Over the past week I have been checking out some interesting new activities involving Skype video. I wrote about my experience with the Logitech HD Pro C920 and there are at least two more posts coming next week involving new experiences with Skype HD video calling.
Video calling has always had its own inhibitions and etiquette, especially when it comes to nervousness about being seen “live” for whatever self-conscious reason. Everyone has his/her own dress code in this regard.
But I’ve also learned that sometimes there are other social aspects to consider, especially when using Skype for TV. For instance, you have to be aware when others in the home may want to actually watch a TV program (is Skype for TV allowed during today’s Super Bowl in your home?). So you have to schedule Skyping on your TV appropriately. You probably want to think about the condition of the room from which you are calling; it’s probably not exactly a neat and tidy television news production studio.
But apparently there are other considerations also….
For developers planning to develop TV-based applications Skype lays out an entire etiquette under the topic “Design for TV: Skype on Your TV: A 6-Step Guide for Success” (you have to be a registered developer to see the entire guide):
What Makes TVs Different?
Despite recent advances, a television remains a primarily passive device—we watch it for extended periods of time rather than use it to converse, surf the Web, or run other software applications. And we rarely appreciate being interrupted when watching our favorite show!
Amber MacArthur, a Toronto-based social media guru (and author of the AmberMac test for Skype), is a frequent and long time user of Skype video, both for family calls and her participation on various video podcasts. Recently she was preparing to participate in an upcoming Fast Company show and received from her husband, Chris Dick (a video production expert), a list of things to remember when setting up for a web video conversation. She subsequently posted them in an extended Facebook post:
Here they are – please let me know if you have anything else to add to the list (I like #5 the best;):
1. Have a USB headset/microphone combination for maximum effect – failing that, use a pair of earbuds.
2. If you are using the on-board microphone, find a quieter location than a loud coffee shop or central office hub, both to minimize noise and possible colleague/passerby interference
3. If there is a large window or other light source, position yourself so YOU can look at it – rather than have it behind you, you don’t want to be backlit.
4. If you have an Ethernet connection for your Internet source please take advantage of it; wifi can occasionally be subject to drop outs
5. And lastly pop in a breath mint, you’d be surprised how advanced Skype is now 🙂
Certainly the first four are great tips and reflect my own experiences. However, imputing new features to Skype is an ongoing dialogue, especially for geeks. But this one has to amuse. Definitely not a new feature reported in the recent upgrades to Skype 5.8 for Windows and Skype 5.5 for Mac announced this past week.
Bottom Line: We’ll have to check out the SkypeKit developer information for the Halitosis API. And will we see Skype-certified breath mints on the Skype Store? Is it another intrusion into our privacy?
P.S. – Amber was the pioneer in using Skype for TV broadcasts: Skype Video for “Live On Location” Television – long before Oprah.