New work environments are changing the way we spend the hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From remote colleagues working in home offices to partners and clients halfway around the world, adapting to fluid schedules and locations is key for most businesses.
Videoconferencing allows businesses to operate within these new norms, because it lowers travel expenses and makes teams more efficient. But the addition of cameras, televisions and computers to conference rooms can create obstacles for effective lighting design. From desktop videoconferencing to videoconference rooms with full-function videoconferencing codecs and high-definition (HD) cameras, lighting design can play a pivotal role in creating a successful videoconference session.
Overcoming lighting design obstacles with LEDs
Lighting a videoconference room presents a unique challenge: simultaneously providing excellent visual access to participants in the room as well as participants in remote locations. The lighting must accommodate the visual requirements of the people and the camera yet also provide visibility of any display materials, especially to remote participants. Achieving the proper video conference lighting balance requires the right lighting fixtures and controls.
Linear fluorescent light sources have long been used to provide effective, uniform lighting in videoconference environments. LED alternatives offer the opportunity to save energy and reduce costs, but lighting designers know these solutions also deliver better results. Dimming controls are essential to creating an ideal solution in videoconference environments regardless of the source; appropriate control solutions are another key to success.
Implementing strong lighting design in videoconference rooms
During a videoconference, the video camera does not collect information in the same way as the human eye. Improper lighting can cause the camera to produce saturated images or images with dark shadows, resulting in poor picture quality for remote participants.
The right combination of strategically placed fixtures improves vertical illumination and creates uniform lighting on surfaces and participants. Lighting controls enhance the ability to adjust contrast in the space. Other factors, including wall color and the color and texture of furnishings, can also contribute to or detract from effective videoconference room design.
To further ensure image clarity, it is important to implement LED fixtures with dimmable drivers in various form factors for different space types and applications. A combination of one-by-two- foot and two-by-two-foot indirect fixtures provides both vertical and horizontal illumination. It also helps produce images that have better contrast and sharpness. The right combination of fixtures ensures high-quality lighting on the participants, walls and table surfaces as well as the area around the display, screen or monitor.
Compatibility between the driver and fixture is key to LED lighting performance in these spaces. The selection of an appropriate driver is not limited to ensuring it matches the LED module being used. The driver is the primary component that determines the best possible dimming capabilities of the LED lamp or fixture.
It is also important to understand the mechanism the LED driver uses to achieve dimming: pulsewidth modulation (PWM) or constant current reduction (CCR). Drivers using CCR are critical for videoconferencing applications in order to ensure a strong on-camera performance.
Supporting better communication with videoconferencing
Relationship-building and collaboration can all be achieved from afar with a well-designed videoconference room. Videoconferencing provides a face-to-face experience, enabling participants to experience the facial expressions and body language cues of everyone in the conference. Because a significant percentage of communication is non-verbal, videoconferencing rooms can often create clarity among conference participants better than a conference call or e-mail. Participants are also more likely to stay focused on the discussion when video is implemented and when they are part of an active, observant group.
LEDs help eliminate common lighting design obstacles in videoconference rooms. Strong lighting design also supports communication between videoconferencing participants, helping foster stronger relationships and more successful meetings.