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Setting Up a Video Meeting Space

Environment

Environment

The meeting room environment provides a visual context that can enhance (or diminish) the overall quality of video meetings. Follow these guidelines to achieve professional-quality results and create the best possible user experience.

Room Properties

Whenever possible, choose a meeting space with minimal reflective surfaces, especially exterior windows and other large glass surfaces. Note that some surfaces that appear matte to the eye can still create glare seen by remote users even though not visible in the physical space itself. Meeting room selection should also be informed by the ability to influence lighting, room color, background variables, furniture, and room size/shape.

Lighting

An evenly-lit meeting space helps the camera capture the most accurate color, contrast and video definition. With color temperatures typically in the 3000K to 4500K range, the diffused fluorescent fixtures found in many office spaces work well for this purpose.

Any strong light source behind a meeting participant tends to darken the subject and produce an undesirable silhouette, so avoid pointing the camera towards exterior windows or other harsh lighting (like directional spotlights). Bright sunlight can also create sharp contrasts that are challenging for a video camera to render, even when the camera isn’t pointed directly towards an exterior window. To help mitigate this issue, consider installing blinds, curtains or shades to better control the lighting situation.

Without RightLight
With RightLight

Positioning a subject between the camera and an exterior window or other harsh light source can cause an undesirable silhouette that degrades video quality. Logitech RightLight™ technology solves backlit and other lighting challenges by optimizing light balance to emphasize faces and render natural-looking skin tones.

COLOR

Room color can affect the visual quality of a video meeting. While not the most exciting, the best option is a solid gray or other neutral color on walls visible to the camera.

Avoid bright colors (such as pure red, blue, and green), which can cause the camera to unintentionally skew flesh tones and other hues. Also avoid bold patterns in the background whenever possible. Cameras generally do not capture patterns well which ultimately leads to visual distractions and a reduced experience.

If energizing the room with color is important for branding, display, or other purposes, use it sparingly and on the wall behind the camera’s field of view. Keep in mind, even objects out of the camera’s view, such as low seating, can produce color bounce if reflected off nearby walls.

Background

To a camera  visual clutter is much like complex patterns and should be avoided in the camera’s line of sight whenever possible. Examples include unnecessary furniture, table clutter, ornate plants, busy artwork, framed prints with reflective glass, and moving objects (like curtains in a draft). When possible, conceal any wiring needed at the table on the tables underside.

Transparent walls or windows can also be a source of distraction if colleagues on the far end of the call are able to see movement or activity outside the meeting room. Glass walls also pose a privacy issue in that anyone outside can look into the room and watch your meeting. Possible solutions include blinds or curtains, a privacy screen, or frosted glass.

Furniture

Regardless of room size, a suitable conference table and appropriate number of chairs help anchor and define the meeting space. Frequently the table size and number of chairs will quickly refine product selection to a few products or sometimes even just a single product.

Furniture should be arranged so that the camera can “see” everyone at the table. This is typically accomplished by positioning the camera and screen at the head of the table and arranging seating on both of the long sides, as shown here:

Effective furniture arrangement in a huddle room/small meeting space

Effective furniture arrangement in a large conference room

The shape of the table itself can help maximize the number of people visible on camera. A tapered shape (like a triangle,trapezoid or semi-circular) is best, with the wider end nearest to the screen and camera. Avoid selecting a rectangular table if possible because participants closest to the camera can tend to block from view those seated behind them.

Circular tables can be a good choice for smaller rooms since they don’t block the camera’s line of sight. If selecting a circular table, be aware that the location of the table legs may limit where people can be comfortably seated. To extend in-room participation, select small high-top tables and light-weight moveable seating that can bring more people into the discussion.

In all cases, be aware of how the camera’s field of view frames in-room participants for those outside the room. Furniture close to the camera will necessitate a wider field of view than furniture at a greater distance from the camera.