Quick Tips to Test Your Webcam And Microphone to Sound Like a Pro
Webinar tips and tricks

Quick Tips to Test Your Webcam And Microphone to Sound Like a Pro

Use these simple tips to test your webcam and microphone so you can shine at your next online event.

Have you ever skipped testing your webcam and microphone before a big event? The results can be embarrassing: “You're on mute! We can't see you!”

Some attendees will be forgiving, but others will quietly tune you out. When your online event starts with technical problems, keeping attendees engaged becomes much more difficult.

Fortunately, you can easily prevent these problems with five to ten minutes of preparation. To become a true pro, use our 10 point video meeting checklist, which covers technical and non-technical tips to deliver a great online meeting. Or, keep reading to learn how to test your camera and mic to avoid any more awkward technical problems.

Check your system configuration: the basics

Many event tools now include connectivity tests that you can use to verify that your microphone and webcam are working correctly. However, those testing features will not accomplish much if your system configuration prevents your webcam and microphone from working. Taking the time to check your system configuration before joining an online event is the first step to looking and sounding like a pro during your broadcast.

Make the most of those features with the following tips:

Check that your browser, mobile, or tablet is compatible

You will want to check that your event platform is running on the most up-to-date browser or compatible devices. For example, chrome is a popular browser for video streaming because of simulcast technology. To keep it simple, this just means that your session will be more stable than if you presented it from other browsers. Remember, every platform is different, so make sure to investigate which browsers and devices work best for your chosen tool.

Use compatibility mode

Your attendees might be using an older web browser like Internet Explorer 10 or older versions of Safari, Old browsers do not always work well during online events. To provide the best experience, tell attendees to use "compatibility mode" in your video streaming app. If that feature is not available in the software you are using, encourage attendees to upgrade to the latest version of Chrome.

Check your setup

There are two aspects to checking your setup: technical and non-technical factors. In terms of technical setup, verify that your headphones, microphone and webcam are turned on and working. To maximize performance on older devices, restart your device before the event and only run apps needed to participate in the event. From a non-technical perspective, check your hair and clothing are neat. Presenters may want to set up a branded background or virtual background.

Look at the connection speed

For the best experience, a certain Internet speed is recommended. For presenters, you should have a 15 Mbps up and down speed. Attendees, in contrast, need a 5Mps speed for an optimal experience. You can test your Internet speed using free tools like Speedtest.net.

Pay attention to firewalls

Firewalls sometimes interfere with video streaming apps and online events. To verify your video service will work, whitelist the domain in advance (e.g. *.livestorm.co if you are using livestorm). You may also want to disconnect from your corporate VPN (a virtual private network) prior to joining the event.

Use the fifteen-minute rule

Let's say your event starts at 11 am. You should log in to the online event by 10:45 am. This will give you a few minutes to test your equipment and sort out any problems. Make sure you look for alerts to allow access to your webcam. If you do not allow access to your webcam and microphone, you will not participate fully in the event.

Test your webcam

Start with the obvious – can you see anything on the screen? If the screen is black, your webcam might be disconnected or covered up. The following few sections will help you fine-tune your webcam.

Test your microphone by speaking

If the live event platform lets you test your webcam and microphone, say your name and today's date. If you can hear yourself and see yourself, your webcam testing work is done.

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How to test a webcam: 4 simple methods

Now that you’ve gotten up to speed on ensuring your system configuration, we’ll dive into webcam testing. There are three quick ways to do it: through your event’s test room, with a dedicated webcam checking tool, or by test-driving the platform.

1. Use a test room

Some live event tools have a "test room" where you can test your webcam. This is usually the last step you go through before going on stage. You can check the quality of your stream or even make any last-minute adjustments to make sure you’re looking sharp.

2. Try an online test

Use a camera test online test tool like Webcamtests.com to test your webcam. This quick test is a fast webcam testing tool. If you cannot test your webcam and microphone, make sure you have allowed access to the webcam and that you have removed any coverings from the webcam itself.

3. Take your tool on a test drive

Text a friend and ask them to jump on a short video call with you. This simple technique is an excellent way to supplement a webcam checker because you can get live feedback. By speaking and listening with your webcam and microphone, you can find out your hardware is working properly

In some cases, you might find that your webcam works with one tool but not another one. This can happen if you rely on just one test webcam and microphone testing tool. If you have problems with browser-based online events, switch to a different browser (e.g., Firefox to Chrome). If that solution fails, restarting your computer can help to solve this problem. If that does not solve the problem, contact support for additional suggestions.

4. Make sure your webcam is on and ready

This seems like a simple step, but surprisingly it is often skipped over by many professionals! Turning on your webcam should be as simple as:

  1. Checking your system’s settings - check if your webcam and microphone are turned on and unmuted. If this type of test does not work, your system settings might be the problem.
  2. Connect external webcams and microphones - double-check that your device is physically connected to your computer or docking station.

Don’t forget to check your webcam's picture quality

Have you ever sat through a virtual meeting or event where the speaker’s video feed was blurry, choppy, and just plain frustrating to watch? You can avoid this common webinar mistake by checking the quality of your video feed before you go live. There are several ways you can optimize your webcam picture quality, from choosing the right tools to building the perfect webinar setup.

The first way to check the picture quality is to check your lighting. Inadequate lighting makes it difficult for people to see your face in online events. To solve this problem, move your laptop to a room with good natural light. As an alternative, consider buying a ring light or lamp and putting it behind your webcam.

You might also opt to get close to the webcam. If you are too far away, the webcam might not show your face clearly during your webcam test. If you have trouble seeing yourself during your webcam test, narrow the distance between yourself and your webcam. In a similar vein, you can get closer to your wireless router. Wireless Internet signals deliver less speed when you are further from your router. Consider getting up and moving your laptop closer to the router for the duration of your online event.

In addition, you should always close other programs using the Internet. Turn off any tools or apps that might use the Internet during an online event. Not only will this save you from any annoying notifications while you present it will also optimize your bandwidth. You can learn more about bandwidth vs. latency in this article.

Finally, if you’ve made these changes and your picture quality still suffers, you can buy a higher-quality webcam. In some cases, buying a new webcam can help to improve your picture quality.

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How to test a microphone?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? That probably depends on if its microphone was working! In all seriousness, if nobody hears you at an online event, nothing else matters. So to make sure you have crystal clear audio, test your microphone.

  • Make a test call - use your favorite video calling tool and make a call from your computer. If your microphone works during a call, it will probably work well in a live event.
  • Check your microphone volume - this is another rookie mistake that catches even the best of us! Start with your microphone at 50% volume. Increase it to a higher level if you cannot hear yourself while testing webcam microphone audio levels.
  • Have a backup microphone ready - like any piece of hardware, microphones sometimes break down. This could happen to you during an online event! That's why we recommend having a backup microphone (for example, your headphones might have a microphone you could use) just in case. Even better, use a Yeti microphone.
  • Complete a more extended test before presentations - It’s relatively easy to get a microphone to work well for a few minutes. Speaking for more extended periods of time is a different story. You might shift around and drift further from the microphone or not speak loudly enough. If you plan on giving a presentation at an online event, consider scheduling a practice run the day before the event. Practicing your presentation has two benefits: you will be more confident in your material, and you will get more comfortable speaking with a microphone for more extended periods.

Tip: Are you preparing to host a webinar? Use our guide to picking the perfect microphone and webcam for webinars.

Testing your microphone on your own is brilliant, but it will only take you so far. Let's look at ways to test the sound quality with others.

Check the sound quality

Should you test your sound quality with other people? It depends on the situation. If the online event is client-facing, it is well worth the time. On the other hand, if you join an online event as an attendee and only plan to ask a question or two, testing your sound quality might not be as important.

You can use the following techniques to test webcam microphone to test your equipment quickly:

The first thing you can do is listen to another person. It will be all but impossible to connect with others at an online event if you cannot hear them. Taking 30 seconds to test your sound quality with another event attendee is a great idea. If your online event platform doesn't support one-on-one conversations, you can test your sound quality by making a video call before the event.

You may also consider using noise-canceling headphones. Whether you are working from home or in a crowded office, background noise is annoying! Noise-canceling headphones reduce distractions which means you can focus on every word in the online event. Note that some noise-canceling headphones can cause distortion. To reduce this distraction, there are several options. You can wear headphones with passive noise-canceling (active noise-canceling features are more likely to cause distortion). Further, you can buy sound-absorbing foam panels for less than $50 to reduce distracting sounds.

Check that it works with your webcam

There are a few ways to double-check that your webcam is fully functional at an online event. Like most of our tips, practice makes perfect!

You should never assume that all online event platforms are the same. For example, there is a big difference between browser-based tools and apps that you have to download. The day before your event, spend a few minutes testing your webcam and microphone to learn your way around any settings.

In addition, you should close other apps before joining the event. You might have a series of video meetings and calls on the same day as your event. If those other events are still controlling your webcam, you could have problems at your online event. Take a few minutes to close browsers and apps that use your webcam.

Finally, pay attention to audience feedback. As you present, look at the webinar chat tab a few times at the start of the event. This will confirm whether attendees can hear you. Once you get that confirmation, turn your attention to delivering your presentation.

Look and sound your best during your events

Online events, webinars, and digital conferences are not going to disappear anytime soon. However, it is no longer the spring of 2020. Fewer people will tolerate poor audio and video quality. If you want to keep attendees engaged, taking the time to test your webcam and microphone is smart.

Molly Hocutt

Molly Hocutt

Molly Hocutt has been a Content Manager at Livestom since 2019. She has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.