Participating in a Zoom Video Conference
Important: Any recording of a court proceeding held by video or teleconference, including “screen-shots” or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions deemed necessary by the court.
If you will be a participant in a Zoom video conference with the court (attorney, witness, case party, etc.), preparing properly will ensure all involved will have a good experience using this system. Please note that the Court may provide phone only connectivity to observers of the proceedings.
For security and enforcement of court standards, the court may disable Zoom interactions (such as chat, screen share, whiteboard, Q&A, raise hand, react, etc.).
The court will assist with audio and video setup during a pre-hearing conference to ensure the quality is sufficient for participation. The court will not provide any technical support of your hardware in the event of hardware malfunction.
Zoom Account and Software
- Participants: If you do not already have a Zoom account, consider setting one up at https://zoom.us. A paid Zoom account is not necessary for any interaction with the court. Attendees do not need a Zoom account, but it does make using the system easier.
- Log into https://zoom.us/profile and set your name, phone and email. Including a photo will help identify you when connecting. Attendees do not need a Zoom profile or to provide any identity information.
- Install the latest Zoom Client for Meetings at https://zoom.us/download. Although Zoom can be used in a browser only, it is very limited. The full Zoom client is required for best functionality and best experience with the system.
- Always keep your software up to date! The Zoom Client automatically update itself upon launching the software, but you can also update it manually.
Zoom has a lot of settings, and as Zoom updates their system they may change aspects. Below are a few settings recommended by the court to improve your video conference.
- General: Ask me to confirm when I leave a meeting: ON (Helps prevent unintended departures)
- Video: Enable HD: OFF (Helps prevent poor video performance, and usually looks just as good as HD)
- Video: Always display participant names on their video: ON
- Video: Always show video preview dialog when joining a video meeting: ON (Final check before your video displays to others)
The court will only be using the audio and video functionality of Zoom. Other functions like text chat, screen sharing, etc., may not be used, and will likely be disabled for your session, so you only need to learn the basics of using Zoom for audio and video. Learn how to select the correct source for both, and how to mute/unmute your audio, and Start/Stop your video:
- Video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200521865-Video
- Audio: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200319096-Audio
- Learn how to easy mute/unmute with Push to talk: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000510003-Push-to-Talk
- Hot Keys and Keyboard Shortcuts to start/stop video, mute, etc.: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205683899-Hot-Keys-and-Keyboard-Shortcuts-for-Zoom
- Avoid using a mobile device if possible. Although tablets (iPads) and smartphones can be used, they are very limited, and the performance is inferior.
- Avoid using battery power only (laptops, etc.). Plug into a good power source while in a Zoom meeting
- Unless you’ve confirmed the quality is sufficient, avoid using an open microphone and speakers (such as are built-into laptops, or a webcam mic). Using a good quality headset (headphones with mic) will often help ensure you can hear and be heard with maximum quality.
- Avoid noisy and echoing locations. Use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.
- Avoid distracting real or virtual backgrounds.
- Check the lighting. Light from a window behind you might blind the camera, making you look dark. Light above you in the center of a room might also cast shadows. Ideally, position a lamp, or sit facing a window, where light is directly on your face
- Avoid bad camera positioning (if possible) and remember to look directly at the webcam, not at the screen.
- Avoid using WiFi if possible. Connection via a hard-wire Ethernet cable will always be faster and more reliable than WiFi.
Before Every Court Session using Zoom
- Connect your device to power.
- Make sure your internet connection is good: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-speed.html
- Test your video.
- Test your audio.
- Run a quick test to connect with another Zoom user, or use the Zoom test: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002262083-Joining-a-test-meeting