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It’s fair to say 2020 hasn’t quite panned out the way we all would have hoped; and particularly the festive season. Not being able to have all your family together for Christmas or bring in the New Year surrounded by friends certainly isn’t how we planned on ending the year; but that doesn’t mean we can’t try and make the best of things. Thankfully, modern technology has made it possible to still spend time with our loved ones (albeit virtually).
The Corona Virus pandemic saw the use of video calling apps increase by an average of 947% across the UK. Unsurprising, given many businesses had to change to remote working, relying on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to keep in touch with colleagues; and let’s not forget the summer lockdown craze of family Zoom quizzes.
Popularity of Zoom skyrocketed this year, but it isn’t the only option out there for video calling. There are several free video call software options to choose from:
· Facebook Messenger or Rooms
· Google Meets
· FaceTime (only available on Apple devices)
· And of course, Zoom
We could go on and tell you about the positives and negatives of each platform, but truth be told, they are all pretty similar. The one you choose will either come to personal preference or going with whatever the organiser has chosen. That being said, there are ways to make your video calling experience more enjoyable and that’s what we are here for.
Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Video Calls
1. Use a laptop rather than a handheld device: there is nothing more annoying than having to hold a phone or tablet for video call; finding the right position so you can see the other people and they can see you, making sure your fingers aren’t covering the mic and not accidentally hanging up are issues nobody needs. That’s why, where possible, we would always suggest using a laptop for a lengthy video call. Not only will your hands be free to hold your glass of (insert favourite drink here), you will also be ready to write down the answers to the family quiz without accidentally propelling your phone or drink across the room – bonus!
2. Set up before hand: Chances are your virtual get-together is going to be pre-planned, so it makes sense to get everything set up in advance. Pick a spot for yourself and the family (you want to make sure everyone can fit in), then decide where you want your laptop to go. We suggest getting cosied up on the couch and placing your laptop on a table about a metre or so in front of where you are sitting. This will give the web cam enough scope to fit everyone in and will also be close enough so you don’t feel like you are shouting to be heard or straining to hear everyone else.
3. Go big, because you can’t leave your home: if your space allows it, hook your laptop up to your TV, this way you will be able to see everyone up close and personal. You can easily do this with an HDMI cable. They come in varying lengths so even if your TV is up on the wall you will be able to find one that will reach.
4. Last, but not least, have fun with it! If there is one thing we have all learned this year it’s that quality time with the people we love is more important than ever. If quizzes aren’t your style why not play a game of charades, Pictionary or bingo. There are countless options out there and all you have to do is make it your own.
Stay safe, and from all of us here at EuroPC we hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Year!