WirelessPhreak.com

I like to travel, f*ck with technology, and partake in the occasional tropical drink.
I am also a co-host on The NBD Show podcast.
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Who would have thought that 7 month later and for most of us there are no plans to go back to the office. For remote workers audio/video conference and collaboration software has become a tool we use sometimes all day. For me personally quality of audio and video has become an important part of work. for me personally its very distracting when someone is garbled, or there video is horrible. I wanted to put up some of my favorite tools I have found to help provide quality remote working experience.

Audio:

Microphones are an important tool for quality audio. If your a teacher providing distance learning or office worker meeting with clients or colleagues good audio is important. I wanted to list USB based audio that would work with most if not all computers and remote access software.Most of them I have tried.

  • Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone: 
    • This thing has been a work horse I have used it for podcasting as well as meetings. Its only downfall you have to be pretty close to the mic for it to pic you up.
  • Rode VideoMic NTG:
    • I just picked this one up. It's really designed as a shotgun mic to go on top of your DSLR for better video audio, but Rode has also added a USB port that lets it work as a shotgun mic connected directly to your PC. So far I like that I can position the Mic further away but still have rally good sound quality.  
  • Apple Airpods:
    • Many people use these as have I, and for me I have not been impressed. I have not used the Airpod Pros, but I found the original Airpods to be very fickle. Many times the mic would cut out or garble what I was saying.  I do like how easy they are to pair with different devices and for listing to music they are great, I am just not a fan of using them as a mic. 
  • Built in Apple Mic and Speakers
    • I have found the built in mic and speakers on my macbook pro to be very capable. Right now I have my macbook docked so the mic is not usable but when I am traveling and working I have never got any complaints about the audio. It nice that it is built in for sure.
  • Head Phones or no Head Phones:
    • Luckily the video conference software has gotten much better with sound rejection. For example if you are using the speakers and mic on your laptop  the software is smart enough to cancel what is coming out of your speakers and only broadcast your voice. That being said it isn't perfect but its pretty close. For me it really depends on the environment. If your working in an airport or Starbucks of course headphones are crucial, at home i kind of bounce between headphones and laptop speakers. I really don't want to wear headphones for 8 hours strait .

 Video:

Video for me is not as important as audio quality since most of my meetings are audio,  but for distance teachers or just audio video geeks like myself having a nice camera is pretty important.

  • Logitech C930E:
    • The Logitech C930 series cameras have been the de facto for good quality reliable HD video. I have had mine for 4 years and still haven't been on a call with someone who has better video. There is nothing you can say bad about these cameras accept they are hard to find right now.
  • DSLR with HDMI to USB adapter:
    • If you are an aspiring YouTuber then this might be the solution for you. There are a lot of older DSLR cameras out there that have really good video features and are pretty cheap. The only issue is the HDMI to USB adapters range in quality and price.  Its really hard to tell what is quality and what is junk.  If you go down this route it is important you do your research.
  • Apple built in FaceTime or iSight Cameras:
    • Ahhh... They work but they aren't great.  If your on the road running light they work in a pinch. If you have a newer iPhone you may be better using that, they usually have better cameras then the laptops.
  • EPOC cam Webcam for MAc and PC:
    • Lastly I wanted to leave you with a software alternative. EPOC software is an app that can be installed on your iPhone. Once the iPhone app is installed you install the companion software on your computer. It allows you to use the epic camera on your iPhone as a HD webcam.  It also adds the ability to connect to the iPhone camera over wireless or wired. Definitely worth checking out https://apps.apple.com/us/app/epoccam-webcam-for-mac-and-pc/id449133483

Lights:

If your not a professional YouTuber or Video Podcaster it might not be super important but if you have a darker office like me and you attend early or off hour meeting a cheap studio light or good room lighting can dial back the creep factor.

  • SUPON L122T Ultra-Thin LED Video Light Pane:
    • This light is really chap and worked really well.  It pretty bright and you can change the tone from warmer to cooler as well as brighter and softer.  It doesn't come with  power supply so you will need to order it separately. You can even power it with battery packs so it can be completely mobile, I have been really happy with it.

 

Hope these ideas can help with your video conference gear ideas.

 



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