While many are starting to work from home on a broad scale because of the Coronavirus, here are a few tips based on our running consulting businesses and later a video production business, often from home offices.
Video Conferencing with Zoom, WebEx, Skype or Other Apps
To look and sound professional while using an app where you and your temporary home office are going to be shared with your colleagues, take these steps:
Background. Pay attention to the space behind where you’re sitting, as that’s what people will see. This means straighten it up, make it look as tidy and as professional as possible.
Light your face. If you can, have a light source (lamp or window) in FRONT of your face, not behind it. If the light source is behind you, people aren’t going to be able to see you well.
Place camera at eye level. Otherwise, people are going to be looking up your nose and focusing on your double chin (LOL). But, seriously, it will look more like you’re looking straight at a person if the camera is placed at the right height. How to do this? Tilt your monitor or adjust your chair. If you have a laptop or tablet, stack a bunch of books under it to raise it up. Or, you may wish to buy an external camera that you plug into your computer. We have found Logitech webcams to be excellent. There’s also the Microsoft LifeCam series. (Side note, we have absolutely no financial interest in recommending any product or seller, but B&H is a great company for buying stuff like this and has excellent customer service. We spoke with B&H this weekend and some of these products are on backorder, but should be coming in shortly.)
Use audio only. Even though you’re using a platform with video capability, you can also use just the audio part. While video can strengthen feelings of connection, audio only can be useful if you are multitasking, have trouble sitting still, or don’t want to be on camera.
Practice. Practice using features such as the screen share. And if you’re leading a call, prepare your documents in advance and practice sharing them.
Be Prompt. If you are needed at the start of the call or are the one leading the call, you don’t want to make other wait and reduce the productivity of the whole team.
Identify yourself and speak clearly. When it’s your turn to speak and there are multiple people on the line, say “This is (your name)” and then make your comment.
Be positive. Because audio calls can lack some of the emotional connection we otherwise might feel, try your best to be positive in your words. People won’t be able to see you nodding your head in agreement, for example, so saying things like, “That’s a good point” can be even more important in an audio call.
Mute button. If you’re on an audio-only call with lots of people, it’s best to keep your phone on mute, except when you’re talking. Otherwise, everyone’s background noise can be very distracting and noisy.
How to Mail a Package without Leaving Your House
There’s FedEx, of course, but the US Postal Service also offers some great services for mailing from home.
Create mailing labels at home. Go to USPS.com. Through their “Click-N-Ship” option, you can create labels from your computer, pay, and print. You will need to create an account. Then you just put the label on your package and leave it for your letter carrier (you can drop it off at the post office). You can also schedule a pickup, track the package, etc.
Get Free Postal Supplies delivered to your door. Under the USPS tab called “Postal Store,” you can click on “Shipping and Supplies.” From there, you can click on “Free Shipping Supplies” and see all the boxes and products available. You can order them and the letter carrier will deliver them to your home. You can order a variety of boxes, labels, and stamps.
In addition to following the official instructions from your local leaders, medical professionals, and CDC, these tips can also help.
Take a walk outside (if your jurisdiction permits/advises it and without getting close to others). Fresh air and exercise can buoy the spirit.
Call a friend or relative just to chat. We all need emotional support during the Coronavirus crisis. Talking with someone you care about and who cares about you is a great way to build that support network. And try to stay positive, as stress itself can reduce our body’s ability to fight disease.
UPDATE: Version 18.09 has been re-released (build 18.09.16)
to fix major new bugs with the Rotate and Scale, Size and
Position, Text, Chroma Key, Key Spill, and White Balance filters.
This release is packed with fixes and improvements in many areas!
Added Ripple support for moving clips including Ripple All Tracks.
When Ripple is on and you move a clip to the right, it now
ripples (pushes) all the clips to the right instead of making a transition
(including the Ripple All Tracks option).
Added Ctrl+R keyboard shortcut to toggle Timeline Ripple, Ctrl+Alt+R to toggle Ripple All Tracks, and Ctrl+Shift+R to toggle both.
Improved Snapping behavior on the Timeline.
Added Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut to toggle Snapping.
Added Reset Track Height (Ctrl+0) to the Timeline menu.
Added a Timer video filter.
Added support for negative rotation to the Rotate and Scale filter.
Added Shake 1 Second – Scaled and Shake 1 Second – Unscaled presets
to the Size and Position filter.
Added a Text clip to the Open Other dialog.
This is a convenience item that creates a transparent Color clip with a Text filter.
Added Extract Sub-clip to Properties menu for audio/video clip.
Added Export presets for WebM VP8 and VP9 with alpha channel.
Fixed a crash when quickly changing clip selections in the Timeline.
Improved closing Shotcut more reliably and the behavior of multiple shotcut
Fixed Undo beyond Remove Track may crash.
Fixed a crash when moving a clip after undoing a transition.
Fixed a crash loading project after some sequence of inserting and removing tracks.
Fixed a crash loading an image with the wrong filename extension.
Fixed OS audio device changes may cause Shotcut to hang.
Fixed crash dragging simple keyframes beyond the edges of the clip.
The 32-bit Windows build can use more memory to reduce risk of crash:
3 GiB on 32-bit Windows and 4 GiB on 64-bit Windows.
Fixed a crash applying an image transform filter to an image with alpha
channel (PNG, SVG).
Improved behavior of opening WebP images.
Fixed advanced keyframes for the Size and Position filter.
Fixed inserted and then hidden video tracks become audio tracks after
re-opening the project.
Fixed changing Video Mode from Automatic to something else with
Fixed moving a transition to another track leaves a hidden clip on the old track.
Fixed trimming the out point of a timeline clip may change the in point of
the following clip.
Fixed Properties > Speed, Convert, Reverse, and More Information does not work sometimes after reloading a project.
Fixed reliability of changing size and position fields with keyframes
in Size and Position and Text filters.
Fixed trimming outward with Ripple All Tracks moved clips on other tracks
in the wrong direction.
Fixed audio waveforms still appear on muted tracks after adding a track.
Fixed dragging clips to the Timeline stops working.
Fixed edges of text with the Text filter may get cut off (clipped).
Fixed Size and Position and Rotate and Scale filters may leave black
right and bottom edge of frame.
Fixed trimming a timeline clip with Fade In/Out Video filters
with “Adjust opacity instead of fade with black” enabled.
Fixed Export may change the actual frame rate and cause timing errors.
Fixed reducing the Frame/sec in Export causes timing errors in the output.
Fixed image scaling interpolation method when not using a transform filter.
Removed the Compositing toggle icon from the Timeline track head. Now,
it is located in the track Properties as Blend mode with a None option.
In the 3D Text filter, replaced the Droid fonts with Liberation due to an
Well, to be honest, there is not much speed improvement. Most of the improvement
comes from a fix to prevent an incomplete shutdown. In the case of the 32-bit
Windows build, since more memory can be accessed now, we have removed some of
(not all) multi-threading limits.
Improved the performance of changing filter parameters and scrubbing.
Limit the number of background thumbnail and waveform generation threads to 4.
Prevent trying to generate audio levels for waveforms for still images and
other silent sources.
This version brings hardware encoding to macOS and VA-API encoding for Linux.
Meanwhile, the experimental GPU Effects mode, which was always unstable and
unsupported is made a truly advanced option by hiding it. Now, one can only
enable it by manually changing the configuration file/registry. To make things
easier a New Project screen was added, most Export options are hidden behind an Advanced button, hardware encoding gets a checkbox, and a signed macOS build is
Much of this release was based on contributions in the form of code, presets,
title templates, feedback, bug reports, and testing nightly builds or the beta.
Also, recently, we added a Contribute
page to the Web site.
Added Center Playhead option to the Timeline and Keyframes menus.
Added Slow Zoom __, Hold __ presets to the Size and Position filter.
Added a Chroma Hold video filter.
Added a Swirl (HTML) video filter.
Added a simple Templates framework to the Overlay HTML filter (see
path Shotcutshareshotcutqmlfilterswebvfxtemplates to add your own)
with the following templates:
Blue Middle Bar
Creative Commons Music
Blank with Web Animations
Fixed launch crash on Linux by excluding libdrm libraries.
Fixed audio level changed by the Mask : From File filter.
Fixed Text filter may have glitches with Export > Parallel processing
(regression in v18.12.x).
Fixed missing file detected when Stabilize filter added without clicking Analyze.
Fixed external monitoring on Linux screen.
Fixed unable to detect hardware encoders with spaces in the installation
Fixed changing Speed can move a clip.
Fixed changing Speed has no effect when the system region and language
decimal separators are different.
Fixed filter duration not adjusted when trimming a transition.
Fixed ripple trim when clip has a transition.
Fixed removing a transition by trimming adds some frames.
Fixed aspect ratio for File > Export Frame with non-square pixel video.
Fixed handling relative paths to external resources in the Overlay HTML
Fixed a crash opening a project after removing the bottom video track.
Fixed the lossless/H.264 preset to be completely lossless.
Fixed dropping a file from a file manager whose name has special/extended
characters (e.g. [, ]).
Fixed the state of the enabled checkbox for the Overlay HTML filter and
when using a color picker.
Fixed distortion after changing the Keyframe Type of a keyframe for the Scale parameter in the Rotate and Scale filter.
Fixed right-clicking a keyframe to open context menu may change its position.
Fixed distortion when a Mirror filter is placed before a Size and
Position or Rotate and Scale filter.
Fixed Levels filter in locales with comma for decimal point.
Changes and Improvements
Upgraded FFmpeg to v4.1
Improved Color Grading filter by letting all parameters go from -100% to 100%.
Added an automatic retry without Parallel processing when Export job fails.
Set the Save as type list on the Export File dialog on Windows when a
preset defines a filename extension.