Videoconferencing Meetings

How to Videoconference a Meeting

Basic Requirements

You need two things to videoconference a meeting and post a video later:

  1. A teleconferencing utility, and
  2. A desktop video recorder utility.

Video quality key issues include, but are not limited to

Audio quality key issues include, but are not limited to

Teleconferencing Utilities

There are a lot of utilities out there, many of them free. A few of the free ones are

Desktop Video Recorders

Test More Than One of Each Before You Go Live

If you have one of each of these on your computer, try out at least two and see if you are comfortable with using them. If you feel that you need more capability or a simpler utility, try the others. Do a web search yourself to find others so that you aren't limited by the above examples.

Hosting a Videoconference

Your Device

You can use a computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, etc.), laptop or notebook, tablet, or a smartphone. The principal requirements are that you have

  1. A good Internet connection that supports video streaming data rates,
  2. A webcam and microphone, and
  3. A screen that has enough resolution for you to be able to see the videoconference main screen, the thumbnails of the attendees, and the controls for the host of the videoconference.

Note that the host device does not have to be operated by the presenter or the host of the meeting. A third party can operate the videoconferencing utility, and he/she can host the meeting from a computer separate from that of the presenter, freeing up the presenter for full focus on the meeting itself, full-figure images of the presenter, etc.

Hosting is best done on a real computer with a decent screen, because most videoconferencing software shows the attendees as thumbnails at the bottom or side of your screen.

Camera and Microphone

Of course, you will need a webcam. Phones, tablets and laptops nearly always come with a webcam, and many computers also have an included webcam. Under Widows 10, check Settings -> Privacy -> Camera to see what you have installed, and to make sure that it connects to your videoconferencing software. It should be capable of HD video at 30 frames per second.

If your computer does not have a suitable webcam, Logitech and others offer inexpensive USB webcams (as little as $25 on Amazon or at Staples, Best Buy, etc.) that come with software that lets you zoom and focus the webcam.

Many computers with webcams, nearly all laptops, and all tablets and phones have microphones. But, echo and feedback can be a problem with web based teleconferencing. This is best handled by using a headset for both speaker and microphone during teleconferencing.

Lighting and Echoes

Initial attempts often have difficulties such as echoes and shadowed faces. Tips:

Test to make sure that you like what your attendees see

You will need to make sure that your face is well lit to look good on the screen.  Good sound without echoes from your speaker will most likely require a headset, or a clip-on-the-lapel microphone and discreet Bluetooth earbuds for the hosting job (i.e., you).

To view a live videoconference, an attendee doesn't need either a camera or a microphone.

A Desktop Video Recorder

If you record a video of the conference, then you can post it where you like — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your web page, wherever. Try out more than one option to make sure that you are getting what you are comfortable with using.

If you don't have a desktop video recorder installed or you need something better, you will need a third-party application such as the free, popular, multiplatform (Windows, Mac, Linux) VideoLan Video Player.  This YouTube video shows how to use the VLC player to record your video conference:

 

Consumer Reports

From users, I have this feedback; your mileage may vary:

Videoconference Etiquette From Reader's Digest

Online Reader's Digest article HERE makes these points:

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Last updated Thursday, April 16, 2020