At McCloskey & Associates, the in-house legal videography company for SPCC, our videographers have conducted over 600 remote depositions since 2020. In that time, we’ve seen just about every technical issue imaginable.
Our videographers have the experience to guide participants through most problems—but it can be time-consuming and costly (as we’ve discussed before).
While our Zoom experience is in the legal industry, we see all the same problems that everyone does no matter what field or discipline you’re in. Zoom’s effectiveness as a tool comes down to the reliability of the technology of the participants.
What are the most common problems we encounter? And how can they be avoided? Let’s find out.
THE PROBLEM: Bad internet connection/signal
THE SOLUTION: We always recommend using use a laptop or desktop computer that can be plugged in via an ethernet cable, rather than relying on WiFi. WiFi signals don’t always reach as far as we think they do—or with the same strength.
THE PROBLEM: Bad sound quality
THE SOLUTION: Often, bad sound quality is the result of a bad WiFi connection. Again, plugging in via ethernet is ideal; however, if that is not an option, then the best bet is to switch to phone-based audio. Zoom has a great “switch to phone audio” option that will walk you through the steps quickly and link your video directly with your phone audio so that you don’t appear in the meeting twice. Additionally, always be indoors. Even a small breeze can be picked up by a microphone. Yes, it’s nice to be able to attend meetings from your back yard but if the outside ambient noise prevents you from being understood, it’s not worth it.
THE PROBLEM: Participant’s image is a silhouette or washed out
THE SOLUTION: Some device cameras are very sensitive to light, and underexpose or overexpose the image easily. Never sit with a window or light source behind you. Backlighting dims the overall image and can obscure the face. A lighting source directly overhead will cast shadows, as well. The best thing to do is sit in a well-lit room with at least one light source facing you.
THE PROBLEM: Issues logging on
THE SOLUTION: Sometimes, unfortunately, hyperlinks and meeting IDs don’t work as well as they should. The best buffer for login issues is always to log in 5-10 minutes early, so that any problems can be addressed and it doesn’t delay the start time. If you’re still getting ready, or don’t want to appear on camera yet, log in and make sure you can see and hear, and then turn off your camera and mute yourself until it’s time. Logging in early can really save the day.
What is the best strategy to avoid all of the above mentioned issues? Log in early! It’s the fastest way to find out if you can be seen, heard, and if your connection is okay.
And always, our favorite suggestion is to come to our conference center, and let us handle all the technical aspects for you. Our rooms are private, professional, and have plain, neutral-colored walls that are videographer-friendly. Our staff will set up a laptop for you, and are on hand for questions and concerns. We always use a hardwired connection and our entire center works on fail-safe dual high-speed internet so the chance of interruptions is next to none. Come for your next meeting, or send your witness to us, so you can focus on what matters most: your work.