Video-chatting is quickly becoming the new normal. Here are three devices to up your game:
Most laptops have webcameras built in — and most are awful. Stepping up to a modern webcam is the most significant thing you can do to enhance your video chats. New for 2020, Logitech’s StreamCam ($170) captures full 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second, and it automatically handles all of the details (focus, exposure, framing, image stabilization) so you can concentrate on what you’re doing.
Nothing can torpedo an online meeting quicker than audio that cuts in and out. A stand-alone microphone will make you sound clear, rich and full. The Blue Yeti USB mic ($130) has long been a staple of podcasters and streamers. Yes, it looks like something you’d see at a 1940s radio station, but the audio technology is 100% modern. It has three capsule microphones, four pickup patterns (for different kinds of recording) and just enough controls to help optimize the way you sound without overloading you with super-technical features.
If you sit in front of a white wall or uncovered windows, your webcam will try to balance it out, shrouding you in a silhouette. The solution: Position a light behind your camera that shines on your face. Bower’s flexible 24-inch LED ring light ($30) comes with 36 LEDs, a clip stand and three light modes.