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Setting up a small video confernce

Posted on 2004-04-12
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hi,

I'm helping friends who run a small commitee, a few times a month they need to meet, except one member is hundreds of miles away and we'd like to video conference him in.

There will be a laptop on broadband at both end (Most probably XP based) so what I'm after is a suggestion on cameras, microphones and software.

I guess it needs to be a nice wide one for the end with about 6 people and a smaller angle one for the end with only one person. Equally, I guess a simple mic will do for the one person end, but what about for sitting in the middle of the table where there are 6 people? Avoiding feedback and them hearing themselves talking?

I'm also guessing that atleast one of the webcams will come with the required software?

Budget is fairly tight, so we're not talking industrial strength of the need for anything fancy like sharing applications, etc, just letting one guy be virtually present.

I know this is a wide question, so I'll give it all my points. I'm after experience and ideas on hardware :)
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Question by:PeterLenich
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
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Here's a non-pc standalone solution that uses a tv: http://www.comready.com/dlinexetfase.html

A beginner's guide to webconferencing:
http://www.bcentral.co.uk/technology/buy/hardware/VideoConferencing.asp
http://www.jandr.com/templates/guides/webcams.tem

A low-priced camera with good resolution:
http://www.asihome.net/dhirepcwed.html

For software, you can use Microsoft NetMeeting.
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by:PeterLenich
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I see the D-Link has a built in microphone which is handy, will that be up to the task for the end of the conversation with 6 people all sat some 1 to 4 meters from the camera/microphone?

Also, have trouble finding the D-Link to buy....UK based...
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
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I don't know if the microphone will be up to it, but for that price, you can probably add a regular speakerphone connection and use it as a backup.

Second item here:
http://www.armadacomputers.co.uk/show.pl?order=&cat=97
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Highfive Gives IT Their Time Back

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 

Author Comment

by:PeterLenich
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Thanks for the help, one last thought...

Whilst looking for the D-Link webcam (and failing, so thanks for the link) I did find this;

http://uk.europe.creative.com/products/product.asp?prod=480

Which from other suppliers came in £5-10 more expensive than the D-Link but has a seperate microphone, which I would hope to position centrally on the table (I have no idea as to the length of the lead).

Sound like a reasonable choice instead?
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Callandor earned 125 total points
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Go for it - looks like a good choice.  You should be able to buy an extension cable at any electronics store, unless it was constructed with the microphone as an integral part of it (unlikely).
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by:PeterLenich
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Cheers!
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