Video Conference Room


Your video conference room can be as simple and complex as you like. Many people use the laptop they already own and an affordable piece of software and get by just fine. Others invest in expensive hardware options to help elevate the virtual meeting experience.

Your Video Conference Room: Hardware

1. An External Camera The webcams built into most laptop computers are subpar. If you want to improve the quality of your video feed, invest in an external camera. You have a couple of options here: A Quality Webcam: The Logitech C920e Webcam is a great option that you can pick up for about $70. Too rich for your blood? Try the Logitech C310 Webcam instead. Just about every external webcam will be better than the one built into your computer. A Standalone Camera: If quality video is really important to you, invest in a standalone camera. Just make sure that you can easily connect it to your computer and it’s compatible with your video conferencing software of choice. Note: I don’t recommend this option unless you really need HD video… Most people don’t. Remember, an external camera is NOT NECESSARY. A vast majority of professionals use their computer’s built-in webcam to attend video conferences without issue. The only time I suggest investing in an external solution is if HD video quality is super valuable to you. Or you plan to build a dedicated video conference room and host multiple people in it at one time. If this is the case, go ahead and buy an external camera of some sort.

2. An External Microphone Your audio quality during video conferences is important. The best way to improve it is to purchase an external microphone. As with external cameras, you have options: USB Mics: The easiest and most popular external microphone option for video conference rooms is a simple USB mic. All you have to do is plug them in and your audio will improve. Consider the Blue Yeti and the Shure MV5. Lav Mics: A lav mic (the little microphone that clips to your shirt) is another option and can be purchased for as low as $20. I suggest the Rode Lavalier GO if you don’t mind a wired option and the Rode Wireless GO system if you do. Shotgun Mics: A broadcast-quality shotgun mic will give you the best quality audio, though you may need to invest in a control panel to use it. Again, I like the options from Rode. Choose an option from the VideoMic line that fits your needs and budget. The kind of external microphone you choose will depend on your goals. If you’re building a personal video conference room, a USB mic is probably your best bet. But if you’re building a large video conference room that will be used by multiple team members at the same time, a shotgun mic (or something similar) will be a better option.

3. Video Displays, Speakers, and Control Panels We’ve grouped video displays, speakers, and control panels together because each is only needed if you’re building a dedicated video conference room. If you’re not, feel free to skip to the next section where we talk about the environment you build your meeting room in. Still here? Okay, let’s talk about how to turn your empty office space into the ultimate video conference room for group meetings and virtual conferences… Video Displays A large video display will allow everyone in your conference room to view on-screen material and participate. Here are a couple of things to consider when purchasing a display: Screen Size: How big should your screen be? Conventional wisdom says that the diagonal length of your screen should be half the length of your room. So, if your room is 10 feet long, you’ll need a 60 inch screen. At the end of the day, choose a screen size that will allow all meeting attendees to easily view material. Mounting Height: Next, think about the layout of your video conference room. Your layout will dictate your video display’s mounting height. For example, if your room includes a conference table and chairs, mount your screen so that meeting attendees can easily and comfortably see the screen while sitting.

Speakers Next, consider your conference room’s speaker situation. There are plenty of different options available to you, depending on how you set up your room.. If your room is small, for instance, a sound bar, mounted under your video display, should work just fine. For larger rooms, consider table top speakers. Or, if you really want to go all out, mount speakers into the ceiling of your video conference room. Always remember, volume isn’t the end all be all. Choose speakers that get loud and pump out high-quality audio without echos, feedback, and other annoyances.

Control Panels Finally, look into control panels for your dedicated video conference room, which will make it much easier to run effective virtual meetings. But which control panel should you choose? First, check to see if your video conferencing software of choice has a preferred option. If it does, this is probably your best choice. If it doesn’t, consider the ATEM Mini. It only costs $295 and will allow you to display graphics and videos, collaborate with remote employees, and run multiple cameras—all from the convenience of a small, desktop device.