Last week we explored some of the technology options for improving your video and audio on videos and web calls. Today, we want to take a look at options for replicating the use of a document camera or whiteboard over Zoom. 

Dr. Todd Barsby, Associate Dean of Science and Technology at VIU, has captured his “document camera” setup and process in this short video: 

Todd uses two webcams and a tripod to capture his face as well as what he’s writing live in Zoom. You can follow his directions in the video above, or the written steps below to set this up for your own teaching. 

What you need 

  • A Microsoft computer 
    • The Mac version of Zoom does not currently (as of June 2020) support rotating the input from a camera.
  • At least one USB webcam 
    • The integrated camera on your laptop can be used to capture you, but not your writing. 
    • If you have two USB webcams, you can use one to capture your video and one to capture your writing. 
  •  A flexible tripod
    • If you don’t own a tripod, you may be able to use a second monitor, or something else you already own to hold your webcam in place over your paper. The import thing is that the camera is stable and can focus on the area you want to share. 
  • A Zoom account (sign in at http://viu.zoom.us)  and the latest version of the Zoom client (download from https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting) for your computer.  
  • Paper and pencil or pen 

Physical equipment set up

  1. Connect your webcam to an available USB port on your computer and install any necessary software or drivers as prompted. 
  2. Connect your webcam to your tripod and place it so the camera is pointing directly down at your paper. 

Lighting tip: If you have a small desk lamp, you can position this too help reduce shadows on your writing surface.

Before you start your Zoom meeting

  1. Open the Zoom app on your computer 
  2. Click the Cog icon in the upper right to open Settings
  3. Go to Video 
  4. Using the drop-down menu under the video preview, select your document camera 
  5. Make sure Mirror my video is unchecked 
  6. Click the Rotate 90° in the upper right of the video preview until the video is oriented so you can read something written on your page
  7.  Close the Settings window

In Zoom meeting

  1. Click Share Screen
  2. Go to the Advanced tab 
  3. Select Content from 2nd Camera 
  4. Click Share 
    1. If Zoom shares the wrong camera, click Switch Camera in the top left of your shared video to switch to the correct camera 
  5. When you are finished, click Stop Share 

Use your phone as a second camera

If you have a smartphone, you can also use your phone as a second camera instead of acquiring a second webcam.

If you use this option, make sure you only turn on audio on either your computer or your phone and not both to avoid echos or feedback.

Have Questions? 

If you have any questions about using Zoom in your teaching, please contact CIEL at learnsupport@viu.ca