When it comes to video conferencing, there can be a lot of variables to balance and problems to navigate. From slow or nonexistent data connections to hardware issues and quirks or problems with the software, knowing when to troubleshoot and when to reschedule can be a hassle. One area that requires a little fine-tuning when it comes to hosting or participating in a teleconference is your camera. Whether it has a built in microphone, is state of the art or an off-the-shelf last minute decision, there are a few best practices you can use to follow conferencing etiquette and get the best image possible.
Hardware and What’s Important
When setting up a video conferencing workstation, no matter how big or small your eventual station will be, hardware should be a primary focus. It’s common sense to get the best hardware your budget will allow for, but just getting the most expensive technology on the market might not provide the features that you need to create a good picture. When choosing a video conferencing camera, you have to focus on a few areas that really matter to create the best possible image.
The standard of a good video conferencing camera before software and other technological advances was always the high definition quality and that benchmark hasn’t changed even as other technology has moved forward. You should look for a high definition video camera because this will create a clear picture that allows for a variety of display sizes without a loss in contrast, which can render you grainy or out of focus. Especially when the point of your conference will be replacing a face-to-face meeting for any reason, focusing on high definition camera options is your best bet.
Optical Versus Digital Zoom
Cameras today come with a variety of features and the choice between optical and digital zoom can be a little misleading. While both offerings will technically allow you to focus more closely on a face or area of a presentation, digital zoom is done using software which crops out the edges of the image and enlarges what remains. In the strictest sense, this isn’t zoom at all and no different than using editing software to the same effect. The results mean losing fine detail and focus. Optical zoom, on the other hand, uses hardware built into the camera to magnify the image as its captured, maintaining clarity and is therefore highly preferable when choosing a video camera for conferencing.
Consider what accessories you need for your system so that your camera can be positioned, installed and function with existing hardware in the way you need it to. If the camera you are considering doesn’t offer the right accessories for your needs, look elsewhere. The time and energy that would need to be spent rearranging the rest of your existing structure around a camera that won’t have the accessories you need to make it work seamlessly isn’t worth saving a few dollars or getting one shipped next-day during a sale. Make sure you carefully consider your setup so you don’t leave out or forget about the need for something specific when you make your purchase. It’s also an excellent idea to purchase all accessories when purchasing your camera, just in case.
Knowing How to Adjust Your Camera
There are a lot of ways to adjust your camera to ensure a good picture, but some of the best adjustments you can make are also the easiest to accomplish. Make sure you check your focus and the position of your camera either manually or using features like Picture in Picture options within your conference software. You want to be situated far enough away from the camera that your full face is in focus, not so far away your expressions become indistinct and not so close that only a portion of your face is in the picture.
Use the optical zoom settings that were discussed in hardware features above. You should be panned out far enough that there’s some space above your head and below your chin. If you purchased a good high definition camera, you may be able to zoom out enough to include even more image than that.
Lighting is also important to your image so make sure to check for glare or bright windows behind you that can create a halo effect or cause the camera to lose focus due to brightness. You want the light to be indirect to avoid picture washout as well.
The hardware you choose and the adjustments you make when planning to participate in a video conference are going to make or break your ability to participate and be clear and in focus throughout. Don’t forget to check and double-check your settings before the conference is in session and perform video and audio tests to ensure you have everything set up right. Owning the best Blue jeans camera for video conferencing and the right accessories will set you up for a successful connection every time.