like the Blue Yeti or the Blue Snowball, come with little stands already, or you can attach them to some sort of boom arm like the one that I have here. But it's another great tool that allows you mawr Specificity of where your microphone is. The last thing to check are the levels for your microphone, and you should be able to manually adjust these in your computers settings, depending on the type of microphone were using. I'm using a Mac, so in a Mac you would go to system preferences, then click on sound. And here you have your input levels on a windows or a Lennox computer and might look a little different. But these should be in your system preferences or your control panel settings. You'll see the three microphone options that I have the internal microphone for the computer Down below, you have the HD pro Webcam, which is the webcam I'm using. It actually has a microphone in it, which is better than the internal microphone, so you could use that in a pinch or the H four, which is what I'm using right now. Now the age for doesn't actually refer to the Heil PR 40 microphone. It refers to the Zoom H for end recording device. Now this is going to get a little bit confusing, but I want to go there so that we understand how I'm using this microphone. This heil PR 40 microphone is an XLR microphone, meaning the output is XLR. It's an XLR court, not USB. Microphones like the Blue Yeti or the Blue Snowball or others are us being microphones. So you can literally just plug that microphone straight into any computer through USB, and it turns into a microphone that can be used with your computer. Computers don't have XLR inputs, so I can't just plug this microphone straight into a computer after route it through an audio interface and the zoom each for end is a little recorder. It costs a couple $100 but you could actually plug in any XLR microphone to that and then plugged the recorder into your computer with a USB cord because it does have a USB output, and then any microphone basically becomes a US being microphone. So that's how I get the audio from my heil PR 40 into the computer. But you'll also notice that I don't have the option to set the levels through the computer with this recording device or with this heil Pier 40. If I go to internal microphone, you see the levels and I can adjust this level from left to right to make the audio levels louder or quieter. Where do I want my levels set? I want them bouncing up here, but not to the max. If I drag this over to the right and I keep talking, you'll see that and you're not hearing this because you're hearing the Heil Pier 40 audio. But the internal microphone is picking up my levels. Too hot, too loud. And if my audio is bouncing up to the right most little level, it's going to sound distorted. If it's too low, it's gonna be too quiet, and I'm going to have to boost it in post production. And that's going to cause some distortion, too. So I want my audio levels balancing right around. I would say if you look at your meter around the 2/3 to 3/4 mark, but just make sure that is not balancing in the red, even though we don't call it the Red. But on a lot of recording decks, you'll see, it'll bounce and I'll show a red light. That means that it's too loud. But what about my Heil Pier 40? I don't have the ability to adjust the input through the computer. I do that through the Zoom Age foreign recorder. There's a little button on the side that allows me to boost the levels so this is the loudest that can actually get or decrease the levels and you'll see or hear that my voice gets quieter and quieter and you'll see. See that the input level is very low, so I'm boosting it until we get around. That 2/3 to 3/4 mark when I'm talking in a natural voice depends on the microphone. So it is a good idea to do different tests, but make sure that you're setting your levels. If you're too quiet or too loud, this might be the reason why, or depending on what program you used to record your videos or your audio, it might automatically set your levels, which might actually distort it or make it too quiet. So setting your levels manually allows you to know for sure that your levels are perfectly set. So I know we jumped in tow audio, which might not seem like it's that important for Webcam video, but hopefully by now you understand how important is to use an external microphone to use prop pop filters toe, place the microphone properly and to set your levels manually. Next, we're going to be learning about how your background can really make your Web cams a lot better. 5. Step 3: Improve Your Background: Let's talk about backgrounds. I have two basic rules for improving your backgrounds. One is to make sure you clean it up into is to make sure that it actually adds to your video that your background has a meaning. Shooting videos in your bedroom with a messy bed and some dirty laundry in the background is a no no, and I know a lot of people that do it. I used to do it. We all did it at one point. But if you're making professional videos, you want to make sure that the background says something about who you are, and you're doing it for a reason. If you are creating a video on how toe clean up your bedroom or your have a vlog or something about your bedroom lifestyle, then it makes sense to shoot in your bedroom with your dirty laundry on the floor. But in general, you want to make sure that your background matches what your video is about, so the first thing I'm going to do with my background is clean it up. I have this chair right here that I'm not sitting in, so I'm gonna get rid of that and then I'm just going to clean it the background just a bit before taking it a step further. Okay, we're getting there, all right, we're getting close. We are in my office and it's a lot cleaner, but the composition is still a little strange. The background. I have these posters and these images. I got my guitar. Everything set up rather nicely, but it's so far in the background. And then I have this bright window behind me over here. I've got my closet door over here. So what am I gonna dio? I'm going to get closer to the background. Luckily, I have a rolling desk. This is a stand up desk that raises and lowers, but it also has wheels. Now, not everyone's going to have this, but it might be worth it to actually move your desk or move your computer so that the background is a little bit bigger and it's not so awkward. So let me move backwards, Okay? We're much better. The background, you can see it adds to the video, at least for my kinds of videos. If I'm shooting in my office, if it's about my work life or something like that I want my office to be in my background. So you've got just a little bit more information about me, and that's what your background should do. It should show and share your personality. I've got my bike poster. I've got photos of myself. I've got my typewriter in my globe, an old camera. These are all things that basically define who I am, and it's bigger. It's not this sort of awkward thing that is in the background, but it actually adds to the video now. All right, we're getting closer, but we're not there yet. Next, we're going to add some lights, which will really change how your Webcam videos look. 6. Step 4: Add Lights: Now let's improve our videos by adding actual lighting, and it doesn't have to cost much. I'll show you in just a sec. Right now. I'm just using a ceiling light. There's also some light coming in through a window, and it just looks a little awkward, that ceiling light. It's just this heavy, downward facing light that creates some shadows. Right here it's You can kind of see just some shallows being created right here with my nose. It's really settled, but it's things like this that if we're using proper lighting, it will make our videos look 10 times better. So let's go from this and add a couple more lights. What a difference it makes toe add lights, thes air to paper lanterns and you can see one right here. This is something we're gonna have to get rid of. I have these glass frames and it has that reflection, and that's another thing we're gonna have to deal with. I've already removed the glass from this poster and this frame, but you're going to have to deal with that when you have lights or anything reflective in the background. The lighting kid I'm using is less than $50. You can purchase it all on Amazon or at your local hardware store. It's basically two big fluorescent light bulbs inside paper lanterns. These paper lanterns that I use are 14 inch paper lanterns, but they come in larger and smaller sizes. You can get a big pack of them for just like 10 or 15 bucks on Amazon, and what it does is it diffuses the light so it's not so harsh. It spreads out the light, so it's a little softer, and that looks better on video, especially when you're shooting people. And so I have two of those and they're on a stand that's actually connected to my desk so that I'm always ready to film. And there's one on either side of my webcam. So we have even light coming from both sides of the Webcam. Some people like to have a more dramatic look with moral light on one side of the face than the other. That's a good look for a lot of types of video. It's a good standard practice for filmmaking, but for webcam lining, I like just to have a lot of light shining from both sides of the camera, so we get a nice even lighting. There's one other light we can use that can separate us a little bit from the background and make her background pop a little. And that's called the Backlight. So I'm gonna go ahead and add that right now. So here we have it without and here we have with the backlight. Now, with this backdrop, you get a few shadows over here from it facing up, so we might want to adjust it. But I do want to show you what I'm using. Another really, really easy, cheap thing that you can get. Here's my back light. Of course, you could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars getting professional lighting, but you don't need to. You can see that I just have a standard work light that you can get at your local hardware store. Thes things clip on, so they already has a clip that I can attach to anything from a light stand to a little tripod. I also have these paper lanterns that I've put over it, which actually decreased the amount of life you can see if I'm shining it directly on the background, then cover it. It just makes it a little softer. And that's basically what these paper lanterns do. It makes the light softer so I can attach it right here. Then I know I'm gonna be standing right in front of it, so I don't worry about it being in the frame if I need to make any adjustments, so it's not as harsh. I can do that. Since you're not seeing much of this. Since you're not seeing much of this camera, I might just move this to the side. We're getting a shadow over here from this globe, depending on if that bugs you are not. You can remove that globe moving around just to try to get a nice looking image without too many shadows. But if you see this for the first time, you're not gonna see those shadows and think anything poorly of them. It's just now that you sought without it with it. You do start to see those shadows. So again we have it with it, and without it, who knows? Maybe you like this more flat look. But I like having a little bit of definition which separates me from the background. Now what I have to do is remove the glass from this frame. So we're not getting that nasty reflection. All right, that's looking a lot better. There is still a tiny bit of reflection. You can see that if I actually move this, just change the angle just a little bit. Something like that that might actually look better. So I would just have to add a little, like tape or something to the background so that the angle doesn't create that nasty glare . But it's really subtle now compared to before, so I'm not that worried about that. One thing I'm also going to do is actually raise this background light to get rid of some of those shadows. I'm using just a tripod to attach that light to again. You can use anything from a light stand to a stack of books to your desk really anything that it can clip onto. I've moved up the light, and I've rearranged the position of this globe. No, you're still getting a shadow, but it's not too bad. If I really wanted to get rid of that shadow, I could just place another light right out of frame that way, shining up on the background to get rid of that shadow, and that's what I'm going to do next. So I have another one of these lights. So I've added that second light, and it's really help me get rid of that shadow back there. Another thing you can do to add more light initially if you don't have any lights, is too bright in your screen. So I'm gonna make sure that it's the brightest that it goes and then open a white document . It could be with Microsoft Word or Google docks, something where you have a plain white screen. So I'm gonna drag this up and down, and you can see when I move this white page up, add some more light to my face. So that's a simple way to ADM or light to your face. Now this isn't going to be a perfect replacement for the two paper lanterns, but it's something that just the mawr light the better. Hopefully, now you can see the difference that lighting makes versus just using the standard ceiling light, a desk light or anything else, adding proper video lighting to your webcam videos will literally make your video is better than 99% of the other people out there making their own Webcam videos. I know it's a little investment, and it's a little bit more time to set up every time you make a video. That's why I have my lights ready to go. And I suggest having your lights always ready to go so that your ready to rock and roll whenever you want to create a video. But seriously, just take that extra time and make that little investment. It will make your videos that much better. 7. Step 5: Use the Right Tools: The next thing you might want to invest in is a separate tool that allows you to manually change all the settings for your camera. Depending on the webcam you get, you might have a piece of software that comes with it. For example, with the logic Texi 9 20 you get this logic texts, camera settings, application where you can a justice, the zoom, the focus. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, color, intensity and white balance, and you can see here. If I adjust any of these, I can make my video brighter or darker. I can make it more contrast. You're less contrast. E. I can make it more colorful or less colorful. If you want black and white video, this is a great option, and you can also adjust the white balance. Right now we have it on auto, but we could adjust it manually, depending on if you know what lights you have. Or if you want to make your video warmer or cooler. If you're using a webcam, never, ever, ever resume in. I can show you what that does. I can zoom in, but it's not actually deserving in via the camera. It's just doing a digital zoom, and this is just going to make the video quality more pixelated, so make sure that you're shooting at 100%. Don't use the zoom. The next thing you might want to adjust is focus. Focus typically is adjusted automatically. You can see on the logic camera settings we have auto focus. Or we can use the manual focus option from something very close to something very far. The reason why I would suggest turning off the auto mode is that sometimes your camera has a hard time adjusting auto focus, and it will go in and out of focus. You've probably seen that before on different videos. Maybe you've Skyped with someone before and your cameras going in and out of focus. Just turn off the auto focus, said it and forget it. But make sure you're not moving too far or too close because you might get out of focus. But in general, Webcams don't have that particular of a focus. It's generally makes everything and focus. So setting it to sort of the far focus should be good, unless for some reason you're shooting something really close up and you need to have that close up focus. But again, I would do it manually and not let it do automatically. And with white balance, the same rule applies. I generally will either just let it automatically adjust and then turn off the auto setting or all manually adjusted myself toe how I like it because even if you're just moving around in your frame, sometimes that white balance setting can adjust and your video will become cool and then warm. And it just looks awkward when it's doing that automatically. So another setting that a suggests setting to manual. If you don't have a logic tech camera, there are other programs that allow you to adjust settings. For example, the Webcam settings out for Mac computers is a great option, which allows you to choose any camera from the built in to anything plugged in, and it gives you some more control of the different settings so I can go to manual mode. I can adjust the exposure. I can adjust the gain these air different ways to adjust the brightness or the darkness of your video. In general, you just want everything to be bright enough. You want everything to be exposed properly, not too bright, not too dark. And this allows you to do a little bit more fine tuning to get it exactly to that point. Same thing. Here we have our auto white balance setting. If we want under advance, we have our focus. If we want to turn it on or off and manually addressed our focus and a lot more tools available to us, I'm going to stop diving too deep into those settings because a lot of you might not even have this tool. But if you have questions, if you do use this tool, please let me know if you need to find one for your own computer. I highly recommend the Webcam Cenex panel, But if you're looking for something else or if you have a different type of computer, you can always use Google to search for Webcam settings Application. PC Mac Lennox Whatever computer you're using. Once you're adjusting the manual settings of your webcam, you're really at the top level of Webcam video creators, and you should be making better videos than ever before. 8. Bonus - Background Option II: I want to show you another type of background that you can use and how to make it look better using a paper backdrop from savage paper. So I'm going to move my desk backwards, so I have a little bit more room. Now that I have more room, I'm going to bring in my paper backdrop that is on a backdrop stand. Okay, This backdrop isn't white enough, so we're going to move our camera a little bit closer now. We're looking pretty good, but I want to add a little bit of light splashing behind me to separate me from the backdrop. So here I am with it off, and here I am with it on. You can see that that little amount of light. It adds a nice little Grady into the background, and I think it makes a much more professional look with it off. Everything just feels a little bit drab. It's a little bit blank with it on. This video pops much more again. I'm just using three lights to paper lanterns that are behind the camera and then one work light. That's behind me. One of the major benefits of using this backdrop like this is that you can get a consistent look no matter where you are, whether I'm in my office. If I move, if I'm in another country, if I can get a yellow paper backdrop like this, my videos will all look consistent. If you are using a paper backdrop like this, I said just going online to the savage paper website were going on Amazon and finding a color that matches your brand. I've chosen a few different colors so that for a different video, Siri's I can use different colors. But I've also got in a teal backdrop that matches my video school on line brand, which I'm excited to be using in the future. So that's pretty much it. And hopefully by now you know how important your background is to creating better Webcam videos.