This week I did some upgrades to my home office. I added a second screen, purchased some lights and did a big investment in a green screen. This adds some useful tools for me, so I can not only do my job better, but also start working on some video content for the website. The green screen require some commitment as it is not something you throw up in a hurry for a video call, but it is pretty great for what I plan for the future. So let us dive into it.
A second screen
Adding a second screen to my setup was not really planned. Previously I had my MacBook on the side and the plan was to use it for quick calls. It worked fairly well, but since I already have a camera setup that is a lot better than the camera on the MacBook, it was kind of redundant. So I just got an idea to try out having a second screen when I was browsing for some additional lights to add to the camera setup. I stumbled upon a portable external screen that looked pretty cool and since I had a screen standing in the closet I figured I would just see if it worked y removing the laptop tray and place a VESA mount instead.
As it were, it turned out great, and it did not take very long to plugin. It's still a mess with cables, but I'll fix that later!
The benefits with having a second screen are many, but for me, I now have a very good way to have the overview I need for when I hold my training sessions. I installed a little program that give me a clock that I can place above content and when I use Teams I can move the overview and the chat to the secondary screen. I can also put my notes there instead of writing them down on paper, or use my iPad. This give me a far better overview of what I am doing, and I can see if someone raises their hands or write in the chat.
When I eventually will make more video content I can also see what the recording, or streaming looks like.
When I do not hold lectures or do video content, it is a great place to have things like my Teams and Email, so I always see if someone need me. I am also testing out Tasks, which was actually much better than I thought, since I can very easily switch between accounts. I also see it inside Outlook in the task bar, which is great. Anything I flag in emails, I can also sync with Tasks which is awesome. The only downside is that Outlook does not work with private accounts, but I can live with that.
Overall, I am super happy with the second screen.
Bright light, but not enough
My home office is dark, very dark. So in order to get some light for video, I bought an Elgato Key Light. It is indeed extremely bright, and it works great for training sessions in Teams and things like that. When I pull up the green screen, however, things are still too dark for the green screen to work properly. I can still make it work by doing some tweaks in OBS, but I will probably add more light sources eventually to increase the light in the room. It will also help prevent sunburn from the super bright Elgato Key Light.
I could have bought the Elgato Key Light Air, which was almost half price, but I don't have a lot of space on the desk, so I decided to pay some extra for that reason. The Elgato Key Lights come with an app to control the lights, which is nice.
Elgato Green Screen
The Elgato Green Screen is pretty awesome, as I can easily pull it out and put it back in seconds. No need to use clips or mounts, just pull up and shoot, then pull down and stash away. It was not cheap, but the investment feels motivated since my home office is in the bedroom and I will save on time and comfort instead.
It is a bit tricky to set up since space is very limited, and I need to have it at an angle since the camera is also at an angle and I have a wall in that direction. I am considering if I should switch sides on the setup, since that would remove the need to put the green screen at an angle. Probably will test that when I get the new desk top.
I already have my YouTube Channel ready, so it is just a matter of using it properly. I have made some tests and so far things look pretty good for what I plan to do later. I have several ideas on what I want to do, and I will start out with a Jira and Confluence series on how to set up Jira and Confluence. Furthermore, I also plan a few videos for Invision Community on how you can use Pages and how things work in terms of code and so on. Finally, I wonder if I want to add sort of a rant/opinion where I talk about different topics, like the communication failures of Atlassian and Invision Community this week.
We'll see what I come up with, but I will start with Atlassian guides for Jira and Confluence. I do not aim to be a big YouTuber so I'll just try to have fun with it.