I can’t stand another three weeks of this. I just can’t.
I’m OK with isolation. Shopping… I discovered Mr Ocado a long time ago. He’s morphed into Miss Ocado, who seems genuinely interested in my well-being and that they’e running short of toasted cumquat seeds.
Amazon has adequate supplies of Penderyn. I’ve go plenty of masks left over from a job I was planning to do in Hatton Garden but I decide I didn’t want to work over the Bank Holiday. So, I’m all set.
What I can’t put up with, is another three weeks of looking up people’s nostrils.
TV pundits and talking-heads, who appear via Skype or Zoom and fill my flat screen with nostrils the size of the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.
It gets right up my nose…
I do not want to see another professor’s study ceiling, whilst he peers down his nose at me.
If you are going to use video conferencing, get the camera up, level with your eye-line, please! Put your lap-top on some books, or yer wallet.
On the plus-side, we’ve had a glimpse of celebrity homes. I was particularly taken with Labour’s, Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth’s kitchen. It is so tidy. I think he is living in a showroom.
No18 has his background stage managed. Red Box carefully placed in view and a study like an up market, Kensington junk-shop in a telephone booth.
Have you noticed the number of bookcases? I don’t believe any of the books have been read. Apart from one BBC reporter, I swear, had a copy of the Karma-Sutra on show.
In one shot I noticed a pair of knickers draped over a clothes airer, above the Aga.
If you are using Zoom you have a choice of backgrounds… on a beach, Manhattan wherever you like. There are Zoom-Libraries on the net.
There’s a neat trick, in Skype, you can blur the background.
If you’re doing conference calls, let’s get it right.
First, get the camera to the proper height… no more black holes and nasal hair. Sit back, don’t lean into the camera, it turns into a leer. Take a selfie, see how the world will see you.
Clean the lens, particularly on lap-tops, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth, such as a microfibre. Be gentle.
Get the lighting right. Position the camera with the light source behind it, shining on your angel face. Do it the other way around and you’ll be in shadow… phantom of the opera.
Don’t hand hold a phone or a tablet. Prop it up, safely. If it falls over and you’re wearing a jacket, a tie and yer pants, we’ll all get the picture.
Sort out the background. Tidy up, de-clutter. Holiday pictures of you in your bikini might distract the boss. A blank wall is better than bottles of booze and the ironing-pile on the sofa.
Bribe the kids, or the cat, or the dog, to keep out of the way.
Look the part. I know lazy-boy stubble is fashionable but on a video-call you’ll look like a slob. A video call is a business-call, try and look business like.
Don’t look at yourself in the small frame. Keep your eyes on the camera. If you wander off, you’ll look like you’ve been smoking something.
Don’t use earphones. Unless there are eavesdroppers… they make you look like a nerd.
If your bandwidth is slim, try and use a wired wifi connection. Mute the microphone when you’re not speaking, stop the webcam when you don’t need it, disable HD, close other applications. Turn off WiFi boosters in other
parts of the house. Do document up and downloads in advance… and sit still. Moving about uses more bandwidth.
We’re all getting used to video meetings. If employers have any sense, post-Covid, the habit of remote meetings will carry-on. Why would you want to travel in the rush-hour? Not to mention the cost of offices.
As face-to-face gives way to screen-to-screen, it creates opportunities to multi task. How about this: in a recent survey 21% of people said they did online shopping whilst they were on a video conference!
You can’t do that if you’re in a meeting…
News and Comment from Roy Lilley