4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Zoom Video Conferencing
Zoom Video Communications is the best video conferencing software, but it is only a piece of the entire video conferencing experience. To make participants feel as if they are meeting face-to-face, the entire experience has to be seamless.
To make your conversations with others come to life, you’ll need the right hardware and, perhaps, a small change in the way you use your computer. If you use a tablet or mobile phone, you may not have as much flexibility in hardware choices as with desktop computers, but there are still things you can do to optimize your experience. Let’s have a look at the elements necessary for a great video meeting experience:
1. Image quality is largely dictated by the webcam.
We’re not asking you to drop $200 on the most expensive webcam you can find. There are many webcams that can provide the professional video quality that makes Zoom’s high-definition and high-quality video quality really shine. For this, a camera with 720p (1280×720) resolution will suffice. To avoid choppy video, get one that can deliver at least 20 frames per second under this resolution. If you’re willing to spend the money, get one that shoots up to 30 frames per second.
To counter sudden movements and lighting changes, get a camera that has highly-reactive auto-focus and lighting-correction capabilities. It can be embarrassing to have to manually set the focus of your camera while participants are watching your fingers fiddle around the lens.
2. Other software will compete for resources.
During a meeting, other applications have a way of intruding and asking for attention from your CPU or broadband connection. While downloading information through a broadband connection, the application doing the downloading is competing with Zoom. The same occurs when you use CPU-intensive applications: they steal precious ticks from your processor.
When streaming 30 frames per second, your camera is taking 30 pictures of you each and every second, then sending them to the processor with instructions to forward the images through Zoom. Zoom uses your processor to send the images to your network card, which transmits the data to its destination. This process requires the energy of your CPU. To engage in the smoothest possible meetings, close any applications you don’t need to use for the meeting itself. It’s that simple.
3. Microphones change everything.
The kind of microphone you use will affect the other participants’ ability to hear you. Preferably, you should use a headset or clip-on microphone, rather than the camera’s built-in microphone, because you don’t always stay close to the camera’s microphone. Pick something you can keep close to you if you want people to hear you properly.
You should pick a microphone with an ample frequency range. If you’re buying a professional studio-quality microphone, get something with a low impedance. 600 ohms (Ω) or below is best, since it compensates for long cables without compromising on audio quality. Be sure to ask if the microphones are at all susceptible to radio frequency interference (RFI). You don’t want a nearby cell phone to create deafening noises during your meetings!
To set up a standing microphone properly, point it away from any speakers. Headset microphones should sit an inch or so away from your face and a few centimeters away from the corner of your lips. Clip-on microphones should sit at the upper side of the chest. For reference, think about the level where shirt pockets are usually stitched. For best results with mobile phones, use a Bluetooth microphone, a wired headset, or a clip-on microphone that has noise-cancelling features and a wide pick-up frequency range.
4. Which hardware to choose?
We recommend visiting our partners site: zoom.us/partners/technology. This site has links to various companies whose products – cameras, speakers/microphones, and more – work perfectly with Zoom.
Zoom has quality written all over it, but your meeting experience ultimately depends on the quality of your hardware and the available resources on your device. To make meetings come to life, you should have an adequate camera with a good frame rate and resolution, enough free bandwidth and resources to carry the camera signal across the internet, and a microphone that flatters your voice.
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