15 September 2020

Let’s Get Zoomier: Amazing Zooming Tips


As a companion piece to my last SleuthSayers post The Next Best Thing to Being There about Zooming instead of meeting in person, I thought I’d do some tips on how to prepare and do a Zoom conference. So, you want to make sure you look your best, both personally, as well as in terms of camera angle, lighting, etc. Go full Hollywood with makeup, hair and lighting.

In the good old days when you could actually go out into the real world, we had to get out of bed, shower, shave, get out of our P.J.s and put on real clothes (not our daytime P.J.s). But now, in the age of Covid we’ve gotten sloppy. Hey, who needs to comb your hair when no one’s going to see it? And that shirt you spilled mustard on, no problem, it might be a limited Jackson Pollack design! But the internet age has changed all that with Zoom and other online video conferences. We can no longer hide behind the curtain of privacy that old fashioned phone conferences gave us. No longer can we multi-task while we’re on that conference call – no clipping your toenails or reading the latest mystery novel or Facebooking while you attentively listen to others talk. Now via video conferencing we have to allow a whole bunch of strangers into our homes, let them see our messy cluttered counters, our out-of-date wall paper and dusty bookshelves. But there is help out there for those of us who struggle with the idea of video conferencing. Here are my tips to make your Zoom even zoomier:

Personal Grooming: You want to look your best. Maybe get a haircut and a close shave: If your local hair salon isn’t open, why not try the do-it-yourself approach? I like to keep my hat on as it makes a good template so I don’t cut it too short and promotes my always-wear-a-hat brand. And I find that a good sharp axe makes for the closest shave.

You can trim your own hair. Watch out for the ears!

The secret to a close shave is a sharp blade.

This picture shows the final glorious effect – not bad for an amateur.

After you get your haircut and shave you might want to powder off the shine, like the Beatles did in A Hard Day’s Night:


--Make-up?

--Norm, take them down to Make-up and powder them off. The shine, you know.

--Sure.







To which George Beatle, while having makeup applied, says:

“Hey, you won't interfere with the basic rugged concept of me personality, will you madam?”


So, don’t forget to powder off the shine. Just make sure to use the proper utensils, like the custom panda powder puff as seen in the pic below. You can probably find one -- or maybe something even better -- at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goopy store:


And let’s not forget the words of wisdom on this subject from Carole Lombard as Princess Olga in The Princess Comes Across:


Princess Olga (Carole Lombard): Oh, my poof!

[fishing out her sopping wet powder puff]

King Mantell (Fred MacMurray): Your what?

Princess Olga: My powder poof! It is vet!
[squeezing it out onto his shoes]




Camera Angle and Framing: Make sure your phone or laptop camera is aimed properly. Unless you want to look like grandma driving her humongous ancient Oldsmobile and not being able to see over the steering wheel, you need to make sure you aren’t angling your screen so that you are too high or too low in the frame.

Uh, hello? Where are you? I can’t seeeee you.

Proper Background: Make sure to have a clean, uncluttered background with nothing sprouting out of your head to conflict with the pearls of wisdom you’re spouting.

Uh, no that’s not the new Mickey Mouse club hat I’m wearing.

Lighting: Make sure the lighting is flattering. Don’t you just love that “is it Halloween yet” look? Or do you prefer the “did you forget to pay the electric bill” fashion? Or maybe a dark, noir rolling power outage vibe?


Hollywood Cool: Or you can go for the film noir shadow effect. The Shadow knows. This works particularly well during brownouts.


Always look your best: Look sharp. Pic out the right outfit. Add a tie. A tie can dress up any old shirt. It can also be a useful tool in letting everyone know how you really feel about outlining. And it can be used as strangulation ligature in a pinch if you feel like acting out a scene from one of your books.


Cute cameos: Don’t forget the photo bomb cameos. It’s always good when a baby or child or cute animal walks into frame and steals the scene. Remember what W.C. Fields said, “Never work with children or animals.” They’re scene stealers. Exception to the rule: Buster in these pix.


Final Reveal: And the final reveal, makeup and hair done, proper lighting and angle, appropriate attire. It all comes together in the end:


The Real Deal: And a pic from a real Zoom conference I did a couple of weeks ago with a book photo bomb:


So there you have it. All you need to know about Zooming and being Zoomier!
~.~.~

And now for the usual BSP:

Thanks to Steve Steinbock and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine for the review of The Blues Don’t Care in the current September/October 2020 issue just out. Four stars out of four. My first time getting reviewed in EQMM. A great honor!




Please join me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/paul.d.marks and check out my website  www.PaulDMarks.com



30 comments:

  1. Got me to laugh this morning. Thanks. Good tips by the way.

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  2. Thanks, O'Neil. Glad you enjoyed it. I had fun doing it.

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  3. Digging on the panda powder-off and the axe shave!
    Oh, and the tie-strangle too!
    πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜‚πŸ€£

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  4. Thanks, Lisa. Well, you know, you gotta have the proper tools. And the tie can definitely do double duty :-) .

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  5. Fun and informative. Thanks, Paul.

    One question: What is this Zoom thing?

    (Just kidding; I have heard of it ... I think.)

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  6. Thanks, Jake. And I think this Zoom thing is some Top Secret project from Elon Musk to magically transport people across time and space ;-) .

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  7. Yeah, Paul, that's what I heard ... I think. But shhhhh!

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  8. Loved it, Paul! Great post,
    Laurie

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  9. Great pix! Thanks for the laughs. Personally, I prefer to position myself in front of a bright window. The less they see of me right now, the better.

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  10. Thanks, Kaye. And yeah, a bright window works well, too. As for the a haircut, etc., well, there's always the pruning sheers ;-) .

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  11. Thanks for the advice (and more importantly, the laughs)!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Cathy. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. I see we shop for our barber supplies at the same gardening center.

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  13. Only the best for us, Michael :-) .

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  14. That was actually pretty darn good advice, my friend. Loved the tie...

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  15. Thanks, Gayle. And I love the tie, too!

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  16. Funny! I still don’t have my positioning right.

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    1. Thanks, Maggie. And you can use this handy guide for positioning, royalty free ;-) .

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  17. Great post, Paul, I'm still smiling writing my comment. Really like the camera angle advice, and fan, and photo bomb...so much to enjoy. Thank you for putting a smile on my face.

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  18. Absolutely Fabulous! Hilarious! As for me, I'm just thankful that we can still be slobs from the armpits down!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eve. Just remember not to stand up :-) .

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  19. Nice advice, and a marvelous slide show! Loved it! Thanks!

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  20. Thanks, Jeff. Glad you enjoyed it.

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