Planning video conference rooms
Video conferencing is growing rapidly and is becoming a regular part of most people's work day. Therefore, there is also a rapidly increasing need to do it professionally. Also because meeting rooms and home offices suddenly become part of the corporate face next door to.
When radio NOVA after the big COVID-19 lockdown on March 11, 2020 moved the studio to the hosts' private home, the first days offered poor sound and disturbing reverberation. Whether NOVA after a few days got control of the technique, and/or whether the hosts got some acoustic absorbents set up in the private, we do not know. Most likely it was a combination. The point is that it became clear how much the soundscape means for the experience and understanding of a dialogue and its embedded points. And this challenge takes on an extra dimension when it comes to a video conference as well. Because now you also have to think about background, camera angle and lighting.
Acousticians use the term Speech Transmission Index (STI) to measure and describe what percentage of the spoken words are received and understood in a regular dialogue. And it is quite clear that a room with too much reverberation reduces speech intelligibility dramatically and thus increases the risk of important points being lost, which again hampers an otherwise good dialogue and reduces the benefits of video conferencing and meetings in general. And just like with radio NOVA, it becomes extra clear when there is room for improvement. Therefore, an investment in proper acoustics usually also has a short payback period.
To contribute to a high STI, there is professional AV technology, which reduces background noise really well. Experience shows, however, that the sound image only becomes completely perfect when the room acoustics are also in order. For example, no one could think of setting up a professional sound studio without acoustic absorbers on walls and ceilings. Therefore, we recommend that the sound image in the meeting room and for the video conference is optimized both with the right AV means and with good, well-placed acoustic absorbers.
Unlike the audio studio, the acoustic absorbers in the meeting room become visible when the camera is turned on. Therefore, design, colors and material choices must also be considered when designing the space of the future for video conferencing in the company and in the home. For that purpose, there are already really good acoustic solutions such as Grape Random in natural cork as well as Grape Tiles and Grape Float in felt made of plastic bottles. A well-known Danish radio host also uses both Grape Float and Grape Random to regulate the acoustics in his home studio.
The lighting in the video conference room has some very specific challenges. First, one should avoid dominant backlight, eg from a window in the background. The next challenge is overly concentrated light from above, typically from a powerful pendant or spot that draws long shadows on the face (which does not make one look younger). A third unfortunate mistake is focal points from light sources that are reflected in the screen and steal the image. Fortunately, all three challenges can be solved with a well-thought-out lighting design and a wise choice of light sources.
The perfect space for video conferencing
AV CENTER and Grape have worked closely together to create a system that will provide the perfect space for corporate video conferencing. A system based on standard solutions, which makes it easy to configure and service. The important elements in the system are Grape Float acoustic rafts with flexible lighting and a ceiling-mounted MXA910 microphone from Shure - and with Brooklyn Line line pendants from Panzeri carved into the acoustic fleets, so you get an even light over the meeting table that does not bother the screen. For the walls, we again recommend the good decorative wall absorbents such as Grape Random or Grape Tiles.
But good light and good sound do not do it alone. The mutual placement is just as important. Therefore, the location is more about some principles than about a finished roadmap. Here is our to-do list:
- There must be no distracting focal points in the screen
- There must be no light dazzling in the camera
- The faces of the participants must be evenly lit, and backlighting is a no go!
- The reverberation time in the room must be significantly less than 0.6 seconds to achieve a high STI
- The background should be neat and calm so that it does not steal the image
- The microphone should be placed centrally above the meeting table and point to the speaker
- The internet connection must of course be fast and stable
The perfect home office for video conferencing
As mentioned, the video conferencing has also moved home in private, and with a bang, ladder racks, family portraits and resounding kitchens with standing dishes have become part of the company's external face. It's been liberatingly authentic, but video conferencing is here to stay and it's time to look more professional.
Therefore, the perfect home office for video conferencing must necessarily contain some of the same thoughtful elements as the perfect video conferencing room in the company. So the aforementioned to-do list can thus to a large extent be reused in private. However, with some necessary additions, because the space for the domestic video conferences is also a workplace that the Danish Working Environment Authority must be able to nod yes to. Overall, something has become simpler, while something else needs to be done completely differently. And then the challenge is spiced up with the fact that most people prefer not to have an overly office-like look in the home.
Tip: For those who want a sink, but do not have the space and desire for a traditional raising / lowering table, we have designed Grape Dining sit stand dining table.
How do you and your business get started?
All companies that want to appear professional can benefit from investing in a tightening of video conferencing facilities. And it will be investments with fast payback times, as better meeting quality, less travel costs and higher efficiency will be felt directly on the bottom line.
When you want to get ready for video conferencing, the next step is to find experts in AV, acoustics, lighting design and interior design. Or you can choose to collaborate with the alliance AV CENTER and Grape, which together have the whole package. Feel free to give us a no-obligation call on 38 878 800 and hear more.