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Participating in a Zoom Video Conference

Important Reminder: Persons participating in video proceedings are reminded of the general prohibition against photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings. Any recording of a court proceeding held by video or teleconference, including “screen-shots” or other visual or audio copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions, including removal of court-issued media credentials, restricted entry to future hearings, denial of entry to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by the court.

General

Preparing properly as a case participant will ensure all involved will have a good experience and avoid unnecessary delay.  It is important that you pay close attention to this guidance and it is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with this software before participating in a court hearing.  

Zoom Account and Software

  1. Participants: You can attend a Zoom hearing on your iPhone/Android with the Zoom App or you can attend from a computer via a browser (Chrome is highly recommended) at https://zoomgov.com.  A paid Zoom account is not necessary for any interaction with the court. 
  2. It is not necessary to register with Zoom in order to participate in court hearings.  Rather, the Court will send to you a meeting ID and password when you are scheduled to attend.  This information will be necessary when attending via a mobile device. Please note that meeting information should be considered sensitive and only be used by the parties involved in the hearing.  
  3. Always keep your App or browsers up to date for security purposes.  The Court's Zoom account is FedRamp certified and encrypted. 
  4. The Court strongly recommends the use of earphones with a microphone for participants to allow the audio quality of your participation sufficient to be captured by stenographers.
  5. Attendees: Zoom video viewing for non-case participants (such as the media or the public) is not available at this time.  Attendees interested in listening to a hearing via telephone should refer to the instructions found here.

Settings

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)

Learning

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:

  1. Video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200521865-Video
  2. Audio: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200319096-Audio
  3. Learn how to easy mute/unmute with Push to talk:
    https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000510003-Push-to-Talk
  4. 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

Recommendations

  1. 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 be heard and can hear others with maximum quality.
  2. Mute your phone, and mute all sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat messaging, etc.).
  3. Avoid using a mobile device if possible. Although tablets (iPads) and smartphones can be used, they are very limited, and the performance is inferior.
  4. Avoid using battery power only (laptops, etc.). Plug into a good power source while in a Zoom meeting.
  5. Avoid noisy and echoing locations. Use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.
  6. Avoid distracting real or virtual backgrounds. Suitable example: ZoomGrey01.jpg
  7. Avoid poor camera positioning (if possible). Try to frame yourself so you take up most the screen, and at eye level.
  8. Avoid using WiFi if possible. Connection via a hard-wire Ethernet cable will always be faster and more reliable than WiFi. If you must use WiFi, make sure you’re in close range.
  9. Avoid running any unnecessary applications besides Zoom, to conserve your computer’s processing power and networking.
  10. For home networks, if possible, avoid sharing your internet service with others during the session.

Before Every Court Session using Zoom

  1. Connect your device to power.
  2. Make sure your internet connection is good:
    https://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-speed.html
  3. Test your video.
  4. Test your audio.
  5. Turn off all audio disruptions (phones, messaging alerts, email alerts, etc.)
  6. 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