So you've been invited to be a guest on an Intel Software TV recording - congratulations! This article will help you be prepared, and look and sound your best for your appearance. Please feel free to contact Intel Software TV producer Jerry Makare (email@example.com) with any questions.
Bandwidth and network
Wired over wireless
If at all possible, use a wired network connection instead of wireless. Skype is pretty bandwidth intensive, and the better your network connection, the better the audio and video quality will be. Most home or office broadband connections offer plenty of bandwidth for Skype, but if at all possible, plug a network cable directly into your router or LAN rather than using a wireless connection.
Beacuse corporate firewalls and packet shaping can interfere with a Skype connection, and sometimes even prevent it from working at all, we strongly recommend that you be connected directly to the Internet, without running a VPN tunnel. We understand that if you're on a corporate network you probably can't bypass the firewall/proxy, but if you have the option, turn off VPN.
If you're not a regular Skype user, do a test call to the Skype Call Testing Service (it should appear in your Contacts list) to make sure your audio settings are correct, and your mic/headset are working. You can also optionally arrange a test call with the show host who invited you, or you can contact Intel Software TV producer Jerry Makare (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a test call.
Accept request from ISN Studio One|Two|Three|Four
Shortly before the schedule start time, be logged in to Skype. You'll receive a Contact Request from an account named ISN Studio One (or Two, or Three, or Four). Please accept this request, then wait for us to call you at the appointed time.
If at all possible, use a USB headset and mic for the call. The audio quality will be SO much better than using the built-in mic on your computer. Any USB headset with a mic should work. We use and recommend the Plantronics .Audio 655 USB Headset ($29 on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-Audio-655-USB-Multimedia/dp/B001SEQN3K). It's not necessary for you to buy a headset just to be a guest on a show, but if you want to sound your best, a headset with a mic is a must. Even if it's not USB, but uses the headphone and mic jack on your computer, it will be better than the built in mic, because the mic will be closer to your mouth, thus reducing room (and computer) noise.
If you absolutely must use the built in mic on your computer, at least use headphones instead of your computer's speakers. This will prevent echo and other audio quality problems.
Besides using a headset/mic, the next most important factor to good audio quality is calling from a quiet location. Background noise, like passing traffic, loud conversations, etc. will negatively affect audio quality. It doesn't have to be silent, but the quieter the better.
We use audio and video for our shows, so if you have a webcam, please use it! Just about any webcam will be fine - even the one built in to your laptop. No need for a fancy/special camera.
Well lit room
One of the most important factors in looking good on Skype video is good room lighting. Try to be in a well lit room, with most of the light coming from in front of you (rather than behind you, which will make you a dark silhouette against an overexposed bright background). Sunlight and windows are great, as long as they're not directly behind you. Regular room lights also work. Just don't be in a dark cave, with the only light coming from the glow of your screen.
Avoid cluttered backgrounds
Pay attention to what's behind you on video calls, and avoid overly cluttered backgrounds. Plain backgrounds are fine, as well as interesting items like bookshelves, chalkboards, etc. But avoid anything that's too distracting. If necessary, turn your computer/webcam slightly to get a better background.
Position your webcam so that your face/shoulders take up most of the screen. Don't leave too much room between the top of your head and the top of the frame. Take into consideration what position you'll be sitting in when you settle in for the show, and aim your webcam accordingly.
Landline phone number
We always ask our remote guests for a backup phone number, preferably a land line (land lines are much higher audio quality than mobile/cell phones), that we can call in case of technical issues with the remote Skype audio/video connection. Please make sure to provide a backup number where we can reach you at the appointed time.
We also request a nice photograph of you, to be used in the show graphics, and in case of a remote video failure. High quality pictures (larger than 1000 pixels) are preferred, and we can work with just about any common image format (JPG, PNG, TIFF, etc.). Please make sure to provide your photo a couple of days in advance of the show, so we can prepare the graphic assets before the broadcast.
During the Show
We'll call ~15 minutes before
Be online and signed in to Skype a few minutes before the scheduled time of your appearance. One our our producers will call you when we're ready. We always take a few minutes before starting the recording/broadcast to check audio levels, chat about the show, and do something we call a PMR (Personal Media Release). Basically, the PMR is a quick recording of you verbally giving us permission to make the recording, and post it on our site. Recording it right before the show is a lot easier than faxing paperwork back and forth. :-)
Hang out afterward
At the end of the show, when the hosts sign off, don't hang up right away. We usually take a few minutes after we stop the recording/broadcast to talk about how the show went, say thanks for your participation, etc.
Thanks so much for agreeing to be a guest on Intel Software TV! We want to make your experience as enjoyable and smooth as possible. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please drop an email to producer Jerry Makare (email@example.com). Thanks again! :-)