Videoconferencing Logistics: Video Tips
As a provider prepares to begin a videoconferencing assessment or treatment session, steps should be taken to ensure the clarity and quality of the video image (Luxton et al., 2014; Myers et al., 2017). A clear video image can facilitate rapport, as well as the collection of information through direct and real-time behavioral observations. As it can sometimes be difficult for a provider or patient to recognize how they appear on another person’s videoconferencing screen, the provider should take steps to maximize their own video image, and also to guide the patient. The following are tips to foster proper video image throughout the sessions. Tips can be broadly classified as relating to clothing, before-session factors, during-session factors, and post-session factors.
While people often wish to “look good” for videoconferencing, careful consideration should be given to the type of clothing one wears. More specifically, providers and patients should avoid highly textured, striped, checkered, or patterned clothing. Further, they should avoid very bright or reflective colors (e.g., bright whites), as well as reds or oranges (Simpson et al., 2016). Each noted type of clothing has been suggested to interfere with the camera’s focus, creating visual issues (Lozano et al., 2015; Simpson et al., 2016). For example, Lozano and colleagues (2015) suggested that highly textured and brightly pattered backgrounds or clothing can create a higher demand for the amount of data that needs to be transmitted, potentially creating slower transmission of information for weaker systems. Nevertheless, on a simpler level, the pattered or bright clothing can be distracting for others, especially for those with attention-related difficulties. In addition to general clothing, the provider and patient should avoid “jangly” or dangling jewelry due to the high likelihood of such accessories being distracting (Lozano et al., 2015; Simpson et al, 2016). Finally, consideration should be given to glasses. For those who wear glasses, monitoring and adjusting may be necessary to avoid light glaring off the lenses into the camera. Further, and more specific to the provider, glasses can accidentally reflect something that the provider does not want the patient to see (e.g., patient notes, a personal belonging off-screen), thus requiring the provider to self-monitor (Simpson et al., 2016).