Delivering a lecture or presentation by videoconference does require some thought and consideration for the benefit of the participants at the far end room(s). The recommendations offer some videoconference common sense if you like.
Videoconferencing and Audio Visual Services (VAVS) automate the required connection(s) daily by manually transferring the time table details to the TelePresence Management Suit (TMS). The video conference connections are then established some five minutes prior to the allotted lecture/presentation time.
Camera and microphone
For the benefit of the far end audience, the presenter camera can be adjusted by zooming, panning and tilting to ensure the presenter is visible at all times. This is commonly done by VAVS staff remotely but your assistance is appreciated in this regard. Bear in mind the presenter’s position in relation to the lectern microphone is restricted to its design limits (close proximity generally required) for optimum audio quality. Many rooms are equipped with wireless microphones (lapel/handheld) to allow full freedom of movement.
We recommend novices in the AV equipment environment, make an appointment with the technical staff prior to the first live lecture - we are more than happy to show you how it all works. More often than not, experience shows that the less you know about the videoconferencing venues, the less accurate your expectations, the less enjoyable the audience experience and the poorer the outcome.
In many instances today, the JCU videoconferencing delivers high definition and widescreen format as a standard. General enhancements in videoconferencing hardware, compression techniques, codec algorithms as well as microphone and speaker technology, will steadily improve the videoconference experience.
Videoconference enabled venues at JCU
There are three distinctly different videoconferencing rooms at JCU – small, medium and large. Generally you need to select a room according to what is on your agenda. If for example you intend to have a large amount of interaction with the far end, we recommend selecting a smaller room due to its superior audio setup. A large room might be required due to the anticipated size of your audience but bear in mind then that interacting with a large far end audience may be limited due to the absence of fixed audience microphones. Some of the medium sized videoconferencing rooms are fitted with ceiling mounted audience microphones thus enabling a degree of interaction.
Given the level of interaction, staff meetings over a video conference link are most suited to the smaller rooms unless of course the number of participants exceeds the room limits in which case a medium sized room should be chosen.
Presenter & presentation
All the JCU videoconferencing rooms are capable of handling three concurrent video streams. What this means is that you as the presenter can send a view of yourself and a view of your presentation to the far end audience at the same time as you can receive the camera view of the far end audience. Most JCU videoconferencing venues are fitted with a desktop PC, document camera/visualizer and laptop cables as standard and in some cases a collaborative device to connect a BYOD wirelessly to the AV system.
Beyond point to point videoconferencing
Presentations and lectures are increasingly delivered to more than one geographical location, which requires some more action on the presenter’s part.
When the participating rooms start appearing on the screen, common presenter practice is to carry out some testing with each one of them to make sure they can see you, see your presentation and that they can hear you. One person in each far end room needs to be close enough to a microphone for this to occur or else provide some visual confirmation the transmission of video and audio is satisfactory.
Once each test is carried out, the far end rooms should then mute their microphones so that any unwanted sounds such as private conversations, sneezing, scraping of moving chairs, mobile phone ring signals etc. do not interfere with the presentation.
At the end of the session the presenter may allow question time in which case one room at a time is invited. The far end room will unmute their mike, pose the question and mute their mike when complete.
Questions from the audience in the presenter's room should be posed using a wireless microphone or repeated by the presenter for the benefit of the far end participants should a wireless microphone not be available.
Although we are doing our utmost to keep up-to-date, we invite you to share your experiences and suggestions with us in order to make videoconferencing even better.