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Pasyal Team

Posted on July 18, 2020

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BY NEAL P. CORPUS
ART BY GIANNE ENCARNACION

Want to amp up your Zoom background? Interior designer Martina Bautista tells us how.

If there’s one thing we’ve all used (and maybe abused) in the course of the lockdown, it’s video calling. But just because we all use it doesn’t mean we all know how to make the most of it.

You’ve probably come across — or have been — that person with an awkward camera angle, messy background, or straight-up took the call in the dark. Does a video calling handbook exist somewhere?

To answer this need, we spoke to interior designer Martina Bautista on how you can improve your Zoom backgrounds.

Like many of us, Martina has had to adapt to working remotely: “With every change of the quarantine protocols, we’ve been adapting the way we approach job sites,” she shares, and she’s done this by lessening the number of people on sites and doing things digitally everywhere possible.

She’s even rearranged her home office to accommodate the bigger number of video calls, so Martina definitely has a couple of tips for all of us newly-ordained… Zoomites? Zoomers? Here are three easy things to improve the background of your next video call.

1. Light it up

During the daytime, sitting in front of a window is best.

This might seem obvious, but lighting is an important part of improving your Zoom prowess. “For daytime calls, I usually suggest picking a spot with a window for lighting purposes,” Martina says. Having a wall behind you instead of an entire room also helps to brighten up your background.

Remember, bright is always best: “Moody lighting schemes don’t set the right tone for meetings and honestly all you need is a good window or lamp and you’re set,” says Martina.

But what about calls after 5 p.m.? If you’re a little extra, a ring light should do the trick. However, if you want something subtler, consider this #protip from Martina: “Try placing a white cartolina or desk mat on the table below your face to bounce the available light.”

2. Keep it clean

If you want to style your background, it’s best to keep it simple.

This is perhaps the most important tip of all. “Make sure it isn’t distracting,” Martina says, adding that you should remove distracting photos or general kalat from the background.

If you want so step it up and style your background, add only one or two things: “Try to keep it styled simply — maybe one painting and a plant at most — so the meeting is focused on you and not the items behind you.”

As an interior designer, Martina believes that less is more — at least when it comes to digital meetings. “As tempting as it is to buy all the aesthetic props on Instagram, try to curate the items you put in your background to show your personality without overdoing the number of pieces,” she says.

3. Level up your camera

For a more flattering angle, raise your camera to eye level.

Another thing we probably don’t realize to consider is the angle of the camera. On your next video call, try elevating your laptop, phone, or webcam to get a more straight-on angle.

“Whether it be a box or a laptop stand, try to prop up the screen so you aren’t being viewed from below,” Martina says. Nobody really wants to see up your nostrils, amirite?

When in doubt, just remember that like you, your Zoom background doesn’t always have to work hard — it just has to work smart. See you on-screen.

Need one or two props? Don’t procrastinate — head on over to the nearest Ayala Mall and start designing your space:

For decorative fixtures: AC +632, Greenbelt 5, Makati
For lighting and functional pieces: Dezeenio, Greenbelt 5 Makati
For plants of all sizes: Qach Lifestyle & Garden, Ayala Malls the 30th (Read our feature on Qach here!)

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