Preparing for a VRI session is easy and usually only takes a few minutes. Here are the steps to prepare for a VRI:
- Review Hardware/Software Specifications
Using the hardware/software information in our Technical Requirements article, identify a suitable computer with webcam, speakers, microphone. If using external webcam: install the webcam using the drivers that came with it.
There is no desktop application that you will need to download. Simply login to your account on our website in any of the supported browsers:
- Google Chrome (recommended)
- Mozilla Firefox
- Review Internet Requirements
Visit http://www.speedtest.net/ (no plugins required)
- Bandwidth: 2 Mbps upstream/downstream strongly recommended; minimum 1 Mbps upstream/downstream supported
- 4G LTE connections/mobile hotspots are sufficient for most situations with an adequate connection to your LTE service provider; however, LTE quality is heavily influenced by your location and by the number of users connected to the same cellphone tower as you. Interpreters should always rely on wired Internet service over LTE service for consistent network quality.
- 3G connections/mobile hotspots not recommended but may be sufficient for two-party calls when the 3G connection is not in use by other Internet applications and you have a strong connection to your 3G service provider
- Set up your workspace with all necessary equipment and test it before accepting the calls.
Although we support VRI on the mobile devices (using Booslingo apps), accepting video calls on the mobile apps is not recommended due to many external factors that can affect the call quality when being outside of your professional workplace (unstable connection, noises, moving the device etc.)
Use the following tips to enhance the video quality:
- Make Sure You Have a Good Connection. (supported bandwidth was mentioned above). At all costs, try to host your video calls through a personal, high-speed Internet connection that won’t be subject to the bandwidth usage of shared Internet users. Also, shut down any other programs that might interfere with the bandwidth necessary to maintain a high-quality call. For instance, it’s not a good idea to download files while video chatting. Finally, understand that cable Internet companies generally only promise download speeds “up to” the level you’re paying for. So if you’re paying for a speed “up to” 10 Mbps, you may only get one or two Mbps during peak times of the day. This is because cable lines are usually shared – if everyone on your block gets home and starts streaming Netflix at 6pm on Monday, the download speed for everyone is diminished. If you’re using cable Internet, try to schedule your video chats during non-peak times, or consider upgrading to a faster Internet speed.
- Use a Wired Internet Connection. You almost always get better Internet speeds when you’re plugged into a wired Internet connection. These save you from the finicky nature of some wireless connections that kick you offline without warning.
- Use a computer that meet our recommended specifications. Older computers and webcams, or low-end computers, or AMD computers that use all-in-one APU processors, often will not have the horsepower to provide the best audio and video quality. For example, while in a VRI call that has poor quality, if you notice that your self-view window does not display a smooth video feed of yourself, odds are good that your computer is struggling to keep up with your webcam's video processing demands. This can occur when your computer's graphics processor is inadequate for real-time videoconferencing applications. Another indicator is if your CPU usage is also very high, or if you see a lot of CPU spikes, either in general or while on a VRI call. Using a computer with better graphics and processing capabilities should help solve this. Please see the hardware requirements on our Technical Requirements article.
- Invest in in HD Webcam. The webcams that come built into laptops and some desktops often do not have the speed or quality desired for video remote interpreting. In most cases, the frame rates drop off considerably unless you have a ton of light in the room. This will cause video trailing, video splotches and artifacts, "yellowing" of your subjects, and many other quality issues. We always recommend external webcams that come with their own optimized drivers and software.
- Pay Attention to Lighting. One surefire way to hurt your video quality is to sit with your back to a window or a bright light. When light is shining toward your back and into the camera lens, it makes everything in the foreground – that’s you – show up dark. By turning your computer so you’re side-lit or front-lit, you can vastly improve your picture. Truly good video consists of a subject bathed in natural light that originates from behind the camera. Setting up your chat in front of an open, sunny window is one way to achieve this effect, but if you have a hard time controlling the light at your location, you can always create fake “natural lighting.”
- Give Yourself a Background. Cameras love context. Leaning against a wall while chatting online might feel comfortable, but it makes it harder for the person on the other end of the conversation to draw visual perspective. Try to choose a wall or background that offers some contrast without being overly busy – but, more importantly, provide space between your body and the background. Consider chatting in a location that’s a few feet away from a wall.
- Don’t Overlook Audio. As important as it is for you to look nice on camera, it’s equally important – possibly more important – that your voice be clear and intelligible. You can easily improve your audio by investing in a set of headphones with an external microphone. This offers better sound and cuts down on the background noise your computer’s microphone is likely to pick up. Also, using headphones helps reduce speaker feedback. If you’re not wearing headphones while chatting online, your computer microphone picks up the other person’s voice from the speakers and creates a feedback loop.
- Explore our Knowledge Base for Solutions to Issues
If you run into issues while preparing your computer and network, please use the Search tool at the top of this support site https://boostlingo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ to help you find answers. We have several articles covering webcam issues, video troubleshooting steps, and many other topics.
- Contact Us
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you continue to have trouble setting up your computer for a VRI.