Wartime Webcam

Ukraine President Zelensky this week welcomes the latest ambassador, actor Mark Strong, for his nation rebuilding initiative.

Take yer back a couple o' years?

What's timely about this today, is a reminder of the perils of camera angle.

A trap fully ensnaring neither person above.

Here, you can clearly see the camera bar on top of the screen. In true 'the higher the better' fashion.

Positioned just above the seated height of the waving president's crown.

The other attendee almost follows suit. With their eyes ever so slightly focused downwards. With only a smidgen of elevation and they too would have themselves a nifty camera angle. Meaning when they look at their screen, the effect is to gaze straight through the middle of it to the other person.

I still regularly notice how many video call participants haven't yet got into the mode of moving their laptop, depending whether they're typing or videoing. Which often renders them looking down, hunched over their screen, eye-contact never made.

The more you can lift your webcam, the closer you can get to the idyll of fixing the latter point there.

You needn't get a fancy, expensive, trade compliant stand either.

In the early days, people moved their home printer-scanner to use as a plinth. Along with other needs-musts raisers, ranging from re-taped opened packaging boxes to a shelf of piled high long unread cookery books.

Note too the zoomscapes. The elected head of state, no longer in a bunker, occupies what we'd expect a traditional daily workplace to be like for someone of his office.

The shot has welcoming depth, great lighting and the air of a day-to-day space. He is though, perhaps a touch too far back from his webcam. For one-on-one, he's fine. Add a handful more to the call though, and he'd be struggling to fully connect.

His new ambassador, as you'd suspect from his film experience, senses you can begin with the classic 'hostage video' background no problem these days. Yet adds a touch of escape, with what looks like the edge of a cupboard to his right. And set slightly side-on, perhaps in a kitchen corner?

How's your set-up for camera height?


From the footage itself, first the pair of zoomscapes:

Second, you can see how both backdrops and framings work in the 2min clip, also posted as below;

Slava Ukraini

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