CoPA Tech Orientation: Zoom
What is Zoom? – Video Conferencing Software
Zoom is a web conferencing video tool that enables ‘real-time’ communication and collaboration between participants in distinct locations around the globe on web-enabled devices. The primary features include bi-directional audio and video communication, screen sharing, and chat. Meetings can be recorded. Meeting hosts can invite up to 300 participants, from both inside and outside The New School community.
How do I get started? – Download Zoom
Go to newschool.zoom.us, click the Sign In button, and log in with your NetID and password. If you don’t already have an account, an account will automatically be created for you.
The first time you use Zoom on any given computer, you must install the Zoom software. Click Download Client in the footer and follow the instructions for downloading Zoom Client Meetings. For mobile devices, the ZOOM Cloud Meetings app can be downloaded for iOS and Android from the iTunes and Google Play Store
You may be asking ‘What do I need to run zoom?’
Internet – to host or join a Zoom call you will need access to the internet.
Web-Enabled Device – a laptop, tablet or smart phone that can access the internet.
Zoom app – installed on your laptop or other device.
*** It is highly recommend that you use your laptop as your primary device to join your class Zoom meetings ***
Let’s explore zoom and identify some of the tools you’ll be using. We’re going to use a Zoom test window. This is also useful for troubleshooting your setup.
Find the following functions:
A. Mute/Unmute Microphone – allows other meeting participants to hear you
B. Start/Stop Video – allows other meeting participants to see you
C. Participant Window – view a list of the participants in your meeting
D. Invite Button – provides information for you to send to others to join the meeting
E. Chat Window – send messages to the group or directly to an individual participant. NOTE: that even direct messages are not private and appear on the chat log of Recorded Meetings
F. Raise Hand – indicate with a Hand Icon that you would like to speak
G. Share Screen – allows you to share particular aspects of your local computer
H. Record – record the meeting. Usually only the Host of the meeting has privileges to do this
DO THIS NOW: Open https://zoom.us/test, join a test meeting and find each of the items listed above.
Did you notice that in order to open the Participant and Chat windows you needed to push the buttons on the lower zoom menu bar? They are circled in red below:
Here are the rest of the things you were looking for, just in case you missed any:
Now let’s look at how to schedule a zoom meeting in the zoom web portal.
Passwords are automatically generated for Zoom meetings on New School accounts. Remember to share a password only with those you wish to join your meeting.
You can also choose to embed the password in a shareable link for a balance of security and efficiency or to de-select a password entirely if you are using zoom for a more public facing meeting. Please note this last option may open your meeting up to ‘Zoom Bombing’. All of these features can be found when you schedule your meeting in the Zoom portal.
There are tools that will allow you to further protect and/or remove participants from a meeting such as enabling a waiting room.
Let’s watch a short video tutorial to explore screen sharing options in Zoom.
Did you notice what our speaker said about sharing content that contains audio at 0:29?
As you can see there are many sharing options from your full desktop to specific windows you have open and even sound only (on the advanced sharing page).
Please note that Zoom screen sharing transmits video at a lower frame rate (roughly 5 frames per second) and may not be ideal for in-depth video sharing.
Zoom has some audio tools that are very useful for performers to explore in order to address the sound quality that they can expressed in this environment.
If you have an external microphone you can select it using the up arrow next to the microphone symbol in the bottom left corner of your Zoom window. Here you will see all of your audio input devices such as your built-in microphone, as well as output devices including speakers and headphones.
You may have noticed an ‘audio settings’ button at the bottom of this list. Clicking it will take you to the audio settings page.
Here you will find more settings that will allow you to manipulate how sound works in Zoom.
If you look at the microphone section you will see two important input controls:
and a checkbox labeled
Automatically adjust microphone volume
By default Zoom will automatically adjust your microphone volume to level your speaking voice. This is fine, however if you are playing an instrument and/or have an external microphone that allows you to control it’s gain, this function will work against you by essentially auto-ducking your volume and thus making you very quiet at randomly throughout your performance. In these instances you will want to uncheck “Automatically adjust microphone volume” and set it manually using the toggle bar.
Below the speaker and microphone area, you will see some additional checkboxes that are useful to consider.
Enable stereo is especially valuable if you are planning to share content where stereo sound is important, like music for example.
Headphones are also an important tools to get your best sound and prevent feedback.
In the bottom right corner of the audio settings screen you will see an ‘Advanced‘ button.
Clicking this button will bring you to the Advanced Audio Functions Zoom page. If you are still having trouble with or want to improve your performance sound over Zoom, these are the tools that you want to use.
‘Enable Original Sound’
The checkbox ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’ is a useful toggle that will add a feature to your main zoom window allowing you to bypass much of Zoom’s default audio processing on your microphone input while you are in a meeting.
Zoom has three Audio Processing effects that it employs to attempt to generate the best speaking audio for your call.
A. Suppress Persistent Background Noise
B. Suppress Intermittent Background Noise
C. Echo Cancellation
These are sometimes counterproductive for singing and instrumentation as they will attempt to ‘normalize’ your input. In addition to enabling original sound you may want to adjust or disable the first two settings.
The effects of these adjustments will be difficult to hear for yourself, as you do not hear your own audio in zoom. The best way to adjust these settings is to work with someone and request feedback about your sound.
Many performers using external microphones and headphones will use settings that look like this:
The video camera icon, in the Bottom Left next to the microphone icon, allows you to start and stop your camera.
You will notice this icon also has an up arrow next to it that allows you to select your camera, deploy a virtual background and access additional video settings.
Virtual backgrounds allow you to use an image or video as your background, effectively covering the physical environment behind you.
There is a processing requirement for the virtual background to work without a green screen. Your computer or device will tell you if it is not capable of supporting a virtual background without a green screen.
Video settings allows you to set a number of video features to take affect during meetings.
Enable HD will allow you to use 720p video for one on one meetings.
Please note at the time of writing, Zoom HD is generally not available for group meetings. The reason for this being that Zoom is preserving their servers to support as many meetings as possible.
Mirror my video makes your right hand look like your right hand, rather than your left, when you look at your own video.
There are two tools that are very useful for in the Zoom classrooms: Annotate and Whiteboard
When another participant is sharing the screen you may have the option of Annotating or writing directly on their shared screen.
Finally, be sure that you know how to Clear or Erase any markings you have made with Clear:
This can be found in the Share Screen options. It simulates a whiteboard or dry-erase board that participants can use to explain concepts or collaboratively take notes.
The controls for Annotate and Whiteboard are very simlar.
If your internet connection momentarily causes interruptions to your Zoom conversation, you can try turning your video off to reduce the amount of data being transmitted.
You can log in to the same Zoom meeting with multiple devices (tablets, laptops, smart phones) so that you can have multiple camera angles of your activity. Just make sure to turn off Mic, Speaker and Volume on all devices except one. If you have audio On for all devices, then you will get unwanted feedback that the all participants of the meeting will hear.
If you are having trouble with Zoom, there are some things you can try and resources to help you.
The zoom test page from earlier is a useful way to join a meeting and test your audio and video ahead of a meeting.
If something isn’t working remember your troubleshooting training from Module 1:
The following are additional resources that may help you:
The New School has a useful Zoom FAQ
You may also wish to explore the Zoom Help site
Here’s a short review sheet that covers some of the information in this module