Video Conferencing Checklist - HuddleCamHD Blog

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Download the checklist Video Conferencing Checklist

Improve your video conferencing experience. Don’t worry about “video jitter” or “packet loss” ever again with our detailed checklist for improving your video conferencing experience.

  • Tips for mobile users
  • Tips for recording
  • Tips for hosting meetings
  • Best Practices
  • And much more…
  • Understanding the best practices for connecting to a video conferencing make all the difference in the world when it comes to hosting high quality video meetings.
    http://huddlecamhd.com/landing/bandwidth-checklist.html

Video conferencing checklist Webinar Transcript

First of all, this whole checklist that we’re going over is available at huddlecamhd.com. We have the link in the description here, of the video. So you can download this whole checklist, so don’t worry about that. But if you go to speed.huddlecamhd.com, it will actually do a speed test for you. And so, here it is doing a little speed test. Pat, you’ve used this before, right?

Video Conferencing Bandwidth

Yeah. It’s a nice free, just little easy way to see what your up and down speeds are and what you’re getting over the network And if you’re on a mobile device or something like that, you can kind of see what you’re getting at various locations. So if you’re trying to sit in a Starbucks and do your video conference, you could see what your speeds are and see what you can do to optimize that.

Yeah. And this is actually… one of the things I wanted to point out about this is that this is actually a lot better than speedtest.net and other things, for video conferencing in particular. So what speedtest.net does and a lot of the really popular ones out there, they tell you what’s happening in your area. So let’s say you’ve got Comcast or Verizon, they’ll give you what a general Comcast user is going to get in your general location but what our tool does is, we have a server sitting in Scottsdale, Arizona, so that’s a very standard middle of the country, a little bit on the West Coast, which is where most of these video conferencing servers are, anyway; and it makes a call to our server directly. So this is a direct call to a server, which is exactly what you do during your video conference. Now, as you can see here, I’m getting 11 down and we’re getting 7 up. That’s more than enough. As you can see, on our spreadsheet here, we’re saying that we want to get about 2 to 3- two to three down, two to three ups- this is more than we need, which is great. And we’re video conferencing now and we’re live streaming, so it’s a testament to the bandwidth that it does take to do such a thing.

Computer Optimization

The next thing we have on our list, Pat, here is to make sure… this is just standard stuff but this is a checklist that you can give to anybody so they can say “Alright, let’s make everything perfect.” A minimum of a 10-percent of your hard drive free and you do also want to check your processing power. So you want to have at least 30-percent of your processing power taken care of. So if you’re already using a bunch of your processing power doing whatever you’re doing, take a look at your task manager in windows and- I don’t know how to do it on Mac, honestly but you’ve got to take a look at that. If you’re having issues, it could actually not be your bandwidth at all, it could just be your processing power.

Yep. And this is a key point. One of our most popular recommendations and we get asked this question a lot, we do recommend an i5. If you’re doing some of this video conferencing communications, it helps with your processing power. So if you are experiencing some of these issues, it might just be that you need a more powerful PC.

Computer Processors

Video Conferencing Mobile Users

Video Conferencing Mobile Users

Yeah. It’s true. And that’s a great point, Pat, because you can’t the world out of an old laptop that can hardly watch… Someone came with a laptop yesterday that couldn’t even stream YouTube videos. It’s all over the map- everyone wants to do video conferencing but you do need at least an i3. An i3 can do it but an i5 is really what we recommend for business level video conferencing. Our next section is the actual video conferencing tips in general. And, Pat, I don’t know if you want to take this one first one- that audio optimization.

Yep. And this is just basically, people are heading over to voice now. Lots of video conferencing applications offer audio bridges for your analog phones and stuff like that. You don’t always need that these days. You can use a USB peripheral, as you can see I’m using a USB headset and this will allow you get voice over the video call and it’s just a nice way to handle audio optimization. It syncs with the video better and you don’t have to worry about using a standard analog phone to dial into that bridge or anything like that.

Cool. And actually, Michael Skinners is in the chatroom here, helping us out. There is an activity monitor on the Mac side. So thank you, Michael, for that. Keep an eye on the chat for me, Pat. There are some interesting comments coming in there. Thank you, Michael. That’s audio optimization and I really prefer voice over IP like Pat was saying- a USB microphone as opposed to going analog because one of the things a lot of people don’t know is you may be getting charged a toll just by calling in. That’s actually fairly standard practice- you’re actually paying per minute. They don’t tell you but its 30 cents a minute. So you’ve got be careful with that and also the active speaker functionality does not work if you’re doing analog. You do actually need to have that USB video and audio going together. Let’s say Zoom or GoToMeeting or WebEx, a lot of times, depending on how they have it set up, it may not work. Sometimes it will, depending on the software.

Yeah. And if it’s international, then it’s definitely a situation where you go through the software and you’re using the voice, it’s free. It’s an easy way to not deal with international calling numbers.

Video Optimization

So this next one here goes to video optimization, Pat, saying that most users and most people, the way they view the video conference, they have the option to look at speaker view, gallery view and even spotlight. Do you want to talk about the differences there?

Yeah. Your active speaker view is where it will change to whoever is actively speaking. That’s popular for presentations and stuff like that. The gallery view is like everybody in a 9×9 or a different format where you’re seeing everybody in the video call, and then the spotlight is where you select somebody’s video. My personal is the gallery view. I like to see everybody in the call but it just depends on what you’re doing and toggling some of those features might get you a more optimal video feed.

Okay. Sounds good. The next one here we have on our list- let’s take a look at this- is processor optimization. So we talked about this a little bit here- closing all of… we kind of talked about that. Let’s go to the next one, low bandwidth optimization. This is a good one. So, video conferencing is amazing because you can have face-to-face conversations but if your bandwidth is getting low, alright, you know it’s an issue; you’re getting that packet loss. One of the first things you can do is, you could just turn your video off. The video is the real bandwidth hog here, it’s not the audio. The audio you absolutely need; the video is secondary. Right?

International Video Calls

Yep. And I’ve done this plenty of times. Once again, especially when you get into those international calls. Depending on where they are, some of the less developed countries, they don’t have the internet speeds at say, the US or even… the US isn’t even the best, to be honest. Like South Korea, they have great internet connection. So it’s just something you can do if you are experiencing some issues, just cut the video and just listen. Go back to the voice call and it should take care of some of those issues.

Yeah. If you’re video conferencing with Africa Bor places that have very low bandwidth, there are video conferencing software, such as VC that specifically specialize in ultra-low bandwidth. Video is a great one for that as well and they have what is called an Automatic Scaling Video Codec. I’m not exactly sure what it’s called but just Google “low bandwidth video conferencing services” and there are ones that specialize in that for you. The next one here we have is if you know you’re doing internal communications- there’s nobody outside of your internal communications- you can actually do what’s called an on-premise video conference and that allows you to actually never leave your network. No need for bandwidth at all. You’re just internal to your network, you don’t go out to the cloud at all and companies like Zoom offer a hybrid version where you can do all of your internal communications on an on-premise server and then when you invite someone from the cloud, then they come in and they use their own bandwidth but you actually can have all of your communications internal to your network, increasing your quality and reducing the demand for bandwidth.

Yeah. And this is a popular option for people that want to keep that communication internal as well. If you tend to own your server infrastructure and you want to just bring it all in-house, you can do that, notably simply.

So we’ve kind of talked about our basics here and again, this checklist is available, we keep it up to date. So if you have anything that you think we missed, put it in the comments below, we want to know so we can add it to ours. In fact, one thing I would like to put on here that I think we might have hit but I think it might not actually be on here is, definitely use the most up-to-date video conferencing software. So if you have your client, check for updates because they’re always making things better and you want to be on the latest version of everything, almost all the time.

Update your software

Video Conferencing Ideas

Video Conferencing Ideas

Yep. And they update it all the time. New compression methods come out. I think like GoToMeeting and WebEx, they’re both on version 17, also been around for like several years at this point but just getting to the latest version should get you those more up-to-date features.

So now we’re going to talk a little bit about live streaming because so many of our customers said… exactly what we’re doing now- were video conferencing, me and Pat are video conferencing but we’re live streaming it to the world as well and we have tutorials on how to do that. Let’s just talk about tips to make your experience live streaming smooth because you do need additional processing power to do video conferencing and live streaming at the same time like we’re doing. So, Pat, you want to take this first one here?

Yeah. Once again, there’s some crossover here with some of the tips we just mentioned- making sure your processing power and stuff like that but with video, you do want to make sure your graphic card is up-to-date. There is a whole list of graphic cards out there and people who know more about them than I do but, just make sure you have a pretty good one. Graphics cards are going to be a very popular discussion amongst gamers and other video intensive processes like that.

Yeah. One of the things is that, even if you have a great graphics card, which I did for a long time and I still do, you still have to enable it. It’s one of those things that you’ve really got to look at if you’re going to do live streaming. We had this problem just yesterday, where someone was doing live streaming and they were like “I have the best graphics card ever,” I was like “is it enabled?” “Oh, you have to enable it?” yes, you have to enable it. So, not only do you have to keep it up-to-date, but you have to make sure that you’re telling your computer to use, or else it just uses your processing power and can really mess up your video conference because in general, video conferencing uses processing power; live streaming uses graphics card. So just keep that in mind. If you really need that bandwidth and you know, for example, live streaming is a little bit more cut-and-dry when it comes to the bandwidth needed because you can say “I’m going to stream in 1080p and I know it’s going to be 3 megabits per second.” With video conferencing, it can scale- it can go up, it can go down, things can change. Generally, 2 megabits per second is what you need but, since you know what you’re doing for a live streaming, you can set up what’s called a VLAN, that’s a Virtual Local Area Network- and you can actually ask your IT department to segment off x amount of bandwidth just for you. And then, therefore, it’s there for you, you pipe is there; it doesn’t matter what everybody else in your company is doing, they cannot take away that bandwidth that’s reserved for you. So that’s our next tip here, is setting up a VLAN because you could add an extra couple bit of headroom there and therefore, you’ll never have to worry about bandwidth.

Yeah. And let’s consider, what are you streaming in? What resolution do you need? Do you need a full HD, 1080p or a 720p? So just kind of keep in mind what bandwidth, if you can estimate it, as much as possible and then do everything you can do to segment at that necessary bandwidth.

So next here we have… before your live stream, you want to live stream early. And that’s something that- for those of you who are watching now, probably got an example of; we started this live stream about 20 minutes early and we had a countdown timer, we had background music, and the reason why you do that, for number one, is you start notifying everyone. So everyone gets their notifications, but also gives you time to double check your audio syncing, make sure everything is working before that show time that you’ve promised everyone you’re going to go live.

Yeah. And that’s just the standard best practice. Show up early, make sure things are working. These are basic steps but at the same time, there’s always that thing that can go wrong. Murphy’s Law, if you will. Every stage crew is always there setting up early and they test it before the soloist goes on. So just make sure you show up early and your things are working as they should because that’s not always the case.

A couple of final tips here, we’re almost out of time. We’ve actually almost gone 20 minutes, Pat, and we thought this is going to be a quick one. All of these this available for download, so I’m just trying to breeze through the end of this. Consider using a frame grabber. A lot of customers we have out there don’t know what frame grabbers are. Great products- they take HDMI and convert them to USB. So keep an eye out for frame grabbers and you could definitely use them to capture additional things like a document camera or your iPad or your computer and bring them into your live stream to make your stream more dynamic. Right over here you’re seeing a video that I already took. So you could take pre-recorded footage and bring it into your thing but, just wanted to mention, the frame grabbers seem to be a really important way to add to make things more dynamic.

Yeah. Leverage additional video sources into whatever you’re streaming.

So, Pat, I think we should leave it there. We’ve almost gone on our 20 minutes here- 16-minute recording, I missed four minutes of the introduction. So sorry everybody, I always seem to do this. YouTube live used to record everything for me and now YouTube live kicked us off and we’re streaming on Facebook. Take that YouTube, we’re on Facebook. But we’ll be back as soon as we’ve got our community strike taken care of. Thank you so much for being here, Pat. Thank you, everyone, who watched us on Facebook live. Everybody, we will see you next week.

Take care, everybody.

More Video Conferencing Tips

  • How to improve bandwidth for video conferencing here.
  • Download our free video conferencing checklist here.

Categories:   Video Conferencing