You’ve invested in top-notch videoconference equipment and identified a conference room to set it all up. Now to create the best possible user experience for conference participants, follow these simple tips to achieve professional-quality videoconference results:
1. Room selection
Choose a meeting space with minimal reflective surfaces, especially exterior windows and other large glass surfaces. A room with a simple background and neutral color on the walls is ideal.
Avoid visual clutter in the camera’s line of sight as much as possible, including unnecessary furniture, cords, busy artwork, framed prints with reflective glass, moving objects (like curtains in a draft), and people traffic as all of these can be distracting to colleagues on the far end of the call.
2. Camera placement
The camera should be placed on a solid, stable surface in a location where it won’t be knocked over or damaged. With videoconference solutions like the ConferenceCam CC3000e, the camera offers the flexibility to be permanently mounted on a wall with up to a 32-foot range between camera and speaker or mounted on a conventional camera tripod.
To promote natural eye contact, center the camera to the table on the wall with the video display whenever possible. Position the lens at eye level for a natural view of seated meeting participants. Try to mount the camera first at the right level then mount the display. If necessary you can mount the camera above or below the display, but try to avoid sharp viewing angles.
Be mindful of the camera’s field of view (FOV): people seated too close to the camera may be partially or not visible during the videoconference. To maximize FOV, consider pointing the camera lens at a slightly downward angle. Keep in mind that the camera will show everything in its FOV, including whatever is in the background behind the meeting participants (think whiteboard content).
3. Speaker placement
For an optimal audio experience, position the speakerphone in the middle of the table where all participants can hear and be heard equally. With the ConferenceCam CC3000e, omni-directional mics and full-duplex performance enable conferees to clearly converse from a 20-foot diameter around the base.
Be mindful of anything that might block or interfere with the mic/audio path, like a laptop or other obstructions on the conference table. In addition, meeting participants should minimize distracting noises such as tapping the table, opening soda cans, or shuffling papers.
Noise absorbing materials in the room are better than noise reflecting materials, think carpet instead of floor tile. This will help with reverberation or echo during the meeting.
An evenly lit meeting space helps the camera capture the most accurate color, contrast and video definition. Fortunately, the diffused fluorescent fixtures common in many office spaces work well for this purpose.
Bright sunlight should be avoided as it creates sharp contrasts that are particularly challenging to render. Similarly, harsh lighting (like directional spotlights) shouldn’t be pointed directly at the camera lens. Keep in mind that any strong light source behind meeting participants tends to produce undesirable silhouettes.
Arrange chairs in semi-circle or V shape in front of the camera so that meeting participants on the far end of the videoconference can easily see and interact with everyone in the room and no ones line of sight to the camera is being blocked. If only a few people are participating in the meeting, consider sitting in close proximity with the camera lens zoomed in to maximize face-to-face interaction.
Videoconference-based collaboration is enhanced by a combination of high-quality equipment and a simple set of best practices. Attention to the details of variables like camera placement and seating arrangement help maximize the potential of all your meetings.
What are your tips for setting up a successful videoconference?