It’s been over a year since the Zoom revolution took over so many parts of our lives. The good news is many of us have mastered the basics of video production while video conferencing from home. But there’s one mistake I see plenty of people still struggling with. To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault. Some blame has to be shared with laptop manufacturers who insist on putting webcams down at the bottom of the laptop screen.
The Evil Ceiling Shot
The resulting problem is your webcam pointing up at your face with the ceiling as the background. The shot is incredibly unflattering. Who wants their viewers staring at their chin or peering up their nostrils?
The fix is not an easy one. You’ve got to find a way to bring your webcam up to a more level position with your eyes. That will create the balanced visual you need.
Stacking a few hardcover books under your laptop can help. If you’ve got a standing desk, it’s time to raise it up all the way. Anything you can do to elevate your webcam will reduce the evil ceiling shot.
You also might want to consider investing in a little more gear to improve the Zoom experience for both you and your viewers.
Time to Buy a Tabletop Tripod
To move your shot high enough to make your webcam parallel with your eyes, you may need to invest in a standalone webcam. And then, most critically, you absolutely have to perch that webcam on a tabletop tripod.
A good tripod that can fit on your desk will be your unsung hero to help create a great video shot for your next Zoom.
The trick is making sure the mini tripod is tall enough to meet your eyes.
There are plenty of inexpensive tabletop tripods out there for webcams and portable LED lights. The problem is many of them are too short, only coming up a few inches. You really need a mini tripod that telescopes up 15 inches or more.
And you should also make sure you don’t choose a model that will take over your desk. It needs to be compact.
In looking to improve my own desk setup with a new tabletop tripod, I found these options to consider:
- Lume Cube Desktop Light Stand
30” max height
$34.95 on Amazon
The tallest option if you need it, but it’s also more expensive.
- OrangeMonkie Tripod50
19.7” max height
$44.99 on Amazon Prime
I love this little tripod. Even though it’s the most expensive of the group, it’s a great value. Unfortunately it’s overkill, made for heavier gear. The design will also take up more space on your desk.
- Neewer Photography Mini Table Top Stands (2)
20” max height
$19.99 on Amazon Prime
The price is right, but you can’t tilt the mount.
- Ulanzi MT-16 Tripod
15” max height
$22.95 on Amazon Prime
Just tall enough. Comes with a standard 1/4” screw mount and a GoPro mount.
So, I ended up going with the Ulanzi MT-16 tripod. It’s great to support my portable Genaray Powerbank 96 Pocket LED light. It’s also a perfect choice to hold up my GoPro when using it as a webcam.
Yes, GoPros can be repurposed as webcams. To do that trick, you just need an HDMI-out to USB 3.0-in adapter. That interface will connect your GoPro’s video feed to your computer. (I use the Elgato Cam Link 4K.) Once attached, your GoPro is ready to live stream.
Elevate your Zoom Game
Remember, to create your best video shot for your next Zoom, you have to bring your webcam up high enough to meet your eyes. And stacking books under your laptop can only take you so far.
A separate webcam on a desktop tripod can really elevate your Zoom game. (The same goes for portable LED lights. You want your soft light source hitting your face at eye level.)
Using a little tripod will make a big difference!