Introducing appear.in video conferencing

Apr 17, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (4 minute read)

Sometimes you find something simple, delightful, and easy, and you just run with it. Today, that means a new lightweight integration that makes it possible for you to launch simple video conferencing from appear.in for your next Lucid meeting.

I was reading the Founder’s Cabin newsletter from Josh Pigford at Baremetrics, where he mentioned how much his team enjoyed using appear.in for their team meetings. We’re always looking for great online communication technology to integrate, and we’ve been watching the evolution of WebRTC support with high hopes.

When I saw that appear.in was:

the appear.in logo

  1. Free,
  2. Had a documented way to integrate with them, and
  3. Didn’t require any special login or an email address from a giant internet company (ahem),

We contacted the team and asked about using appear.in with Lucid Meetings.

They said go for it, so we did.

Screenshot of our latest appear.in video conference
Look! We’re having an important video conference!

How it works

We’ve made it really easy to launch an appear.in video conference from your Lucid Meeting. The conference launches in a new window, which you can resize and position next to your Lucid Meeting window, move to a separate monitor, or whatever suits your fancy.

You can learn all about how to set this up for your account in the support docs

We don’t typically use video conferencing, as many of our remote teammates have too much trouble with their internet connections for it to work well. But when we do, I set up my screen like this.

Screenshot showing appear.in conference at top, Lucid meeting below
How I arrange the windows for our video calls

First, I put my laptop up on some books. Then, I put the video in a skinny window directly below my laptop camera. That way, when I look at the other people in the video, I’m also looking into the camera. It’s like pretend real eye contact, kinda sorta. Like we’re really connecting!

Screenshot of me failing to make eye contact
Almost like eye contact

Ok, not entirely. But it’s better than having the camera point up my nose, or show the side of my face when I'm looking at another monitor - sometimes the camera angle can be awkward!

Screenshot showing others looking less than awesome on video
Not John’s best angle. Step away, caller!

Then, I put the Lucid Meeting below the video conferencing window to take simple notes. If we start going through documents or more intense content in our Lucid meeting, I’ll make that window bigger or move it to another monitor.

Looking over my colleagues shoulders, I’ve seen that John likes to put the video conference to one side of the Lucid meeting, and Amy mostly lets it run in the background.

The technical details

You have to have a modern web browser that supports WebRTC to use this. That means Google Chrome, Firefox, or Opera; it doesn’t work with Internet Explorer or Safari. You’re also limited to a max of 8 people.

We found the audio to be pretty decent, but headphones are always a good idea for computer audio. Read more on the appear.in website here: appear.in FAQ

Our Recommendation

When I asked the people at appear.in if they had any concerns about whether we compete (we don’t - they do video, we do meeting process), they replied that they’re targeting a “younger market” than we are.

After recovering from that slap (unintended, I’m sure! They seem very nice.) I realized that they’d just given about the clearest recommendation we can give. To put that in less ageist terms:

Try appear.in video conferencing with a team when they're:

  1. Comfortable with computers and trying new technology
    WebRTC is still pretty new, and there can be hiccups. Roll with it and you’ll have fun.
    Screenshot of more video whackiness
    See? We’re having fun now!
  2. Casual
    Each video conference gets a unique URL composed of silly animal words. For our screenshots, you’ll see we met on the “selfish-louse” channel. Not something I’d want in front of a new client, but fine for our internal team or anyone with whom we have a good close relationship.
    Final screenshot, showing that the whacky's gone too far
    What are they doing? Surely we aren’t meant to take that too seriously.
  3. Ready to switch to alternate audio quickly
    Sometimes the internet waters are too rocky to make for a smooth video conversation. Sometimes the connection just gets too choppy to work. We’ve seen this with every online audio-video service out there, so rather than get too upset, we’re always prepared to switch when the video gets bad. In our case, we switch to the TurboBridge dial-in (phones just work, you know?).

Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

We’re having a good time using appear.in with our team, and think you will too.

Already love video conferencing for your remote teams, but haven’t yet locked your meeting process? Get yourself a Lucid Meetings account so you can run meetings that are fun AND productive at the same time!



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