Online MUN – Hardware Set-up
MUN online introduces new variables to the MUN experience we know and love. Unlike an in-person MUN conference, you could do your research, submit a well polished Position paper and have a strong opening speech inorder to prepare for a conference, that is not the case when you do MUN online. New factors come to play when participating in an online MUN conference like camera quality, internet speed, the backgrounds of your messy room… All sorts of new factors now play an important role in your MUN experience.
Here is the checklist you want to cover while taking some of the new MUN preparation factors into play.
CLIMB stands for Camera, Lighting, Internet, Microphone, Background. In this article, we will go through each part of the CLIMB to make sure your hardware is set up and you’re ready for your online MUN.
Your face is your calling card when it comes to online MUN. Proximity and visibility should be taken into account before your conference starts. What you will show through your camera is also connected to Lighting and Background, but the first step is getting a camera that shows a quality picture and good shot of you.
Get a good camera
Many of the cameras built into a laptop will not be of the best quality. However, this should be evaluated on a case by case basis. If your camera isn’t very good you can get an external camera or use your cellphone.
External cameras can be very affordable and usually connect through USB port. The advantage is better quality and flexibility. This is usually the simplest solution.
A cellphone camera is also usually better quality than the camera built into a computer. A tripod is a great tool to increase what you can show.
When using a cellphone it is better to film landscape, otherwise you only fill a third of the screen.
While the cameras are quality there are also some possible limitations. Using a cellphone as a camera can be better by typing while running the video software can be complicated. Make sure to test it out to know if it works for you.
Choosing the frame
Have your face fill the frame as best possible. You will be much smaller on someone else’s screen. The shot you usually want is a medium close up. A medium close-up shot (or MCU) is when the actor is framed from right above their head down to about midway on their shoulders.
Now that your frame has a clear view of your face, it’s time to move on to the next step, lighting!
Lighting is something you never needed to consider when at a MUN conference. So it is natural to overlook lighting when setting up for MUN online. However, low light or unflattering light can make a big difference when it comes to online MUN. Here are a few lighting tips and suggestions to help you look better on camera.
Downlight – When light comes from above you, your eyes end up covered in shadow. If your room’s natural light isn’t flattering, consider the following options to better light up your face.
Options for Front-lighting
- A well-lit room – Light bounces and can make a difference.
- Outdoors (depending on the time of day) – Noon can give you the same issues with light from directly above but other times can give you a really rich light.
- A lamp – Shine a lamp from around the house at your face is often enough to improve the lighting.
- Flashlight – While they can be a bit bright to the eyes and well-placed flashlight can improve the light on your face.
- Cellphone – If your phone is not part of your camera set up, and you have a tripod, turn the phone around and use the flashlight to light yourself up.
- Professional lighting – One of the main advantages of professional lighting is it is made to light up people and is built for adjustment. Pro lighting sometimes even comes with a dimmer. Pro lighting ranges in price and can be inexpensive. If you see yourself using video conference software often it might be worth investing in a good light.
Here are some examples of lights you can use. Remember, these are just examples. There is no rule for what light has to be. As long as it improves the light on your face it’s good in our book!
While a strong internet connection is something we always prefer for online MUN it’s a must. You could miss important information, or others could miss part of your speech. This is why you need to give yourself the best chance to succeed by using the strongest internet connection you have available.
If you know that some places in your house have a stronger internet connection, set yourself up in the area. If you’re concerned that you might have a lag, position yourself to avoid it.
Test it out
If you’re unsure about the quality of your connection, test it. Have a video call with a friend. You can also run a speed test. It’s possible there will be tiny lags or the internet cutting out at various points. There are many variables involved in online MUN and the issue could also be with someone else’s internet or the software. However, a strong connection on your end will be what gives you the best chance at a smooth experience.
Just as with the video camera, the built-in microphone on your laptop or cell phone might not be very good. If it isn’t that great, get yourself an external microphone. The most basic external microphones are inexpensive, don’t need batteries and will take you to another level when it comes to sound.
Test the mic
The first step for any mic, built-in or external, is to test it and make sure you’re familiar with the settings and its relation to your computer. That way you will be ready to go with a clear sound in real time.
Make sure you are close enough to the microphone to clearly catch everything you’re saying. A good microphone can catch further distance. Don’t leave things to chance. It’s better to be a bit too loud then not loud enough.
Take into account what is visible behind you. It could be a messy bed or a poster on the wall that can seriously draw the eye. Sometimes the background can be sufficient but someone could come into the room breaking the attention of the audience.
Most of the time awareness is enough to clear the background of distractions. Look at what you have seen behind you. If it catches your attention it will probably also take the focus of your audience. If your background isn’t what you want to project clean it up or move locations. It’s that simple.
Factor in potential distractions
Doors have the ability to open. If a door is behind you it can open. If it opens you could have a distraction.
Your family can love you a lot but yelling a question to you, or coming into your room (and your frame), could end up being the most memorable moment of you during your online MUN experience.
A few things that can make a difference are:
- Ask whoever is around to not disturb you for the duration of the conference
- Make sure your background is a solid wall, as opposed to an open room
- Mute your microphone unless you are speaking
The following checklist should be helpful to make sure you’re ready for your online MUN.
Now you are ready. You know what you need to look out for and have the means to check it. As with anything of value, practice makes perfect. Now get out there, look good, sound good and go MUN!