Have you been a victim of Mixergy’s audio and video quality?

We want to fix that. final-help

So we’re putting together a checklist of everything that an interviewee needs to know about looking and sounding good in a Mixergy interview.

Check it out. And if we’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments section.

- Arie

p.s. Take a look at the infographic Lemon.ly made for us.

How not to look ugly on a webcam

Don’t have any light behind you (even if it’s from a window).

When light hits a webcam, it compensates by going dark, which makes you look like a faceless shadow.

Have light facing you.

That’s how they make people look good on TV.

Mind your background.

No bathroom or anything funky behind you.

Use an ethernet cable to connect to the internet & turn wifi off.

Wifi is convenient, but it has latency issues, which makes you look like you’re constantly 2 seconds behind the conversation.

Find a quiet place to record.

If people have to strain to hear, they’ll feel annoyed.

Restart your computer. Even if it’s a Mac.

It’s the best way to ensure random background programs aren’t taking resources away.

Turn off any programs you don’t need.

Even web browsers can be resource hogs.

Pause (or shut off) programs that upload or download files in the background.

Look for the programs you don’t think about, like DropBox or cloud backup software.

Ask people who are sharing your internet network not to upload or download large files.

It’ll slow down your connection and make you hard to see and hear you.

Position yourself so you’re in the center of the webcam

If you slouch, you’ll look like a little head in the lower corner of people’s computer screens, which will make you seem weak and uncaring.

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  • disqus_WP1OmOWs9m

    You need to sort out the intro video too, it’s highly compressed and only comes out one speaker.

  • http://www.salesprocessengineering.net Justin Roff-Marsh

    I’m not sure why you say “turn wifi off”. At least on a PC, if you have both cable and wifi connected, the computer will use the cable (but roll-back to wifi, in case of an issue). I connect to both, via separate routers to maximize redundancy.

  • http://www.salesprocessengineering.net Justin Roff-Marsh

    BTW, I disagree with the recent comments on an interview about the requirement for studio-quality mics and inline audio editing. IMHO, for internet broadcast, USB (cardioid) devices are more than sufficient and audio clean-up can easily be done in post production.

    It takes me less than 5 minutes to open the audio in GoldWave, sample a quiet spot for ambient noise and then delete this from the overall recording, equalize (maximize) the volume and save.

    If you capture Skype feeds (the two sides of the conversation) as separate files, you can dump one track into each (stereo) channel — which means volume equalization is even easier.

    I think a radio-announcer set-up with a huge mic rig blocking the face of the speaker is indulgent and unnecessary. (Sorry Jason Calacanis!)

  • Jonathan Medding

    Please, please, please increase the overall volume level on your podcasts. When I listen in my car, I have to turn the volume up so load that if GPS decides to tell me to ‘turn left’ it practically blows my ears out. Mixergy is the only podcast that has this problem from the 6 that I regularly listen to. Other than that, I love it.

  • Motion Array

    We’d like to help out with some beautiful motion graphics for you Andrew. Let me know!

  • arak255

    IMO, sometimes the audio quality of some guest leaves a lot to be desired, I know it has to do with their mic and connection speeds, but I think the video/audio compression used before uploading videos may only help to make the audio quality worst. Probably some basic audio clean up could be made before uploading to the site, some equalization (boosting vocals, reducing background noise) and/or volume normalization could help could help. Video quality is important, but audio quality is king, as most of the interviews do not have any slides shown (besides premium courses).
    Take one of your worst audio quality interviews, and hire somebody to help you with the sound remastering and settings you could use in the program you’re currently using for editing, use those for future uploads. Also you can get somebody at fiver to do some testing for cheap! =)

  • haredroid

    Remove Disqus. There’s really no reason for it. WordPress provides a great built in comment system. We’re already signing into the site and have to sign into Disqus separately?

  • http://www.decalmarketing.com/adwords-book/ Iain Dooley

    I think the biggest thing is just having the volume levels of each person talking the same. What might be a good idea is to take 10 minutes before each session to do a check — like record a 1 minute test script that you’ve sent the person in advance, then export it and everything, and listen offline to check the levels. It would add a few minutes to the preparation time but it would give you the chance to get the levels right even if you weren’t able to get the guest to record their side of the conversation.

  • Aaron Samsky

    If you’re really looking for consistency, control and better quality you might want to look into putting together a hardware/software package that can be sent out to interviewees. This way you can send out a clean laptop with all of the software and settings ready to go. Pre-interview, you can test and check everything to make sure that everything is going well, including (perhaps) having a test file sent to your video team.

    It’s amazing what even a fairly cheap lavalier mic can do to improve audio quality. I’d think that knowing that every interview is recorded with the same equipment and settings would also make life a bit easier for your editor.

    One more thought on audio– if you’re using Final Cut Pro, make sure that your audio levels are normalized on the file delivered for posting, My experience has been that it may drop the level by 12 or 20 dB (i don’t remember the exact drop) and that makes a huge difference to listeners.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Okay. Well this is on us, not the guests. We’ll re examine the way we edit. Thanks for calling this out.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Damn. I didn’t realize it was THAT bad. I wonder if my mic has something to do with that. Maybe I’m so low that we have to lower my guests’ audio when we edit so the two sides match.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Can I call you to do a screencast of how you do that?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Same thing happens with my system. I wasn’t sure all windows PCs did that though.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Killed it. Thanks for the feedback.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I hate logging in too. But you don’t have to do it and the benefits of responding through disqus via email outweigh the issues.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    We’re testing it, but it’s a logistical nightmare.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I’d love it. What do you have in mind?

    By the way, to get to the conversation faster, we killed the intro and went for a 1.5 second replacement. You’ll see it soon.

  • http://www.salesprocessengineering.net Justin Roff-Marsh

    Of course. I’m back in the office Friday. BTW, in a lot of editing apps, you can save a standard sequence of edits as a macro and activate it with one click!

  • Jonathan Medding

    Your voice and the guests are matched. It’s just the overall volume of the recording is low. Thanks for responding.

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  • Josh

    Andrew, the majority of the time the audio problems is on your end, your own sound level when talking (I listen to MP3′s). Your audio is a lot lower than the guest’s. For example, when you’re talking I have to turn up the volume and then when the guest speaks it blows my ears out and then I have to turn it down again. That’s been very annoying. Please try and make your personal audio loud and clear and try and equalize the sound levels so they’re equal with the guest’s audio (or vice versa) so we don’t have to keep messing with the volume. Thanks!

  • Motion Array

    Andrew, sorry for the delay! We’re thinking about an entire, cohesive graphics package you can easily use for all your interviews. An open, a close, transitions, framing devices, and lower thirds.

    You can email me tyler (at) motionarray.com and we can discuss in more detail.

    Thanks!

  • alfatec

    The biggest problem I hear with your podcast’s sound quality can be easily fixed by paying attention to microphone placement.

    Many podcasts have an “echo’ sound that comes from the microphone being too far away from the subject, and picking up reflected sound.

    When I hear a podcast like this, I immediately skip it.

    The good news is that you can easily solve it. Here’s some expert advice:

    http://www.podcastconsultant.net/2007/01/13/proper-microphone-placement/