On A Mac
Let's break down some helpful tips for talking business online. Here are some easy things anyone can do to make your zoom calls look professional and highly produced.
Since 2020, most interview settings have changed from the floors of an office building to the comfort of your home office. While this prevents some questions like “where do I park” or “what pants should I wear,” it comes with the stress of setting up a webcam, to getting perfect lighting, and figuring out the angle of your laptop.
To help overcome these virtual obstacles, our cinematographer Mitchell created a short video to help you look and feel your best in an online interview.
Let's Start With Your Computer
First things first, make sure you have enough space on your hard drive for the interview. We recommend having somewhere between 5 and 15GB free for the footage and audio.
You can check out how much free space you have by going to
Apple > About This Mac > Storage > and checking how much space you have on your flash storage. If you need to clear space, click “manage..” and delete some extra files or empty your trash. Once you have 5-15GB free, you're good to move on.
Next Up: Your Webcam
Most people will be seeing you through your webcam, so let's get started by checking out what the camera sees ahead of time so we know what to expect.
The built-in webcam on a Mac will get the job done for most people, but if you want to go ham, you can grab an external webcam. We like this one.
You can do this by opening up Photo Booth from your applications folder or by starting up zoom if you have it. This will give you an idea of what camera is there.
If you have a black screen, go ahead and open your
System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Camera and make sure all of your applications are checked off.
If you're still having troubles connecting the camera, there's usually a driver download for the camera's webcam software or capture card on the manufacturers website.
Sometimes (looking at you Logitech) they're full of bloatware and completely unnecessary, but use your own discretion While you're at it, take a second take read over the manual. I know most people hate doing that, but it's important to know how to use your webcam.
If your external webcam or camera lets you enter custom settings, you'll want:
white balance: 5600k framerate: 24 fps
Now that we can see ourselves, let's start making adjustments.
One of the first things we can do is raise the camera up to make us look more flattering. If you have a laptop, an easy way to do this is by putting it on a stack of books or a small stand. Leaving it at table-level means you have to angle your screen upwards, which is going to make it look like you have a hella double chin. You probably don't – you're beautiful I promise – that's just the way it works.
If you have a webcam, make sure to put it on the top of your monitor! We want to make sure it's at least eye level for maximum flattery.
Now for one of the most important parts: Make sure we don't have a window behind you. When there's a lot of light coming in behind you, the camera auto adjusts to make us look like a dark mess. By facing the camera away from a big window, it gives you enough natural light to work with it. This is the most common mistake that people make with Zoom calls.
How to Get the Audio Perfect
Audio can really show the difference between good and great interviews. I strongly recommend you throw in some headphones with a microphone on them. We're all huge fans of AirPods Pro or Beats– they're relatively cheap compared to some other options on the market.
If you have a microphone you can plug into your computer, they go a long way as well. You can even purchase a small one like this or this for not that much money, and it will save you in the long run.
One thing to note: if you don't have a separate microphone input on your computer but want to use a separate mic and headphones, make sure you have a splitter like this one! You can also get these for pretty cheap.
One last tip for audio: Make sure to get as close as you can to the microphone without it covering your face! A good rule of thumb is being about one fist away.
During the Interview
Don't forget to sit up during the interview and dress the part. Also, make sure to talk to the camera, not to the screen. This might feel awkward in the moment, but you'll come off more professional. Our natural instinct is actually to watch ourselves instead of the person talking, so you're not alone on that. I promise.
This is important: Make sure to wear clothes without complicated patterns if you can. Plain shirts with a solid color are always a tried n' true approach. Sometimes webcams have a hard time reading them and they turn out fuzzy.
This is called the Moire Effect and is a fairly strange phenomenom. Even though the inner nerd in me desperately wants to, I won't get into the physics of it. Here's an awesome, in-depth artcile about Moire if you feel like going down a rabbit hole.
Your Background (Location, Location, Location!)
Your background is also important! Try not to put yourself up against a flat wall. If that's how your setup has to work, simply nudging your camera to the left or right so you're positioned at a slight angle. This will add a lot of depth and make it more visually interesting.
On that note, make sure you don't have a bunch of junk behind you.
...Lava lamps look pretty dope. Just saying.
And never, ever, ever worry about your cat. Cat surprises are the highlight of most peoples day. If it's a professional intervew that's going to be edited, you can just cut that part out 🙃
If you notice your face is a little dark because it's later in the day, an easy fix is to use a simple table lamp– You don't need to dump a bunch of money into a ring light if you don't want to. Put the lamp in front of you, slightly pivoted (around 20º or thereabouts), so we can see your lovely face! Pivoting it at an angle will give depth to your face, and, ergo, make you look like a model.
Remember: a little light goes a long way. If there's too much light you'll be blown out and look like you have a severe Vitamin D deficiency.
If your lamp is orange-ish make sure to swap that out with something that's white. It looks more flattering for interviews. You can find bulbs perfect for this for almost nothing at Home Depot or any hardware store. You're going to want to look for ones that say “daylight balance” or “bright white” bulbs.
What About on a PC?
I got you 'fam. A lot of the information is going to be the same, so I'll only cover the parts that are different.
Getting Your PC Ready
As before, let's make sure we have enough free space. You can check by going to
Window > Settings System > Storage.
If you need to clear out some space, go to `Apps > Features
We'll want to make sure we're pretty before we go live, so we can check what our webcam is seeing by going to
Windows > Applications > Photo Booth. You can also open up Zoom and see what's up.
Good luck with the interview and don't forget to wow them with your personality and expertise!
Now your intelligence will be paired nicely with your good looks! Go out there and get 'em, Tiger.
Bonus: Why not?
Making videos is hard. Here's me sucking: