Video Conferencing

With the extensive amount of International collaboration that the animation outsourcing business is all about, video conferencing for doing dailies and supervising shots is a regualar occurence. Here’s a bit info on how the whole thing works ,,, for the technically inclined Video conferencing is the integration of video, audio and other peripherals to enable two or more people to communicate simultaneously over telecommunications lines. By video conferencing there is a transmission of synchronized images and verbal communications between two or more locations creating an illusion that the persons involved in the video conferencing are in the same room. To start communicating, one needs a camera for capturing images, a monitor is required to project images, a microphone which allows for generation of sound, client software which allows both the ends to communicate with one another and network services used to establish connection to transmit voice and sound. Basic Working of Video Conferencing The analog information (sound which is generated by the microphone and captured by the camera) recorded by the microphones and cameras is broken down into discreet units, translating it to ones and zeros. A Codec encodes the information to a digital signal that can then be transmitted to a codec at the other end, which will retranslate these digital signals back into analog video images and audio sounds. Video conferencing connections may be limited to a small network such as a LAN (Local Area Network) or may use large public networks such as regular phone lines. Many users establish the video conferencing path via ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) because it is an economical solution for high-quality videoconferencing. ISDN works over regular copper telephone lines, transmits at a minimum of 128 Kbps per line, and provides dedicated bandwidth for smooth audio and video approximately at 15 to 30 frames per second. Besides two people doing video conferencing more then two people also can do video conferencing which is known as Multipoint videoconferencing which allows three or more participants to sit in a virtual conference room and communicate as if they were sitting right next to each other. A multi-point videoconference is a conference involving three or more destinations known as sites. All participating sites are linked through a multi-point bridging device. Multi-point videoconference is same as point-to-point videoconference except the user must first connect to a “bridge” as compared to point-to-point videoconference in which the communiaction starts without bridge. A bridge connects four or more telecommunications sites so that they can all communicate together. A voice-activated multi-point conference enables all the sites involved in the conference to see and hear whoever is speaking. A voice-activated mode automatically switches among all the sites involved in the conference depending upon who is speaking. As an example, If site A begins to talk, all the other sites in the conference will see and hear site A. If site B speaks, the bridge will switch towards site B and everyone will now see and hear site B. Earlier ISDN was used to establish video conferencing, but now Internet is proving to be very cheap and easily avaliable.It is very good medium for video conferencing. The TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), used for internet communication is less expensive and can carry large quantities of information for video conferencing, relatively easily then other protocols available. Because of this, video conferencing has become much more prevalent and easy to use at the users end. To support any of the TCP/IP-based video conferencing systems described above, basic requirements such as network connection (dialup or Broadband internet connection), a computer capable of handling large traffic of audio and video data which it encounters while conferencing is on ,a sound card, a video camera, and a frame grabber (analog video to digital converter). Because of the large amount of bandwidth required to transmit all of that video and voice simultaneously, many have found that tapping into the Internet is much more feasible option then having a video conference via some other media like ISDN, PSTN (Public switiched telephone network) etc. There are basically three types of video conferencing options namely – 1. Computer-based 2. Desktop-based Computer based video conferencing is the simplest and least expensive of the other options. In this basically a software program is used that drives the interaction. A Web cam and microphone is attached to a computer in order to add video and voice to the meeting. This option is relatively easy to operate and individuals can be taught how to operate such a setup rather efficiently. Desktop-based video conferencing is when the computer-based option is enhanced to a certain extent by the addition of dedicated hardware and enhanced software to make transmission rates higher for the audio and video data to flow through much smoothly and with a better quality. Thus increasing both sound and video quality also increases the overall set-up and operating costs as compared to the Computer based video conferencing. The biggest advantage that video conferencing has to offer is the ability to meet with people in remote locations without incurring travel expenses or other expenses associated with face to face communication. Business and educational meetings, healthcare conferences and more can be easily conducted due to video conferencing technology. It also allows an individual to save time and other available resources which would be spent otherwise. Video Conferencing is being increasingly used in the following fields: Telecommunication Education Surveillance Security Emergency Response The biggest drawback to video conferencing is speed. Mainly, this issue occurs because dedicated bandwidth needs to be readily available to ensure that the virtual meeting runs as smoothly as a real life one would. If too much traffic is on the network, then images start to get jumpy, sound encounters a static behaviour and things overall do not run very uniformly as they are supposed to because of the mis coordination between verbal and visual data which in return drastically effects the final output seen on the display screen. Thus High-speed cabling have started being used which helps in making sure that the required bandwidth is present and accounted for this type of highly demanding communication.

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