IPEVO TOTEM 180 – Turn your (class)room into a conference room.
You may have tried to capture a group of students or colleagues for a video call using your laptop or tablet. If you have, you will immediately have noticed there are several inconveniences to this scenario. In order to get everyone in the picture you need to place the device at some distance. The bigger the group, the larger the distance, and even getting just 3 or 4 people in the picture probably meant moving your device so far away you could no longer reach the controls. Even if you managed to finally make this work, the resulting video feed probably didn’t look the way you would have wanted.
Why does my video look so bad?
While video calls have become an integral part of our (working) life, we are still very much mastering the concept. That’s really no surprise, considering the fact very few of us ever got any formal training on how to best conduct video calls and how to get the best results no matter your budget. During the pandemic, many were suddenly forced to use a videoconferencing solution for work or school and made do with whatever was at hand or could be easily and affordably obtained. This resulted in a standard where poor quality laptop cameras were the norm. These cameras not only had poor definition, but sub-optimal placement, showing the speaker from a downward angle, or “up the nose”. Add to that the fact that lighting conditions are not always the best and simple cameras have no way to deal with or mitigate those poor lighting conditions.
Understanding why we don’t look as good as we would like in a videocall goes a long way towards solving many of the issues that cause this. Substituting a laptop camera with a higher quality USB camera can improve image definition. Placing the camera a little higher and facing forward instead of slightly up creates a more natural view. Giving more thought to proper illumination also helps to improve the online experience of students and colleagues. Many situations still require a little more thought and planning. Webcams are normally designed as personal devices, with a narrow field of view that is great for focussing on the individual speaker without too much distraction form anything around them, but getting 2 or more people in the same frame is a challenge. A narrow field of view means the camera needs to be placed further away. This can be challenging in smaller spaces or with larger groups. In turn, the laptop the camera is connected to needs to be placed out of easy reach.
A second issue with this kind of setup is audio quality. Noise reduction on laptop and webcam microphones is usually based on beamforming: only sounds within a specific range (similar to the camera’s field of view) are picked up. Sitting further away from the microphone has a negative impact on this kind of noise reduction and often results in poor audio quality.
IPEVO TOTEM 180 solves these issues in a high quality, light-weight format:
- TOTEM 180 is designed to be placed directly on the table with the cameras facing horizontally forward.
- Superior brightness adjustment provides a clear image even in challenging lighting conditions.
- A 2-meter-long USB cable allows placement far from the laptop it is connected to.
- The 180-degree wide angle field of view ensures everyone is in the picture.
- The built-in microphones have a 5-meter audio pick-up radius and built-in noise reduction.
Features in depth:
180-degree view. IPEVO TOTEM 180 features a unique design with two 4-megapixel cameras working together to provide a true 180-degree view. The images from both cameras are combined using IPEVO’s proprietary video stitching technique, resulting in a single wide view image.
Not every situation requires a 180-degree view, and TOTEM 180 comes with 2 additional modes to make the best of every situation. Holding the camera button for 3 seconds will switch to 120-degree mode. While still wider than a standard field of view, this mode allows you to capture smaller groups.
A short press on the camera button activates the AI Auto Framing mode. In this mode the camera automatically adjusts the field of view to the participants in the call. Fewer people sitting together and the camera narrows the field. More people or sitting wider apart and the camera broadens the angle to include everyone.
The slider between the two cameras allows for a 12-degree vertical adjustment for fine-tuning the camera view.
If you want to get even more out of the camera, you can use IPEVO Eyestage software which includes features like picture in picture, split screen, and face tracking when more than one camera is in use.
Background noise reduction. The two omnidirectional microphones in TOTEM 180 come with noise reduction and ensure you can be clearly heard from anywhere within their 5-meter range.
Flexible positioning. TOTEM 180’s cone shaped base means that, despite the camera standing 26,4cm tall, it is incredibly stable. The included 2-meter USB-C cable allows you to easily place the camera wherever it is most convenient. If you wish to put the camera on a stand instead of on a table, there is a standard thread hole in the base of the camera. The camera also features a security slot for a Kensington lock. TOTEM 180 is compatible with Windows and Mac as well as with Chromebooks that have a USB-C port.
For all the technology included TOTEM 180 is still very portable. It weighs only 363 grams and is 26,4cm tall, with a maximum width at the base of just 7.2cm. It is easy carry and sturdy conferencing camera, and setting up takes seconds: just place the camera on a table, connect the USB-C cable and you are ready to use it with your preferred video conferencing platform.
TOTEM 180 is compatible with all major Video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.