Teleconferencing: Lights, Camera, Action!

The technical capabilities to run high-quality teleconferences may be outstripping the skill set necessary to stage them. That's not good in a world where folks are accustomed to, and expect, high-quality video and audio. Information is available on the Internet, but vendors and service providers may be the best source.

 By Carl Weinschenk
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Videoconferencing and telepresence can be very different things. It can be the very expensive immersive presence rooms, the type that Cisco first released half a decade ago. On the other hand, there is the desktop PC and mobile-conferencing environments, which are more practical for the far greater percentage of workers.
There is a great area in the middle. Effectively producing sessions — more sophisticated and functional than the talking head on a PC or tablet, but not nearly as intensive as the half-million dollar setups — in the area described by this primer at Telepresence Options. Writers Howard Lichtman and Bryan Hellard do a good job of telling IT departments how to channel their inner Martin Scorseses and Quentin Tarantinos to mount more effective presentations.
The piece discusses such issues as lighting and camera placements for specific types of rooms. It is a long piece with a good deal of information. The bottom line is that employees are becoming more sophisticated as time goes on, and the era in which amateur-hour presentations were adequate is quickly passing. There are three resources — one from Polycom and two from Cisco — listed at the end of the piece.
There is surprisingly little on the Internet about producing teleconferences and videoconferences. Clearly, the best place to start is with vendors and/or service providers. Of the material that is available, some good information can be found at MLV Design, at Online Schooling and at Tech-FAQ. The bottom line, though, clearly is that the sudden onslaught of technology allowing high-quality conferences on a limited budget means that it is possible to get more out of a meeting. So far, it seems, the best practices haven't been too widely disseminated.
This article was originally published on Jul 12, 2011
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