Forums/Frequently Asked Questions/Hardware Setup and Troubleshooting

What hardware configurations are recommended?

The VOKLE Team
posted this on February 08, 2011 19:32

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Minimum Configuration:

1. Standard Netcam.  Consumer level USB netcams can be purchased from most electronics retailers. Many

laptops and Macbooks have built-in netcams. However, the quality tends to be minimal and somewhat

blurry, and they don’t provide much versatility in composing shots. Netcams also tend to display a wide

angle which results in a subtly warped, fish-eye appearance.  As far as compositions, medium shots (where

the subject’s torso is visible in the shot) tend to look more professional, and less warped.

2. Built-in Microphone.  At a minimum, most netcams have integrated microphones. Many new laptops and

Macbooks ship with built-in microphones as well.  Unfortunately, these are not ideal microphones to use

since they tend to be omnidirectional and, as a result, pick up a lot of ambient noise in the room.

3. Standard Headphones/Earbuds.  Any sound that emerges from the computer might be picked up by your

microphone, especially while taking live video calls. This results in an audio echo loop that should be

avoided.  To limit this, ensure that all audio is outputted into standard headphones or earbuds via your

computer’s Line-Out jack.

 

Good Configuration:

1. Standard Netcam.  See description above.

2. Microphone-Headset Combo.  Most electronics retailers sell microphone-headset combos. These tend to

plug into either mini-jacks or the USB port on your computer.  Since the proximity of the microphone is

directional, and positioned closer to the speakers mouth, the audio is cleaner, providing users with the

ability to broadcast from highly noisy areas. Unfortunately, these microphones tend to sound somewhat

stuffy. On the plus side, headsets are the most mobile setup, and extremely quick and easy to setup.

3. Directional Light Source.  For greater production quality, lighting should always be considered. A primary

directional light source positioned at eye level will smooth out facial features, and provide a more

professional look. A simple desklamp with an adjustable neck can serve as a quick source of even, soft

lighting. Desklamps can cost $10+.

 

Great Configuration:

1. External Firewire/USB Video Camera.  Many consumer level video cameras (USB or firewire) are

recognized by Adobe Flash. These camera provide superior picture quality, and can be positioned at a

greater distance from the subject to achieve a attractive medium shot.  Tripods should be considered.

2. External, Prosumer Microphone.  A prosumer or professional microphone will offer greater audio clarity

and dramatically improve the production quality of the entire event.  These mics tend to have XLR inputs

and will require adapters from a electronics retailer that will convert the cable jack into 1/8 mini-jack for

general computer Line-In input.

3. Earbuds/Headphones. Any sound that emerges from the computer might be picked up by your

microphone, especially while taking live video calls. This results in an audio echo loop that should be

avoided.  To limit this, ensure that all computer sound is outputted into standard headphones or earbuds

via your computer’s Line-Out jack. Many professional grade headphones will offer superior audio quality,

but might look bulky in appearance. For a more subtle look, consider earbuds for their compact, invisible

look.

4. 2-Point Lighting.  For greater production quality, lighting should always be considered. A primary key light

and fill light positioned at eye level will smooth out facial features, and provide a more cinematic look. 

Prosumer-level lighting kits are available at specialty camera stores and range upwards of $200.

 

Best Configuration:

1. Multiple Video Camera.  For more elaborate events, you can setup multiple cameras for master, medium,

and close-up shots.  These cameras will add an extremely professional edge to your event, mimicking the

production quality of a live television talk show.

2. Video Mixer.  Vokle accepts only 1 video source at a time. If you desire to use multiple cameras, they will

need to be brought into a video mixer, which, in turn, will connect to a computer/Vokle. A crew member

may need to ,operate the mixer to cut to the appropriate camera during the event.

3. Professional Microphones.  A professional microphone will offer the greatest audio clarity and

dramatically improve the production quality of the entire event.  These mics tend to have XLR inputs and

will require adapters from a electronics retailer that will convert the cable jack into 1/8 mini-jack for

general computer Line-In input.

4. Audio Mixer. If you will be using multiple microphones for your event, you will need to connect them to

a simple audio mixer that will output to your computer’s Line-In port. Audio mixers range from $50+

(not incl. accessories, cables, and/or adapters).

5. Standard Headphones/Earbuds.  Any sound that emerges from the computer might be picked up by your

microphone, especially while taking live video calls. This results in an audio echo loop that should be

avoided.  To limit this, ensure that all audio is outputted into standard headphones or earbuds via your

computer’s Line-Out jack. If you have multiple guests on set, you may need to connect 1/8” jack splitter to

your computer’s Line-Out jack and headphones.

6. Professional 3-Point Lighting. For the highest production quality, professional 3-point lighting should be

considered (key, fill, and backlight).  Professional grade lighting kits are available at specialty camera stores

and range upwards of $1000+.

 

 

Other Considerations:

1. Internet Connection. The most important thing to consider in your broadcast is the internet connection. 

Since Vokle is a live streaming site, it becomes crucial that you have a speedy broadband connection that

will not sputter during your broadcast.  At a minimum, Vokle requires a download/upload speed of

300kbps. Direct ethernet connections are recommended. over WiFi if possible. To check the internet

speed of your broadcast location, go to http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/.

2. Location/Set.  Your locations say a lot about your event! Beware of clutter in the background, and

consider the quality of light, acoustics, and set dressing. A simple minimalist approach can be powerful as

well (i.e. curtains, backdrops, or natural landscapes).

3. Secondary Monitor.  If you want multiple individuals on set to view the broadcast with ease,, consider

outputting your DVI or VGA cables into a secondary monitor or HDTV for a premium viewing

experience.

 

Comments

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Tiffany Spaulding

Can you recommend a particular camera(s) to use with Vokle.  I need to have someone actually using the zoom on the camera to get close up shots of the products/projects are are working with on the show.

Thanks

May 11, 2012 21:56