Using Practice Session for a Zoom Webinar

Zoom webinars have become very popular this year and I have helped run many of them along with virtual conferences. One of the things I find useful is the practise (UK spelling) session, it allows me to get all the panelists there, chat through what is happening, check their cameras and microphones and if they need to share their screen make sure they know how to do that. Obviously we don’t want the audience to see that, if I started the webinar normally then if someone joins early they would be able to see and hear what is going on. With practise session on they won’t be able to see or hear us until we start the webinar.

In this video I show you how to set it up and also some advice on getting the best result.

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How to Get Even Wider Angle Photos on Your iPhone

iPhones are pretty good for getting wide-angle photos and some like the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro have an extra lens that gives an extra wide view. However, there are times where you want to get even wider, useful for landscapes or those group shots.

The défault setting for photos on the iPhone is 4:3, that is the ratio that gives the photo its shape, this has been popular for decades. It is known as the aspect ratio. The 4 by 3 means that for every 4 pixels across there are 3 pixels down, so if you have a picture 4 inches across it will be 3 inches down, or centimetres. Whatever measurement you like really.

Because of Instagram square pictures have become popular and the aspect ratio is 1 by 1.

To get your photos to be wider you want wide screen, I’m sure you have heard of it and that is 16 by 9, and that is what I’m going to show you how to do in in the video below.

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How to Get Better Quality Zoom Recordings

Zoom is used a lot now for meetings and webinars and I’m sure like many you record them to edit and add to your website, YouTube, Vimeo or other social media platform. The quality of the recordings are ok and they can be a bit awkward to edit. However, you can get better quality and a video file that is easier to edit.

If you have tried to edit one of these files you might have noticed you press play to check it on the timeline to find the right point to edit and there is a delay and the same applies when you pause it. Like me you probably have missed the point you want to stop at. That’s because the video is very compressed and your editor has to uncompress it and it has a lot to do. The less compressed the fast it can be edited. Problem is the file size is bigger.

You will also find the quality is better is you choose to have a file that is easier to edit.

Here are my three tips for better quality Zoom recordings.

  1. Record to your computer, that makes it local file.
  2. Optimize for 3rd party editing software.
  3. Turn the HD option on for your camera. Oh, one other thing maybe use a camera better than the built-in webcam, your iPhone or Android is a good option, here’s how you connect your iPhone
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Using WhatsApp on an iPhone with Dual SIM

One of the things I hadn’t taken into account when I got my iPhone was how would WhatsApp work with two SIM cards in the same iPhone. I was so pleased to be able to take one phone with me and have both my personal and business numbers with me. It can be annoying to have two phones with you.

However, when I went to WhatsApp it was working with just the one number, it was my personal number, I could have switched it to my business one but left it as it was. I looked for options which included other apps but was not sure of how secure they were. There was also the web version, although it worked it was a bit impractical.

Thankfully along came WhatsApp Business. So now I have two apps, the regular WhatsApp and the business version. This works so much better for me. It was easy to set up too. You more or less enter your number and then verify it in the same way as how you would when first setting it up.

Search for it on the App Store. I’m sure there must be an Android version too.

Here’s a video to show you what I did.

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Using Your iPhone When on a FaceTime Call

One of the things about FaceTime, if you are doing a video call, is that if you want to do something else like look something up, check an email or any of a whole multitude of things you can do on an iPhone or iPad whilst staying on the call and seeing the person you are talking to, well you wouldn’t be able to see them. And they would see the message “paused” on the screen whilst you were doing something else. This only paused the camera, but if you were seeing the message you would be forgiven for thinking something had happened and that maybe you weren’t there. If you have done this you’ve probably heard them ask if you are still there.

iOS 14 has resolved that so you can still see who you are talking to as a little video in the corner known as picture-in-picture. They also don’t see the “paused” message, no more hearing them saying “are you there?. So a win for both of you.

You can move the picture around on the screen, useful if you are doing something else and it is in the way.

To see how it works check out my video below and happy FaceTiming

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How to Use Consolidate Data in Microsoft Excel

If you have data spread out over multiple workbooks or worksheets you might want to have them all in one place on one sheet. Rather than having to copy and paste you can do this using the Excel feature Consolidate Data. This is a great feature and also allows you to link to the original data so that if it updates it updates in the new place too.

Here I show you how easy it is to do this and includes linking and not linking the data.

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How to Use Excel Flash-fill

Excel has many wonderful features but this is one of my favourites. Its called Flash-fill. It might be easier to watch the video but will try and explain it.

If you have a list of data and need to say split the data or fix the formatting of it then you can teach Flash-fill to sense a pattern and then when it fills the data in another column or row it makes the appropriate adjustments. Lets say you have some data that has a mix of lowercase and uppercase and you want them all to be uppercase or even proper case well you can easily get Excel’s Flash-fill to do that, no need for functions.

The other example I use here is some names that are entered into one column, some are hyphenated and some not, rather than using some functions I quickly use Flash-fill to sense the pattern, you’ll see how quick it is.

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How to Remove Duplicates in an Excel List

If you have created lists in Excel you might have thought to check if it has any duplicates. It could be data you’ve imported or data that has been entered. Perhaps you have shared the spreadsheet and you want to make sure that there aren’t any and remove them if there are.

Excel has a useful feature called remove duplicates that does just that. It will tell you how many duplicates there are and you can then choose to remove them.

Like many of Excel’s tools this one is powerful and easy to use. In this video I show you how to use it.

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Using Your Apple Watch to Take Photos with Your iPhone

Why not go one step further than taking a selfie with your iPhone and Apple Watch. Since you can use the Apple Watch as a remote control for your iPhone camera why hold your iPhone at arms length when you can prop your camera up and use your watch to preview the shot, zoom in and out and then either take the photo or use the three second timer so you can get a better pose.

Here’s a video I made to show you how it works. Below the video I have listed the items I used in the video.

Sirui professional mini tripod:
SMALLRIG Smartphone Tripod Mount holder Clamp,Tripod Phone Adapter:
Apple Watch – Series 6:
iPhone 12:

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Improve Your Recordings or Your Zoom, Skype and MS Teams Calls Using a Ring Light

This is a common problem when filming yourself and that is getting the lighting right. It doesn’t just apply to filming if you are on a video call, like Zoom, Skype or MS Teams, then you know how often people you are calling or even yourself are trying to get the light just right. Thankfully there is a really easy and cost effective solution.

A ring light. These have been very popular with people making those makeup vlogs. The one I have in the video below showing you how it works has a holder for a smartphone and a stand so you can adjust the height and angle. You can also choose to use it in landscape or portrait.

You can also adjust the light, you can choose to have a warm or cool light. Warm is usually more flattering but you will work out which one is best for yourself. You can also adjust the brightness. It really is very simple and it just plugs into a USB power adaptor or your computer USB.

Now when you see these online they show it being used with the smartphone holder but you can just use it as a light with any camera or even your webcam.

Here is the video and below the video are links to the items I used in the video.

LED Ring Light with Tripod Stand, 10 inch Dimmable Ring Light, 3 Color Modes and 10 Brightness, USB Powered, Heighten Hose, Phone Holder for Live Streaming, Makeup, Camera, Selfie:

Microphone kit for iPhone,Lavalier Lapel Microphone Speaker Omnidirectional Audio Video Recording:

Related videos:
Connecting a Wireless Mic to an iPhone or iPad:

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