Tips for a perfect video conference experience

Cross-location communication and collaboration is more important than ever, and video conferencing is in demand like never before. In order to get the best out of audio and video and to put all participants in the best possible light, it's not just the equipment that's crucial. There are a few factors that should be considered when setting up a conference room to ensure smooth communication. We'll give you tips on how to create the perfect video conferencing environment to conduct effective meetings.

Tips on room design/colour scheme

  • The best suited colors for videoconference rooms are blue, grey or warm beige
  • Patterned backgrounds are not recommended, nor is pure black or white
  • Overall, a low contrast ratio between foreground and background should be aimed for
  • Participants are best dressed in muted colours.
  • Stripes and checks should be avoided due to possible interference.

Tips on Lighting

  • From the front or obliquely from the front
  • If possible do not cast moving shadows on the background
  • With lateral light, only one half of the face may be visible
  • With backlighting, persons are depicted too darkly
  • Soft light is advantageous; achievable by large-area or indirect lighting
  • Diffuse (distributed) light is preferable to spotlights

Tips for the seating arrangement

  • When arranging your seating, make sure that all participants have a good view of the monitors or beamer image
  • When arranging the seating, make sure that all participants can be easily captured by the camera
  • Avoid the impression of non-viewable positions
  • The seating arrangement should be made in such a way that no one blocks his or her neighbour
  • If possible, the microphone should be positioned in a way that all participants are at the same distance from the microphone
  • Parabolic or semi-circular tables serve this purpose excellently
  • External sources of noise should be shielded.

Tips for positioning the video-conference-camera

  • Positioning of the camera at the TV or flat screen
  • The camera should always be placed directly below or above the image of the remote party.
  • In a normal conversation, you look directly at your conversation partner. In a video conference, your conversation partner shares the camera and monitor. You are used to looking at the other party, but the other party's view is the camera. You should always look directly into the camera. This means that camera and monitor should be positioned as close together as possible, i.e. camera on the upper edge of the TV, LCD or plasma.

Positioning of the camera when using a beamer

  • The location should be chosen so that the beamer does not shine into the camera.
  • The following arrangement has proven effective for establishing eye contact: The beamer is back to back with the video conferencing device. This way, the light output of the projector does not interfere with the camera and both partners have eye contact. Of course, with this arrangement, the projector can be mounted in an elevated position (under the ceiling).
  • If the projector is positioned high enough on the ceiling (so that the projector does not does not shine into the camera), the video conference camera can also be placed centrally above or below the beam image (screen).

Tips on video

  • Plenty of light (signal noise is reduced)
  • Bright ceilings and walls
  • Background not too bright, otherwise the people will appear too dark e.g. a grey background prevents coloured reflecting light
  • No patterns in the background (these cause unnecessary data rates and possible interference))
  • Favourable is the same colour for the background and floor
  • Do not wear small patterned clothes
  • Blue allows trick insertions
  • When using MCU, it is recommended to put a sign with the location name in front  yourself.

Tips for audio

  • Low-noise room to suppress reverberation and feedback
  • minimize background noise (remove equipment, close windows to noisy streets, no noisy servers, printers/copiers, check air conditioning or if necessary switch it off, close doors)
  • reflection-free walls and ceilings (textile-covered or rough)
  • anechoic floor (textile floor)
  • In the case of permanently installed sound reinforcement systems, it is recommended use a galvanic isolation with an isolation transformer to avoid hum interference
  • Distance between speaker and microphone should be at least five times the distance from the speaking person to microphone
  • The speaker should be placed in the direction of the microphone's lowest sensitivity (usually behind the microphone). Directional microphones are not recommended because they pick up a lot of background noise
  • For individuals, a headset or tie microphone is always recommended. This ensures a small and constant microphone distance. Feedback is almost impossible.
  • For groups in one location, a sensitive floor-standing microphone (dynamic microphone) to which the speaker approaches, individual tie microphones or handheld microphones that can be passed around are recommended.
  • When using boundary microphones, it is necessary that all persons sit directly seated at the table and avoid bumps at the table from chairs, feet, pens, etc.
  • A slight feedback of the audio signal from the loudspeaker to the microphone can give the interlocutor a sense of the time delay in the transmission: The own speech arrives at the speaker with a delay of 1 to 3 seconds. If this feedback is is too loud, the speaker is hindered in the flow of speech because he constantly interrupts himself. If even the stability limit is exceeded, loud rhythmic whistling occurs.
  • In larger rooms with several workstations, a partition for the video conferencing area can be used to reduce the mutual acoustic interference.
  • Switch off the microphone during longer pauses in speech.

Tips for the operation of video conferencing systems

  • Familiarize yourself with the operation of the video conferencing system before the conference.
  • Determine the most important camera positions and save them. Classic positions are wide shot, the speaker(s) in large format. .
  • Do a test conference with us in advance to see how to control the remote camera.

Tips for conducting effective meetings

  • Before any meeting or event, test the system and your source material.
  • Eye contact occurs when you look toward the camera, not toward the receiving image (LCD, projector, etc.). Make sure the camera is as close as possible to the upper centre area of your video receiving display (LCD, beamer, etc.). This creates the impression of good, intensive eye contact.
  • Speak loudly and clearly. If you speak unclearly and are not understood by the person sitting next to you people on the other end will also have problems understanding.
  • Cameras and video displays like to make everything seem a little more "imposing" . Nervous appearance and small, repetitive gestures are amplified and distracting.
  • No back-and-forth or up-and-down movements, do not "play around" (with pens, pencils, papers, glasses or change in your pocket, etc.).
  • RELAX! It's no different than any other session, except that the participating people are not physically present in the same room.
  • Once you have established a videoconference, the system's electronics conscientiously record all images and words. Snappy remarks, puns and casual remarks, or even disparaging gestures degrading gestures such as eye rolls are reproduced even more clearly at the other end. Assume that you can be seen and heard all the time, even if the camera is not pointing in your direction and you have not been actively addressed, e.g. in multipoint conferences. .
  • Note: This is a video conference, not television. A video conference is designed to be two-way. Television is passive and is broadcast in one direction only, this will be often forgotten in the beginning before getting used to the videoconferencing technology.
  • Offer the participants at the other end the chance to integrate. Provide varied source material and show visually interesting objects that elicit reactions.