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Member Forum >> Help Desk >> [Zoom] Video Meet Tips
 [Zoom] Video Meet Tips
Bob Niland

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Posted: 6/28/2017 2:48:03 PM
Edited: 1/18/2019 8:43:15 PM (16)
 

[Zoom] Video Meet Tips

Edition: 2019-01-18

The UIC video meet feature is presently (since late 2016) using the Zoom Cloud Meetings technology from Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

The UIC help page for this is: Virtual Meetup Help. Read that page first. In general, it’s a trivially simple process to join a meeting. The following article provides some wider detail.

Meetings can only be joined once in progress. You can’t join until the meeting goes live, which may not occur until precisely the scheduled time, or even a few minutes later if the host is tardy. The link to join appears in both the front page INNER CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS scroll, and on the Inner Circle Virtual Meetups page: Meetups Currently in Progress scroll.

Dr.D’s avatar For the weekly Vmeet, check that Dr. Davis is shown as the host. Unless you are the intended host, don’t attempt to start the meeting yourself. If you do that, the intended host is unlikely to join the meet, and if they do, they will not have host control, nor can those functions be transferred once the meet has started.

You do not need a Zoom account. You do not need to sign up for meets. You do need to be logged in on UIC. You may need to provide an arbitrary identity upon joining the first time, which can be your real name, UIC user screen name (suggested), or something else.

The Conference Experience

When you join one of these conferences, typically you’ll see a thumbnail for each participant. If they have their cameras enabled, you’ll see live, low-rate video from each camera. If they have their mic enabled, you’ll hear whatever they have to say (or noise, if they are in a noisy environment like a moving vehicle). Controls are provided for managing what you see, and what you send.

Mute. Mute Mute. By default your mic is live when joining (although your video is off). See more below.

If you don’t wish to be seen, use the icon to turn off your video (and it is off by default). Don’t just obscure the camera lens, because that just causes the auto-exposure to transmit a noisy dark gray image from your camera, chewing up network bandwidth needlessly.

Zoom chat button Enable sidebar chat. The conference has a Chat feature for sending messages to specific participants (or All), but newer users may not notice the indicator, and may miss that they have a message. All of the message traffic is lost when the conference ends. You can copy and paste in the Chat dialog, and save it.  I routinely save it for open meets that I attend, which is then anonymized and posted to the weekly vmeet thread.

There’s also a Raise Hand feature buried in one of the menus, but it either doesn’t work with the version UIC is running or whatever it does is going unnoticed.

Although user-initiated meets are limited to 45 minutes, Staff-initiated meets may be unlimited. The weekly meet can easily run 90 minutes.

Additional Setup Information

You need a supported device to get to the conference. If you don’t have audio and/or camera on that device, it is not yet possible to connect by phone (below).

For a normal join, obviously, to even lurk on a Video Meet requires at least audio output on your device (speakers or headphones). To contribute requires audio {microphone} input. My main desktop PC deliberately has no mic or cam, so I use my laptop or Android phone for meets. I’m less certain about our ancient Android tab. Some homework may be required for older devices.

Ideally, use a headset. When you use a speaker, your mic picks up not just room sounds and your voice, but also all the conference audio. The Zoom app is very likely using squelch and feedback cancellation algorithms, but they probably have limits, which, when exceeded, result in distracting artifacts in the conference audio. If you must use a speaker, it’s even more important to mute your mic except when speaking. If audio from your mic becomes a problem, don’t be surprised if the host mutes you. Unmute to speak.

The presentation on the Android phone is, unsurprisingly, a bit different, due to the smaller screen and presumed touch input. You really need a screen-side camera. There are fewer on-screen controls until you touch it, and on mine, there were 5 separate screens, accessed via swiping. It was not possible to see all the participants at once.

System Requirements

See the Zoom page on technical details. The sidebar has links for additional platforms. I can report that my 2Mbps down/500Kbps up rural wireless internet is just adequate. A connection that is too sloggy might require opting out of video.

It appears possible to join without a camera. I’m less sure of without a microphone. In any event, you can lurks, with both cam off and mic muted.

Software: the Zoom tech relies on:

The Zoom site appears to have numerous video tutorials.

Tip: Install Well Prior to First Conference

For lowest risk of surprises, you might want to run through the install/add-on process some time prior to the conference. You may need admin privileges for application installs on your machine.

It may be worthwhile to create a {free} account on Zoom. It’s not used for a UIC Meet. UIC meets automatically create an account for you under the site license.

How to Test Your Capability and Connection

Once installed, direct your browser to the
Zoom Test Page. doing this will avoid the annoyance of discovering during conference that no one can hear you.

The test video (if any) displayed from your camera appears to be via remote loop-back. Low resolution and/or any judder speak to your bandwidth.

There’s a link on the test page for
Test Computer Mic & Speakers
The speaker test is just a tone from Zoom. The mic test is a delayed remote loop-back from your mic.

Take note of the various icons around the screen (and you may have to activate your pointing device to make them appear). The audio and video mutes are lower left on the desktop app.

The presentation using the Android app was different from the desktop app. Click the icon or username at lower left for some options. The other icons then appear. Also, the test conference had no audio or video loop-back, and I was only able to join it by starting with a browser, which handed of to the app. If Zoom has a static conference number for the test conference, it’s not published.

Further, it’s not clear, on mobile, if the audio for a conference is considered Media or Call. If Media, be sure to test your headset, because some Bluetooth devices (like my Motorola H720) support only Call. I’ll be using a wired headset if I join via my Android device.

Meet-Up Tips

  • Enable video upon join, unless you don’t want to be seen. Your cam is off by default.
     
  • Mute shortly after joining a meet (after saying hi if that’s still going on). Your mic may be on by default. It’s an icon at screen lower left. Stay muted unless getting ready to speak, then resume mute afterward.
     
  • If there’s any doubt about your audio output and microphone status, by all means briefly hit the Zoom test page and adjust as needed.
     
  • Scheduled UIC conferences may not be joinable until the Live Event banner appears, and that may not occur until the precise scheduled time. Check the Virtual Meetups page.
     
  • Getting in early on the conference may matter, because so far it’s had a relatively low participant count limit (raised to 20 for the 2017-07-06 event). If you find that you can’t get in, please remark about it, perhaps a comment on this forum thread.
     
  • If not using (and maybe even if using) your Zoom account, look around to see if you are being asked to provide some identifying name that appears to everyone else under your thumbnail. Note that these names are relatively arbitrary and may not be the same as usernames on the UIC forum.
     
  • Chat works. Use it to do things like sending additional information to other participants, where not of general value to all. Use Chat-all sparingly. If someone uses it, consider setting the reply to just that user.
     
  • If using a Zoom app, it’s worth firing it some just prior to meet start, because it checks for updates.

Mute. Mute. Mute.

Mute shortly after joining a meet. Unmute only when preparing to speak, and while speaking.

Your mic is open by default. Even if you aren’t speaking, it can pick up things that are remarkably disruptive to the meet. The top problems are:

  • pets, family members, household and neighborhood sounds
  • typing, mouse clicks and adjusting the PC/tablet/phone
  • echo: if you are listening via speaker (in device or external), the Zoom squelch algorithm has limited capability to cancel out what you are hearing from being picked up by your mic and being added back into the conference audio
  • hum in the audio chain from an external mic, or fan noise on a laptop

Thumbnail Issues

If you have your camera enabled, by default your view of yourself on your screen may be mirror-like left-to-right. Everyone else is correctly rectified, and they see you correctly rectified. There’s a video option for defeating the mirror.

The video app has options at upper right for presentation. The Gallery view may show everyone. The Speaker view may show what the app thinks is the current speaker, and an incomplete thumbnail stack of everyone else.

The Record button requires some sort of conference host approval, which is not likely to be granted until the consent issues are worked out.

My Device Can’t Conference

The most recent conference I attended did not have the phone tab. If it ever appears, here’s how it works:

  1. On the device you use for normal UIC/Cureality visits, install the Zoom app anyway.
  2. Go to the Zoom test page (above).
  3. Click the Phone Call tab on the Zoom dialog. It provides an example phone number and Meeting ID and Participant ID. Note the process here, but not the numbers.
  4. When the real meeting goes live, click through to it on your unsupported browsing device. Get the phone# and IDs for the actual conference. Make the call.

___________
Bob Niland [disclosures] [topics] [abbreviations]

Tags: conference,video,video chat,video meet,Zoom

HeartHawk

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Posted: 6/30/2017 8:30:18 PM
 
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Deb Stell

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Posted: 7/6/2017 9:35:52 PM
 
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Bob Niland

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Posted: 7/6/2017 9:53:49 PM
Edited: 7/7/2017 7:34:16 AM (2)
 
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HeartHawk

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Posted: 7/6/2017 10:01:16 PM
 
Deb:

Meetup announcements will appear at the very top of the home page. I haven’t taken today’s announcement down yet. But always look there.

HH


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Ceithlenn

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Posted: 7/7/2017 5:07:31 AM
 
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Bob Niland

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Posted: 7/10/2017 11:44:42 AM
 
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Bob Niland

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Posted: 8/17/2017 8:50:20 AM
 
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Posted: 8/17/2017 2:34:14 PM
 
HH and Bob,  I tried to keep an eye on the chat last night but it always showed up in the middle of the page, blocking the person speaking.  I think I tried unsuccessful to move it.  Can the chat feature be docked on the side?  




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Bob Niland

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