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Tom

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The early days of videoconferencing seem a very long time ago, but...

Several of my upcoming medical appointments have been rescheduled to 'tele-health' appointments via PC using the Zoom app. Yesterday 9 of us "met" for a club Board meeting via Zoom, and it worked well. A number of educators are conducting online 'live classes' via Zoom.

With 9 people online, I thought I might need the 40" screen. But the 22" monitor and the laptop screen were more than adequate. Separately, I've tested Zoom with tablets, and they work just fine. I haven't tried Zoom on a smartphone, but I'm told it works, albeit with correspondingly poorer results.

I've introduced other clubs to Zoom, and I'm thinking of getting small musical groups together online. However, I've heard comments suggesting there are some issues getting video and audio in sync.
 

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Larry N.

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We've used Zoom for a couple of family get togethers, and it's nice, but it does seem there's at least an occasional problem with latency. Since a meeting goes through their servers (and I've read that it's often routed through China), and transmission from different places comes via different paths, I'm not surprised. Also, I noticed that, though lip sync seemed OK, the sound/video of myself that came back to me was delayed a half second or so from real time. Thus I have no idea how you'd sync singer/players between different locales, even just a mile apart, or even in the same household.

That being said, I've seen music productions that were done somehow via videoconferencing (not sure what software, but looked a lot like Zoom) and came out in sync. Of course these were recorded, not live, so someone may have taken recordings of the performances and used other software to sync them, but that's just a semi-educated wild guess.
 

SpencerPJ

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Our small group meets every Sunday eve with Zoom during these times.  Works great with our iPads.  This Sunday, my extended family plan to meet for an Easter Zoom (in lieu of our traditional dinner gathering), we'll see how that goes  ;D ;D    I'll miss my sister's cooking though,  :(
 

jymbee

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Tom said:
The early days of videoconferencing seem a very long time ago, but...

Indeed. A couple of decades ago I was working with a large, geographically dispersed group of tech writers and at one point they set up a video conference system. As I recall they used two ISDN lines and output to a large monitor. Took several tech guys to set it all up and get it working-- kind of-- and was ungodly expensive.

Today? Download the app and connect to groups of folks easily-- and for free.

Tom said:
I've heard comments suggesting there are some issues getting video and audio in sync.

I've used Zoom on PCs, tablets, and phones and it works quite well. Occasional initial connection delays probably due to trying to connect at peak times. As far as the video/audio sync goes, I haven't noticed that but again wasn't looking at from a musician's perspective.  :)

Perhaps do a small test at first to get an idea how it might work for you?
 

Tom

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[quote author=Larry N]Thus I have no idea how you'd sync singer/players between different locales, even just a mile apart, or even in the same household.[/quote]
Latency was an issue mentioned by someone who said it wouldn't work for music groups. We're doing something similar with the Band, but just audio. The Maestro plays/sings/records a song and I put the resulting mp3 online for folks to download. Folks play/sing along with the recording and send their own recording back. All the indiividual recordings are "stacked" & sync'd using software to produce a composite "group sound".

Of course these were recorded, not live, so someone may have taken recordings of the performances and used other software to sync them.
I've wondered how they did that.
 

Larry N.

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We're doing something similar with the Band, but just audio. The Maestro plays/sings/records a song and I put the resulting mp3 online for folks to download.
Audacity (likely other software too) has a feature to aid in that. Basically it lets you play back a recording (perhaps through headphones) and records in sync with it through whatever mic(s) etc. you've attached. It lets you build individual instruments' individual tracks (vocal too, of course) into a multi-track arrangement so that you can have guitar, banjo, guitar, piano, guitar, harmonica, etc. sync'ed with vocals, even typing in the lyrics if you wish. It's fun to play with. Of course it's audio only, but perhaps there is video software to sync it like that.
 

Larry N.

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I got an email from Zoom announcing an update. The press and some tech folks have been criticizing Zoom for poor security and privacy problems, and this new release is supposed to fix a lot of the problems.
 

Tom

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When I tried to get into yesterday's chat, Zoom had me download/install and update before letting me in.
 

Chakara

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I've been using Webex for years and years.  The good news is that Zoom really stepped into the market and made a splash - forcing the legacy "Webex" to play some chatchup.  Interesting fact, the CEO of Zoom was the lead developer of Webex at Cisco.

I've also used Zoom as an end user and the experience is similar.  Webex is way more enterprise friendly and security minded (not that anything is perfect).

Webex is also available for free - and due to COVID - Cisco has removed the 40 minute call limit and adding dial in audio from the PSTN - all free.

Just an option - Zoom clearly has the mind-share of the market right now.  Oh, and while not the default, you can connect with just a browser in Webex.

PS: I am biased as I sell Webex :)  But what you guys use has not impact on me.....

-Chak
 

PopPop51

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I?ve been working remote for 13 years and have been through many video conferencing apps as the technology has evolved: LogMeIn, Webex, GoToMeeting, Join.me, UberConference, Skype, and others I can?t remember. Each iteration has gotten better, and most of the current crop are plenty good and reliable enough for most needs. Even the free versions. I only use a phone or tablet for casual one-on-ones with family and friends. For that, FaceTime is my default.
For multi-party meetings Zoom is my current go-to, though Teams has worked well the few times I?ve used it.
Hardware and network improvements have played a part in the improvement, too: Faster memory and CPUs, graphics processors, higher network speeds, lower latency.
The biggest things a casual user can do to improve the experience:
  • Use ear buds or headphones, not your device?s speaker. ESPECIALLY in public areas. (This applies when using a device for entertainment, too.)

  • Watch your lighting. Be sure your face is well-lit and your background is not a bright window.

  • Position your camera at forehead height if at all possible so people aren?t looking up your nose.

  • Don?t look at the screen unless you have to. Look at a point 3 inches above the camera as much as possible.

  • Get a better microphone than the one built into your laptop, camera or monitor. Position it so that the sound of your typing won?t dominate. I use a USB lapel mic with my laptop. At my desk I have a Blue Yeti suspended on a shock mount.

  • Don?t shout. Speak in a soft, conversational tone. Adjust your mic position and gain so that people can hear you.

  • Wait your turn and give others a chance to speak. Unlike a phone, most conference apps provide sound from only one participant at a time.
 

jymbee

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Great tips to "improve the experience". I've been in meetings where one participant violated virtually ALL of your tips!  ::)

Personally I can forgive breaking all the "rules" save for that last point: "Wait your turn..." Very annoying when someone constantly tries to talk over all the others.

PopPop51 said:
I?ve been working remote for 13 years and have been through many video conferencing apps as the technology has evolved: LogMeIn, Webex, GoToMeeting, Join.me, UberConference, Skype, and others I can?t remember. Each iteration has gotten better, and most of the current crop are plenty good and reliable enough for most needs. Even the free versions. I only use a phone or tablet for casual one-on-ones with family and friends. For that, FaceTime is my default.
For multi-party meetings Zoom is my current go-to, though Teams has worked well the few times I?ve used it.
Hardware and network improvements have played a part in the improvement, too: Faster memory and CPUs, graphics processors, higher network speeds, lower latency.
The biggest things a casual user can do to improve the experience:
  • Use ear buds or headphones, not your device?s speaker. ESPECIALLY in public areas. (This applies when using a device for entertainment, too.)

  • Watch your lighting. Be sure your face is well-lit and your background is not a bright window.

  • Position your camera at forehead height if at all possible so people aren?t looking up your nose.

  • Don?t look at the screen unless you have to. Look at a point 3 inches above the camera as much as possible.

  • Get a better microphone than the one built into your laptop, camera or monitor. Position it so that the sound of your typing won?t dominate. I use a USB lapel mic with my laptop. At my desk I have a Blue Yeti suspended on a shock mount.

  • Don?t shout. Speak in a soft, conversational tone. Adjust your mic position and gain so that people can hear you.

  • Wait your turn and give others a chance to speak. Unlike a phone, most conference apps provide sound from only one participant at a time.
 

Arch Hoagland

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Jul 11, 2014
Posts
3,679
Location
Clovis California
Interesting timing...we just did our first Zoom family meeting yesterday. I'd never used it previous to then.

Pretty good experience for the four of us and have a meeting already scheduled for Easter Sunday.

I suspect the latency problem might be worse then as a lot of people will be using it.

Used a 12" pad for the first meeting and have now installed it on a 18" laptop which is a LOT better. 

 

SLOweather

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Dec 2, 2018
Posts
327
One more... Learn to us the Mute feature when you are not talking...

PopPop51 said:
I?ve been working remote for 13 years and have been through many video conferencing apps as the technology has evolved: LogMeIn, Webex, GoToMeeting, Join.me, UberConference, Skype, and others I can?t remember. Each iteration has gotten better, and most of the current crop are plenty good and reliable enough for most needs. Even the free versions. I only use a phone or tablet for casual one-on-ones with family and friends. For that, FaceTime is my default.
For multi-party meetings Zoom is my current go-to, though Teams has worked well the few times I?ve used it.
Hardware and network improvements have played a part in the improvement, too: Faster memory and CPUs, graphics processors, higher network speeds, lower latency.
The biggest things a casual user can do to improve the experience:
  • Use ear buds or headphones, not your device?s speaker. ESPECIALLY in public areas. (This applies when using a device for entertainment, too.)

  • Watch your lighting. Be sure your face is well-lit and your background is not a bright window.

  • Position your camera at forehead height if at all possible so people aren?t looking up your nose.

  • Don?t look at the screen unless you have to. Look at a point 3 inches above the camera as much as possible.

  • Get a better microphone than the one built into your laptop, camera or monitor. Position it so that the sound of your typing won?t dominate. I use a USB lapel mic with my laptop. At my desk I have a Blue Yeti suspended on a shock mount.

  • Don?t shout. Speak in a soft, conversational tone. Adjust your mic position and gain so that people can hear you.

  • Wait your turn and give others a chance to speak. Unlike a phone, most conference apps provide sound from only one participant at a time.
 

Traales

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Feb 16, 2021
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North Dakota Fargo
Video conferencing era actually started long before the pandemic. For me, for example, it started when Skype has launched their first video conferencing app, an app which helped me and my friends communicate together while playing CS 1.6. It seems like it was yesterday, but it was more than 13 years ago. Not so long ago I read an article on finchmagician.com about video conferencing services and how those services have developed over time. Today, it seems like something normal to attend a conference without the need to quit your home, but things were different in 2006.
 

Rob&Deryl

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Mar 27, 2017
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Eastern Massachusetts
I wonder if the campfire group would do a living room zoom campfire?

as a rv newby putting faces to my future extended family would be neat.
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
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Cedar Falls, IA
I remember when video conferencing started too. We used it 15-20 years ago, but we needed dedicated lines. My company had them between major facilities, and we all needed to use special rooms. It still kept down an awful lot of travel. I used to have to go from the Midwest to one of the coasts to do a 3 hour meeting! I am curious how businesses use commercial products like Zoom to deal with proprietary or “For Official Use Only” US Government products. Our old systems had to be certified to handle such things. Using Zoom to see the grandkids doesn’t have quite the same concerns.
 

Tom

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I wonder if the campfire group would do a living room zoom campfire?

as a rv newby putting faces to my future extended family would be neat.
Seeing the participants would be neat. But it would take a bit more coordination. Also, remember that, in Zoom when one participants speaks they mute all the other participants. That would limit the amount of RV-speak in the duration of the meeting/call. Bandwidth might also be an issue for some participants.
 

Hfx_Cdn

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Nova Scotia
We actually discussed that possibility about a month ago, and it was decided that no one wanted to see us fuddy-duddies sitting around in our PJs. Actually, band width particularly while on the road was the major concern, as a result we moved on.

Ed
 
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