Collaboration with Video Conferencing

Today, anyone who can fog a mirror uses Zoom, the video conferencing app du jour. To hear some talk, you would think they invented video conferencing. I first used video conferencing in the early 1990s to conduct engineering project status reviews. We were in San Diego, the customer was in Japan and the technology was in the Dark Ages. The video was herky-jerky and the audio snapped, crackled and popped worse than a bowl of Rice Krispies. Worse, syncing the two was laughable. We just waited 10-20 seconds for the image to catch up to the voice. Still, it was cheaper and more productive than flying 5 engineers to Tokyo for a week.

From that humble beginning, I knew video conferencing was the future. Ten years later, when I started teaching photography classes, I tried to use video conferencing to widen my market reach. The technology was vastly improved but the human penchant for clinging to “the old ways” was far stronger than I ever imagined. Students wanted a traditional classroom with a “real” live instructor. Even the college administrators where I taught wanted a warm body. Defeated, I gave up on video conferencing.

Covid-19 has reignited my passion for video conferencing as a way to collaborate with other artists in ways never before imaginable. Today, I’m semi-retired from photography and my interests have shifted to fine art printing. I no longer get up at “zero dark thirty” to catch “the first light”. Instead, I obsess over prints, searching for ways to better match the print to the artists’ original vision.

But, all is not yet peachy in this brave new world. Collaborating on works of art brings a new set of challenges.

TFine Art Reproduction by Yoshimatsu - Collaboration Video Conferencinghe photo to the left is Red Cloud by a local artist. In the lower left corner, you’ll see a stroke of purple that is just outside the gamut of inkjet printers. (cropped and enlarged to better see color, below)

Red Cloud corner-0302 -Collaboration Video Conferencing

Zoom has a Screen Share function that lets me share images on the viewers’ monitor. Unfortunately, most clients don’t have calibrated monitors so we can’t be sure we’re both seeing the same thing. It would be too much to expect artists to buy $1000 monitors and $500 calibrators, not to mention gain the experience needed to create accurate profiles.

My next post will address how people meeting via video can be sure each is seeing the same thing. (hint – this involves objects with known color.)