Performing on Zoom

Basics

This document is a set of tips on performing through Zoom originally published on our Live Streamed Comedy website. It is intended for comedians with some experience who aren’t used to live streaming but should be useful for other solo performers in many other art-forms.

  1. You can install Zoom on your phone or tablet through the relevant Android or Apple app store. Unofficial instructions for laptops are available here.
  2. To be able to talk you need to sign in to zoom before entering the room.
  3. Point the camera so only what you want to be seen is in frame. Maybe swing the phone / laptop around so it’s facing a blank wall.
  4. See if you can get the lighting on your face as good as possible. Standard for live is a light each side of you at 45 degree angles, coming from a position higher than your head. I’ve been experimenting with a 9 watt LED desk light on top of my desk’s built in shelving on one side and the room lighting on the other. Not great but works unless I’m in the DEATH outfit which benefits from bad lighting. The desk light on one side, a similar powered work light on the other and the ceiling light produce lighting that is incredibly close in quality to our stage lights.
  5. Consider how much of your body you want in frame. A lot of people just have their face there, but if you’re used to stand-up you’re probably also used to moving your hands and arms for emphasis, etc. (Something I’ve had to adjust to wearing a mask where can’t use facial expressions for emphasis). If you want to show your upper body & not just your head, you’ll need to be about 1½ arm-lengths back from the camera. To have your feet in frame, even further back. Being further back makes your voice quieter. Trade offs. We suspect Bluetooth mics might help but the delay they caused ruined lip sync which was distracting .
  6. Except for comedic effect, try and keep yourself centered (L-R) in the screen. Much the same applies to vertical placement. If you want to show your face make sure the top of your head is below the top of the frame & your chin above the bottom. Keep glancing at your own picture to check your placement. A good rule of thumb is to have your eyes between ¼ and ⅓ of the way down the screen, as long as your face is entirely visible.
  7. Check out the volume level on your laptop/phone/etc at some points we have been getting an annoying buzz, I think this may have been caused by overload.
  8. Please mute all other local sources of sound (TV, Music players, chainsaws, etc) before enabling your microphone.
  9. NB: If you have two devices with audio enabled both connected to the Zoom session, you will cause feedback. This will upset the audience.

If you’re going to perform in a show in the festival, haven’t used Zoom before and want a practice, let us know a few days before showtime & we’ll try to set up a session for you.

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