March

March 2017 - A Purim Air before Passover

You can already see and feel spring in the air, and Daylight Savings is behind us. And that means that Passover is almost here.
As you know, the Seder night is the height of the holiday and is kind of a multi-party conference… But before it all happens, it’s important for us to remind you of something that happened over Purim.
 
 
It appeared on every news outlet. It came up on major internet sites. On YouTube, it garnered more than 23 million views, sparked numerous parodies on “Eretz Nehederet” and even deeper articles and analysis in the written press.
I am of course speaking about the live interview on BBC with Professor Robert Kelly about South Korea. It happened two days before Purim and within a day became a trend where reality was so much funnier than anything scripted.
 
So if you happened to be on the International Space Station at the time, busy with super important experiments and missed the experience, do yourself a favor and watch the clip first. And even if you have seen it before, you can watch these 43 seconds over and over again and laugh each time. So here is the link:
 
 
Okay, now catch your breath and let’s be serious for a moment.
Last October, the topic of our monthly blog was “The Do’s and Don’ts of a Professional Video Conference”. It was written in response to a series of short humorous clips published by Polycom – a video conference system manufacturer. These clips presented Poly Calm who gave professional tips to be implemented in a professional conference.
From a professional standpoint, this series of clips is excellent. It may be humorous, but clearly give over the messages and tips for a video conference.
And then we come to this interview that perfectly illustrates everything that can be said about video conferences. Do’s and Don’ts.
 
So before you watch the clip again, pay attention to the following details and specific preparations of the interviewee, in the most professional way possible. Exactly by the book, almost…
 
  • Dress – as befits his status, the professor wore a suit and tie. He emphasized solid colors without patterns or stripes that the camera would have trouble with.
  • Background – the background of the wall is not too light and is accompanied by a world map. He even placed books on either side creating a plain background that does not detract from the main focus of the interview.
  • Camera Angle – the interviewee is in the center of the frame, not too close, not too far, but taking up most of the frame. He avoids camera angles that are too low or too high that are not flattering to the subject.
  • Lighting – he is forward-lit, his face is illuminated and enhances the quality of the camera.
  • Quiet background without background noise – sensitive microphones can neutralize background noise and transfer only, or at least mostly the desired voice. If there is a conversation around the speaker that is not work related, you should prepare and try to prevent disturbances. As we saw here, if something goes wrong…the rest is history.
  • Self-View Window – the killer of all tips. With every service there is an option to see the self-view window. In the big picture you can see the opposite side, and in the self-view window you can see yourself. It is important to leave this window open throughout the call to monitor how you are viewed by the other side. Using this window allows you to make sure that your clothes, background, lighting and camera angle are good for the video call. Note that the interviewer mentions to the interviewee that his son has entered the room, but he already knew that because he could see him in the self-view window. You can even see the father’s eyes dart to the bottom left of the screen where the window is. He even takes care of the “problem” without moving his eyes from the screen and even sees his wife entering the room after his children. All this thanks to using the self-view window.
 
Just a small anecdote before we finish. I read an analysis of the professor in a few places, what kind of father is he, how he treats his wife and his children, and so on, regarding the fact that he did not turn away from the screen to deal with the situation. But I am not an anthropologist, a sociologist, a psychologist or any sort of expert in the field, so I can’t comment on any of that. What I can say is that if any of these writers would know a little bit more about the world of video conferencing, they would have come to different conclusions about this man that I like but don’t know, just like you don’t know him either.
 
May you only have successful video calls!
 
See you in the next post,
Nir