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Videoconferencing at the National Association of Realtors

NAR boardroom showing bright lighting and equipment rack

The videoconferencing system at NAR is frequently used and of critical importance.

United recommended a PictureTel Concorde 4500 codec (shown below), built into the room’s equipment rack and integrated with the AMX/Panja control system and the room’s sound system.

Near-end and far-end video is shown on the room’s two Sony plasma displays (see picture inset): an outstanding solution given the somewhat contradictory needs for large-screen images and bright lighting (which is best for the camera but not necessarily great for video projection).

The photo above (shot from the front of the room where the plasmas are located) shows the florescent fixtures in the ceiling, specially designed and positioned to cast soft lighting on the faces of videoconference participants. Each has reflectors which direct its light at about a 45-degree angle to each side of the fixture. Thus the longer fixtures light people at the opposite side of the table; the shorter fixtures cast additional light on participants’ faces as they look toward the camera.

PictureTel Concorde 4500 CodecAlso visible in this photo is the equipment rack, tucked away into the closet out of sight yet convenient to anyone who needs to load a videotape, DVD or CD. The rack holds all the video sources plus control, switching, lighting and sound systems.

One key component of the sound system is an an IRP audioconferencer, which includes digital echo cancellation as well as the circuitry to switch the microphones built into the table on and off as participants speak. Without these two kinds of circuity, feedback would make it impossible to mount 18 microphones directly under 8 ceiling-mounted speakers.