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How to Secure the Best Quality from any Videoconferencing System by Draper

How to Secure the Best Quality from any Videoconferencing System by Draper

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Five ways even the best technology can fail to deliver clear
communications – and what to do about it. - A whitepaper from Don Kreski and Draper Industries
Five ways even the best technology can fail to deliver clear
communications – and what to do about it. - A whitepaper from Don Kreski and Draper Industries

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Published by: Telepresence Options on Jul 07, 2014
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09/22/2014

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Video conferencing has become an essential technology for many organizations. A good video connection can closely simulate a face-to-face conversation, providing the facial and body lan-guage cues that are crucial to sensitive communications. Organizations who use video conferencing regular-ly find their workgroups are more productive and their decision-making faster and more reliable.  That being said, many users wish the quality of their video calls was higher. Common complaints include an inability to see people clearly at far-end sites, an inability to establish eye contact and, for many, trouble focusing on the business at hand because they are self-conscious about how they look on video.  The move to high definition technology has helped, but even those using full 1080p connections have found that, with a mediocre room setup, communications are only poor to fair. There are at least five questions about the video conferencing room that owners must answer to get the best results from the systems they buy. How can we recognize and avoid setup problems that lead to image degradation, including silhouetting, poor color and lack of sharpness?Can we provide a more professional room environment that minimizes distractions?How do we ensure that image quality is high enough to read facial expressions?Can we help users feel more confident about their appearance on video?How can we improve eye contact and with it the emotional factors that affect team dynamics?
This paper will provide answers by looking at how movement, clutter and color can affect video quality; how lighting affects color and the ability to see facial expres-sions; how windows can affect color and the camera’s iris; methods of providing
clear identication of meeting partici
-pants; and factors affecting visibility and eye contact.
By Don Kreski
Kreski Marketing Consultants, Inc.
How To Secure The Best Image Quality From Any Video Conferencing System
Five ways even the best technology can fail to deliver clear communications – and what to do about it
Form: VCWP13
© 2013, Draper, Inc.
 
1. The physical environment: How movement, clutter and color can affect video quality
 The most common problem in corporate and home office video setups is clutter. Not only is it unprofessional to show a credenza stacked with coffee cups and paperwork, but shiny objects can throw off a camera’s iris, darkening the faces of people in the shot. Movement in the background can cause more serious prob-lems. The compression algorithms used in HD video confer-encing systems work by capturing repetitive information and transmitting it just once. If the area behind the people on camera is always exactly the same, then the system can cap-ture it, reuse it as it redraws each frame, and focus its process-ing power on the image of the people. If the image area includes a clock with a moving pendulum or a doorway opening into a busy work area, the system will have to capture, compress and transmit that changing back-ground for every frame. The quality of the entire image will deteriorate.Background color can be an issue as well, affecting how people perceive each other and, in extreme cases, the cam-era’s white balance. System manufacturers and most design consultants recommend painting the room a light to medium gray, beige or brown.In a perfect world organizations would dedicate a room strict-ly to video conferencing and carefully control any factor that might affect the image. Most, however, must use their con-ference rooms, classrooms and offices for multiple purposes.
Solutions
One approach to creating a simple, static, neutral background in a multipurpose room is to paint walls a beige or gray, avoid bookshelves and artwork, close doors and keep office and conference areas scrupulously clean. Another is to put a temporary, neutral fabric backdrop be-hind meeting participants hiding any clutter or movement, thereby creating a dedicated video environment on a tem-porary basis. That approach can be easier, especially in home or executive offices where people want to decorate without worrying how souvenirs and artwork will look on video.  That solution seems obvious, but until recently there have been few, if any, commercially-produced backgrounds de-signed for this purpose.
How To Secure The Best Image Quality From Any Video Conferencing System
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Draper, Inc., has addressed the problem with a line of plain and custom-printed backgrounds that can be set up and taken down very quickly. Draper motorized backgrounds are available in single or dual-fabric wall and ceiling mounts, with the dual-fabric versions giving users a choice of backgrounds for different purposes.For example, an executive office might be equipped with a ceiling-mounted motorized background with neutral Tundra and chroma-key green fabrics. Push one button and the office is ready for a video conference; push another and it becomes a temporary production studio. With the chroma key back-ground, the CEO can appear to be in front of headquarters, at a client site, or perhaps in front of a cityscape while address-ing the company in a video.For a smaller office, cubicle or at home, Draper offers a bot-tom-up portable mechanism, the VCB Traveller, outfitted with a neutral or printed background. A user can place it on the floor behind his or her chair, pull up the fabric and lock it into place. One caution is to measure the pickup area of the camera or webcam carefully. Many Draper customers use an 84” wide background at home.
2. Lighting: The key to good color and clear facial expressions
 The color and direction of room lights are also crucial to the quality of the images shot for a video conference. You want bright, soft lighting that illuminates people evenly and allows the camera to pick up gestures and facial expressions.Most rooms used for video conferences are equipped with fluorescent ceiling fixtures set up according to guidelines meant for office installations. The brightness levels are good, but since standard fixtures throw most of their light straight down, there will be shadows in peoples’ eye sockets and be-low their noses and chins. Meeting participants with promi-nent features will not look good, and it may be difficult to see their eyes and read their expressions. Color conflicts are common in multipurpose rooms, especially if the lighting designer mixes fluorescent with LED, incan-descent or metal halide recessed or accent lighting. Each of these types of lamp produces a different color temperature.  The eye and the brain will compensate for these differences, but the camera cannot. The image shown on the far-end dis-play can be quite unattractive, often with a pink or greenish tint or both pink and green in the same shot.
How To Secure The Best Image Quality From Any Video Conferencing System
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