1. Some background

In its most basic form videoconferencing is the transmission of synchronized image (video) and speech (audio) back and forth between two or more physically separate locations, simulating an exchange as if the two (or more) participants were in the same physical conversation.

The first public videoconference was held in April 1930, between AT&T headquarters and their Bell Laboratory in New York City; microphones and loud speakers transferred the audio, while, under a blue light, the images were captured and transmitted as the participants looked into photoelectric cells. This pioneering event emphasised the benefits of face-to-face conversation at a distance.

Any videoconferencing installation must have a few basic components to succeed:

  1. Camera (to capture local video).
  2. Video display (to display remote video)
  3. Microphone (to capture local audio)
  4. Speakers (to play remote audio).

In addition to these more obvious components, a videoconferencing suite generally includes a codec ("COmpressor/DECompressor"), a user interface, a computer system to run on, and a network connection.

There is a Video conferencing service, suitable for interviews and meetings based at the University Media Production Unit, 5 Worcester Street. Tel 01865 289980. See Media Production Video Conference service. Various departments also have suitable video conference facilities. See here

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