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Surviving Social Distancing | EPISODE 4 | tips on getting the best video calls to loved ones

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

*Keeping in touch with loved ones*

In this day and age we have all sorts of means of keeping in touch with friends and family; Facebook and Instagram both support video calling, google hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, House Party, Whats'app and many more. We can hear and see people from the other side of the world, in seconds. That's pretty astounding.

With us all having to stay at home for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19, this is the perfect time to utilise these facilities. We know more than most that visual aid along with sound is a beautiful combination - and seeing your nearest and dearest as well as hearing them is the best we can do right now.

So we thought we'd give a few tips on how to get the most out of your video calls to friends and family - some of them may seem obvious but often get overlooked, and may be of more help to the older people you're trying to keep in touch with. It's about making this whole experience as easy as possible :)

  • As video calls happen over the internet, you need to give your router a fairly good chance of getting a signal to your phone. So, try to park yourself right next to it. If that's not possible, open doors as this can affect the signal, especially in older houses. Look into getting a wifi booster for your house if you're still struggling to get a good connection - we use one so we can facetime from upstairs or downstairs and it works great.

  • Sit yourself next to a window. Most of these calls, whatever platform you're using, will be made from a phone / tablet, so, without getting too technical, you need a good light source to get as good a possible image on screen. Sitting by a window is great for this, and with it being spring now (and particularly sunny at time of writing) a lot more natural light is available which gives us more opportunity during the day to make these calls. You yourself will know the brightest room in your house, and if you don't, being at home for a few days will certainly help you understand!

  • If making these calls at night, using a simple lamp or other light source pointed towards you will work brilliantly. Mobile phones aren't great in low light scenarios (promise I won't get too technical) so we just need to give them the best chance of getting a good image.

  • A good tip, if you've got a desktop computer, is to open up a blank word document (or something similar) and make it full screen, thus creating a nice soft light to brighten up your face.

  • Holding your hand out can understandably feel unnatural, and longer calls can cause strain on your arms or neck, so get yourself comfortable; sit at a desk and rest your phone on something. Most of you will have some kind of non-slip cover on your phone, so lean it against a box, computer, plant pot, beer bottle, wall, if it's on an ipad use its cover, create some sort of rig out of cardboard, somehow use your phone holder from your car, a shelf, blu tac, playdough, the possibilities are endless. Get creative!

  • Once set up, get a brew. You've got your hands free. Try and make as normal a scenario as possible, so if you'd normally have a cup of tea or coffee when chatting to your family or best mate, then do that. Depending on the time of day (or not! We don't judge) a beer with your mates, cocktails, glass of wine; the main point is to try and make the situation as natural as possible. Parties can happen remotely!

  • Use headphones if you don't want everyone in your household in on the conversation; admittingly this is amazing technology but by no means perfect, and can get a little hectic! Your iphone headphones have a microphone built in and are perfect for this type of thing.

I was on the phone to a fellow creative friend yesterday from Leeds who is creating some buzz by hosting a pub quiz every Wednesday and Thursday on Instagram live - so massive shout to @benrandm and his 'Quarantine Quiz' and everyone who's taken part in that so far.

As some of you may know, we're part of an amazing supportive group of photographers, videographers (and a cake maker!) who meet up once a month to chat about work, life, ideas, plans, and have a good natter about everything in general, called the Breakfast Club. Obviously we haven't been able to meet up recently, so yesterday we organised an online Breakfast Club using Google hangouts, and it was great! It's still an uncertain time for everyone and this job can be lonely at times as it is - but it was amazing to chat to like minded individuals all going through and dealing with the same problems as us. It was an ace social experience and we can't wait for the next one! So big love and shout out to everyone involved in the Breakfast Club.

Here's a little video we put together as part of our 'Surviving Social Distancing' series -

We hope this has been of some help to people, as we're still navigating through this crazy period.

We're here for anyone who fancies a natter, so if you've got any questions about your upcoming plans, need a rant or literally just to chat, please don't hesitate to get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

Take care and see you all soon!

Craig x

P.S. pick up the phone and give your bestie a shout!

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