What equipment is needed?

The equipment required for videoconferencing consists of either a Videoconferencing Unit (VCU) or a computer with videoconferencing software along with cameras, mics, video displays, and control units. A high-speed internet connection is also required.

Most Videoconferencing units (VCUs) have cameras, mics, and displays, but there are variations such as those listed below:

Cameras

  • Stationary
  • Automatic tracking cameras that follow your movement
  • Technician operated cameras controlled from the control room
  • Webcams

Mics

  • Countryman or ear-set mic: fits snugly around your ear placing the pick-up directly in front of mouth
  • Wireless lapel mic: clips on to clothing. Be sure the mic head doesn’t rub against clothing or hair
  • Audience mics: used at all sites to ensure everyone can be heard
  • Computer microphones
  • Sound system: for large rooms, external sound systems may be required to ensure that local audience can hear the far-end participants

Displays

  • Show the feed from the remote sites: Videoconferences in large rooms require a large screen television or data projector so that the local audience can see far-end participants.
  • Show the image you are sending to the remote sites
  • Show the feed of the presentation visuals you are using (Powerpoints, document camera images, video). The equipment required to do this is a computer, DVD player, VCR or document camera. Appropriate cables will be needed to connect to the VCU.

How is it set up?

The type of videoconferencing equipment you use and the set up will depend on the type of room and how many people you are connecting with.

The host site:

  • is where the videoconference originates
  • usually has both a live audience and live presenter
  • determines what content is shared with remote sites

The remote site(s):

  • may be only 1 remote site or many remote sites located at distant locations. Videoconferencing units differ in the number of connections they can manage.
  • see content from the host site such as the image on a video monitor or projector
  • can also simultaneously see other visuals such as PowerPoints, audience shots, videos, other presentation materials depending on the capability of the specific videoconferencing unit being used.