Listed below are 3 different types of Microphones and a very brief description of their advantages and disadvantages. Examples listed are from Amazon only for convenience; there are other options available and this is not an endorsement of Amazon.
Any headphone with mic that works with your device and has decent reviews will work. For laptops/desktops we recommend USB compatible, and for smart phones or tablets, Bluetooth compatible. Below are some examples of mid-ranged ones that we know will work well that we're recommending for instructors, however, please feel to go with any well reviewed product. Free standing mics should be pair with headphones for best results.
- Full headset, over ear combo. Something like a studio mic from the movies, this has sound isolating ear cups, a boom microphone and can be wired or wireless. Pros: best audio quality (usually both heard and sent by the mic.) Cons: bulkiest and heaviest option.
- Mono Aural, on ear. Comparable to what you might see a receptionist use. Pros: lightest worn headset. Cons: quality us usually acceptable but not great.
- Free Standing Desk Mic: Similar to a shotgun area mic, these stand on your desk and aren’t worn. Pros: Nothing worn. Cons: in a room with hard surfaces, there’s a reverberation that’s audible but not distracting.
One thing to consider with your audio setup- if you're planning on taking part in an online session and someone has an area microphone (either a free standing one or the mic array on a laptop) and that same person is not using headphones, you can get a loop back effect. This is where one person speaks, it is played back through the speakers of another meeting or classroom attendee, and that microphone captures the speech and relays it back to the original speaker.
You want to be in a well lit room that has good light both in front of you and behind you-- this prevents the backlighting that creates a silhouette effect. Too much foreground light can cause artificial shadows that may create an eerie look.
Ring lights can be a great lighting source. Typically they have several lighting modes (warmer/colder) with adjustable brightness. There are numerous good choices in the $20-$30 range on Amazon. No need for one of the expensive ones for good results. 10" is recommended and watch for if they are powered by USB (eg your laptop), or a external power (plugged into the wall).
Web cameras are in somewhat short supply still, but available via online purchase. If necessary, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for current recommendations.
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