Video Conferencing Tips and Tricks

HD Video Conferencing can be frustratingHD Video Conferencing over the last 4  to 5 years has come a long way. It is a complex technology that is becoming easier and more convenient to use. However, sometimes things don’t always go as planned.    You installed your video conferencing system and it works one time and not the next.  Has that ever happened to you?  You stand by scratching your head, looking at the clock, as your meeting is quickly approaching. What now?  Go to the trouble shoot page in your product guide? But where did you put it?   Now your faced with all kinds of  problems and times-a- tickin.  Hopefully some of the tips in the following articles will help.

Here is a great article on some mic problems and lighting tips.

How to Handle Video Conference Hang-Ups

We dissect extraneous noise and problems (and solutions) associated with teleconferencing picture and microphones.

By Fred Harding

Videoconferencing is a term that has different meanings for different people. Technically, a speakerphone on a conference table so that one group can communicate to another group or individual is teleconferencing.January 02, 2012

But the goal of every  video conferencing project is the same: ensure maximum intelligibility of the message. There are several potential roadblocks to that goal.

Extraneous Noise

One of the roadblocks toward intelligibility is noise at one or both ends of the teleconference. Noise can be introduced environmentally (think road noise, air handling noise and sound masking tones), electronically through poor installation practices or by the medium the video conference deploys.

Environmental noise is often addressed by the manufacturer of the equipment. Typical solutions include echo cancellation technology designed to remove that all-too-familiar tin can sound. A simple solution that will aid that technology is to try and isolate the microphones from the tabletop; a simple speakerphone placed on a neoprene rubber mat will sound better, with less hollow artifacts, than one placed on a typical hard-surfaced conference table.

If you are lucky enough to be able to assist in the design of the video conference facility, adding curtains to the room will also cut down the echoing sound that distracts the message.

Picture Problems

HD Video Conferencing adds additional complexity to the situation. Controlling the lighting in the facility is the first step you can take to make a better image. Pay attention to outside windows and make sure that you can shade those; back-lighting situations will render the speaker as either a silhouette or enshrouded with bright light around them. Flattering lighting that is uniform, coming from above, is balanced for more warmth in terms of color temperature, will deliver a more satisfactory image.

Studio lighting for photography often falls in the 3,300 to 3,500 degrees Kelvin spectrum.

Microphone Problems

Fuller-featured systems may include boundary-effect style of microphones on the tabletop that return to an automatic mixer. In cases like that, poor-quality microphone termination can introduce hum and noise issues. As with most electronic devices, noise problems are cumulative.

Don’t assume that one step will remove all the problems. Be aware that you may have multiple ground reference points on a system, causing 60-cycle hum to appear. Make sure that grounding connections are made to metal, not paint, and that the building wiring is attached to the same ground as the incoming voice or data signal. Don’t assume that it’s the telephone company’s fault if you have noise artifacts, as your client may be using cable as the Internet feed. Hum and noise issues can also be introduced through the type of connection you are deploying to support the video conference. VoIP technology allows users to connect to distant parties at a fraction of the cost of traditional copper wiring telephone installations. Be aware, however, that network speed issues can dramatically impact this type of call, rendering the receiving end of the call a clipped, garbled and distorted mess.

Different systems will have different speed requirements for consistent operation; a voice-only system will work well with a 1.5-MHz download speed that a typical DSL system might offer. A video conferencing system might require anywhere between 3 and 6 MHz to appropriately deliver the audio and video quality that you want to achieve.

Bonus Tip

A system should always be tested before it goes into use. Make sure you understand how the system works and operates. Get the proper training. You’ll be a lot happier.

Original article by Fred Harding at | January 02, 2012

If you are having any problems with your LifeSize HD Video Conferencing system, we can help.  Face to Face Live has technical experts on staff to assist you with set-up, troubleshooting, and system design.