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Getting The Best From Your Home Office Video Conferencing Equipment

For many of us, the idea of working from, and regularly holding meetings from our home office, snug, garden office or work space in the corner of another room is now part of everyday life with home office video conferencing equipment.

But while we might have become familiar with the concept of communicating digitally, have you really stopped to think whether your team is getting the best from the home office video conferencing camera you provided them and what a low quality output might say about your business?

A poor experience on a video conference could be the equivalent of serving a cold cup of coffee to a client. You wouldn’t do it, so why should anything other than the best video quality be acceptable? Here are some quick and easy steps that you can encourage your video conference users to take, which will improve their video quality.

Use The Best Video Conferencing Equipment for Home Workers

This might feel extremely obvious, but providing the best home office video conferencing equipment is the first thing you should think about when considering how to get the best from any video conference equipment in the home office.

We’re not talking about the high quality meeting room cameras such as the JPL Agora, however providing your teams with something a little more substantial than a £10 webcam will bring immediate benefits through better image sensors and lenses.

There are also other advantages to using the best home office video conference cameras. Take the JPL Vision Access camera as an example, which also features facial recognition to allow users to log in with their face, improving digital security.

Consider Your Camera Position Carefully

It might seem arbitrary, but something as simple as the position of a video camera can have a significant impact on call engagement.

Place the Camera Near Your Call Window

There’s nothing worse than looking at the side of someone’s head when you’re trying to have a meeting with them and discuss a potentially important topic. This is normally the result of a user’s camera being in a different position to the computer monitor that they’re using to view a call on, it’s pretty difficult to look at other call participants on one screen, while focussing on talking to the camera.

It’s important to place your USB webcam or video conference camera as close as possible to the monitor that you’re going to use to view your call, this means that the end user can maintain much better eye contact with other participants.

There’s no replacement for being in the same room with other people, but it’s still a great way to build better relationships and understanding.

Don’t Look Down, or Up For That Matter

While positioning your camera close to the monitor used to display the video call is important, it’s also worth considering the vertical positioning of the camera. Unfortunately we’re a few years away from a screen integrated camera and short of using an autocue type system, you’re going to have to look above or below the screen to look at the camera.

Place your camera at eye level, many external web cameras have an adjustable foot, allowing the camera to be attached to the top of a monitor which is normally a good place. What you’re trying to avoid is a strong look up or down which can be distracting for the other call participants.

Your Background Speaks Volumes

It’s inevitable, people you speak to virtually aren’t just going to concentrate on you during your conversation. Humans are natural voyeurs, and any opportunity to see into a space you may otherwise not see will be an interesting experience.

A woman and a man taking part in a video call

This includes the inside of your home during a video call. Of course, we might not all have a perfect home office space from which to work, but taking some time to think about what’s in the background of your video call can have a big effect on others’ perception of you.

Ask yourself what others might think about the objects in your background. If you’re working from the kitchen for example, do those dirty dishes on the side give a great impression? Or what about those clothes drying on the airer, do colleagues want to see your washing?

But what does a good background look like? You really have two options here, firstly, have a good tidy up and make sure there’s nothing untoward left out. The other option is to use one of the dynamic background tools available in most video conferencing platforms, which use AI to place an image behind you during a call. It’s worth noting though, that even these tools work best against a plain background with high contrast.

Know Your Settings And Adjust Them

Plug & Play technology is amazing, there’s no two-ways about it and this feature is incredibly useful for USB webcams, allowing users to just plug in and get working. However this automatic connection, while useful, should not replace a user understanding how to set up and use their equipment properly.

Many home office video conferencing cameras come with automatic exposure and white balance which adjust the image brightness and colour to try and make you look as normal as possible, even when light conditions aren’t the best.

But some won’t and even the automatic adjustments aren’t always the best, knowing how to access the settings that control settings like exposure and brightness mean that you can make your home office web camera give you the best quality output.

Only Jelly Should Wobble

When setting up an external video conferencing camera in the home office, mounting options can often be limited. If you can’t quite get the camera where you want it, there’s a temptation to use some less orthodox camera stands, such as piles of books, or another intricate balance of office items.

While this might give you the camera position you’re looking for, you might also inadvertently introduce instability to your video conference image, providing a distraction for others on a call with you.

Home office video conferencing cameras and other devices often have built-in mounting options to help users avoid temporary mounting options, so make the most of them and make sure your set up is fit for purpose.

Take the JPL Vision Mini+ for example, with a built-in monitor mount, this camera can also be desk mounted or mounted on a tripod. So there’s really no excuse for having a webcam with more wobble than a jelly at a birthday party.

Lighting Matters More Than You Think

We’ve spoken already about exposure, camera position and the background of your home office video conferencing solution but there’s a theme that runs through all of these things, lighting.

From natural light via a window to the warm glow from your monitors and the artificial light given from a lamp or room light, all of these lighting sources can help or hinder you in getting the best from your home office video conference equipment.

Perhaps the most important aspect of lighting to consider is to avoid any lighting which is directly behind the user. Known as “backlight” this makes it more difficult for a video camera to pick out details of the person in shot due to the contrast created by the light.

To really get the best picture from your camera, try to place a white light in front of the caller, this gives the image sensor in any webcam or video conference camera the best chance of capturing a clear image.

Home Office Video Conference Equipment From JPL

If you’re looking to provide your teams with the best home office video conferencing equipment, look no further than JPL. Speak to our team to find out more about how JPL can support you in setting up your 4K USB camera solutions.

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