This article reviews my hardware and software setup for live-streaming and summarizes the tricks I use to increase the engagement of my audience during my online webinars and conference talks.
- Yeti Nano microphone – not placed on the table but hung on a stand close to my forehead. Using a stand with rubber isolation you can reduce the typing sound and vibration coming from the table. Also, I set my Yeti mic to “cardio” mode to restrict the sound capturing to a smaller, close area directly in front of the mic.
- Logitech StreamCam (external web cam) placed strategically between all three monitors, so I never look sideways to my participants. The laptop embedded webcam was much lower quality and image shaked on keystrokes. Also, it’s cool to be able to show attendees around your room sometimes (for example to show the cat sleeping). “Welcome to my home” feeling.
- Elgato Keylight + a second light source to light up the wall behind me
- (old) Android tablet with Custom Soundboard app installed, with 20+ sound effects installed, wired via 3.5mm jack to an
- External audio card to (like this) that provides a Line-IN connection and connects to PC via USB.
- 2 Extra Monitors (perhaps+1): on one of them keeping the videos (faces) of the webinar participants at all time.
- Toys (not kidding, stolen from my kids) each conveying a message, not random
- The table – why is it so small? I also dream about a big table that you can raise/lower via a little motor so you can decide to stand down or up during the day. The truth is that I’m super grateful for my 1.5-square meter office space 😁. Working from home is a challenge for most of us. To be honest, I had to work with a lot less at the start – I used to pack it all at the end of the day, including an extensible table.
- ZoomIt ⭐ – a free tool that allows to freeze-and-draw on the screen with the mouse; also provides Live-Zoom, a brilliant feature that also allows you to edit/type in the focused screen area.
- VoiceMeeter Banana – a free digital sound mixing tool that proved more handy than a hardware audio mixer. In my case, it takes the MIC, sound effects, sounds from windows and zoom and mixes them to 1: output to zoom and 2: my headphones. Expect it to take several hours/days to configure – not that trivial.
- PowerToys – a free utility that allows macOS-like experience with “search-everywhere” and “Mouse Highlighter” to gray out screen except the area around the mouse
- PowerPoint [hard-core], with heavy animations, but not randomly added but each one expressing an idea/relation
- MentiMeter (web) for live-polls to energize people in the afternoon or during evening community events.
- Snap Camera to make my face older, or kinder or just scary – kinda CPU-intensive though.
- Hourglass to countdown breaks or time to answer
- AutoHotKey is another tool I used that allows binding any action to keys, even playing sound effects.
- My own little IntelliJ plugin (“Live-Coding Toolkit“) that make writing code more fun with mood-background and video effects (like break the screen) – this is applicable only for programmers
Besides the above, you also need to bring a large load of enthusiasm, exaggerated mimic and gestures, and a lot of true care for your trainees/participants.
Good luck sharing your knowledge.