How to: Video Conferencing

On this page we have collected some hints to support you in conducting video conferences or webinars. If you have any questions or if there are aspects missing, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Preparation

You should start a test run prior to the conference and see if the technology works as desired (microphone, camera settings, etc.). For testing the hardware, we recommend either an online echo test (e.g. this one) or the camera app in Windows 10 or the Photo Booth app in Mac OS.

Software

For the use of video conferencing systems we recommend Google Chrome as your browser. Please also note the following information:

  • reduce the number of open tabs as much as possible;
  • if possible, close all other programs (including Outlook or similar);
  • to be on the safe side, please have Firefox available as a browser for testing;
  • if you want to work with screen sharing or desktop sharing: Check whether others could gain access to sensitive documents, e.g. on the desktop.

When choosing a browser, please consider that we have found major technical problems in tests with Edge (Windows) and Safari (macOS) and therefore do not recommend their use.

Hardware

If you're using a laptop or MacBook, it's best to plug it in to avoid premature shutdown. If necessary, fold down the microphone boom on your headset and check the audio settings on your computer:


During the videoconference

For organizers:

  • Define what rights participants should have (permanent mute, video, presentations), and also set rights in the chat.
  • Disable the webcam when sharing your screen - the upload capacity of many Internet connections is not sufficient for two parallel video streams (webcam + screen content).
  • If necessary, create a conversation log so that all information is recorded even in the event of technical problems.

For participants:

  • Default settings: Disable microphone and webcam in the videoconferencing software.
  • Be present and do not carry out any other activities on the side; it is best to write notes by hand.
  • Think about what you want to write in the chat and what you want to communicate via audio/video, as it quickly becomes confusing in a large group.
  • Only release your audio signal when you need to talk, and otherwise block it either via the conferencing software (usually via microphone icons) or, if available, the switch on your headset. Noises such as loud breathing, rustling or cable movements are otherwise often recognized and transmitted as speech.

Notes on the surroundings:

  • Lighting situation: Avoid dazzling light (e.g. from windows), if necessary provide enough light and adequate illumination of your face (desk lamp etc.).
  • Avoid background noises (mobile phone ringing, street noise through open windows, etc.).
  • Try to create a working atmosphere and minimise disturbing factors (e.g. by going into a room separate from other domestic residents).

Further general notes:

  • The videoconference in which you are participating may be recorded. The recordings will later show everything that happens in the area of the camera field!
  • When you leave a conference, leave the digital conference room (e.g. by closing the browser tab) and make sure that microphone and camera are deactivated.
  • If you need to discuss something important in addition to the conference (e.g. on the phone), you can temporarily deactivate the microphone and, if necessary, the camera as well and then simply switch them on again without having to leave or end the conference. Headsets often also have switches for muting the microphone.

Solutions for frequently occurring problems

Connection problems:

If the above-mentioned instructions are not sufficient:

  • Use LAN cable instead of WLAN;
  • exit the browser completely (all tabs) and restart it;
  • close all other programs and tabs;
  • deactivate and reactivate WLAN;
  • restart the PC/laptop.

Microphone-/ Cameraprobleme:

If the above-mentioned instructions are not sufficient here as well, then:

  • Check if there are buttons / switches on the headset / microphone e.g. for muting, as well as for cameras.
  • Fold down the microphone arm on the headset.
  • Test whether the microphone / camera in the video conference software is possibly muted. In most cases, the corresponding buttons in the lower central screen area are then highlighted in red or grayed out.
  • It is possible that the person leading the videoconference has not enabled the microphone/camera functions for participants. Please ask the conference/webinarium moderator for details.

Contact for queries

If you still have technical problems despite the above advice, please contact us directly by using the form on the German website.