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Overview

To support teamwork across locations, countries and even continents, we gradually transfer (specific) physical meetings along the Business Design process into the virtual world with the help of tools. Here is a list of tools we use in our (home) offices on a daily basis.

We will update this page frequently over the next weeks.



Software

ToolComment
Microsoft TeamsThe standard in the corporate world for instant messaging. Well integrated into other Microsoft services, such as Sharepoint. Frankly speaking, we are not a big fan of it since the UI is not very transparent (even confusing). Nevertheless, we are happy to use it if it makes things easier.
SlackA great tool for instant messaging with different channels, nice plugins to enhance the functionality and various possibilities to integrate the system into others tools and workflows.
ZoomThe best video conferencing tool we know. The system allows you to open several channels for breakout sessions, collaboration tools and effects such as virtual whiteboards, screen sharing, chroma keying. Check it out!
Project WorkspaceManagement software specifically developed for Business Design with great features to set up projects, document results, visualise data from the Discover and Validate phase and work virtually on templates - in real-time.
MiroA nice tool for ideation and creativity sessions - pretty much a virtual whiteboard with real-time sync.
Audio HijackThis little tool for MacOS allows you to route and mix any input source to any output. Why is this helpful? Feed your Spotify player and your USB microphone right into your video conference software, or blend the sound of Youtube videos and your microphone, well,...the possibilities are endless.

Hardware

ToolCommentPictures
Elgato Camlink 4KAdapter to connect your DSLR or camcorder to your computer and video conferencing system. Works great for both Windows and MacOS. Keep in mind that 4k videos requires a powerful internet connection with high bandwidth.

Elgato KeyLight

Easy-to-mount video lights with a good bang for the buck. Can be easily controlled by smart phone app or your computer via WLAN (on/off,  temperature, intensity). Take two (left and right) to avoid shadows.


ps: If you want to turn your home office into a video studio, these lights might be interesting for you:

They are much better than the Elgato lights, but a bit clumsy.

Blackdesign ATEM Mini (Pro)

ATEM Mini is a simple yet powerful video switcher. This is a great if you need more than one camera for your setup, since it allows you to switch between different HDMI sources. It also comes with a superb green screen function. Just connect a second computer (with HDMI output) to the switcher to show Powerpoint slides (or other visuals) on your green screen. The Pro version allows web streaming (e.g. on YouTube) without any additional hardware, which is super cool.

ps: You don't need the Elgato Camlink 4k if you pick up this device.

Elgato "Green Screen" / Chroma Key PanelA green screen is a a green "wall" that enables you to "layer" different images together. This comes in handy if you want to show background images for training purposes behind you as an instructor. You can basically use any green blanket or linen or simply pick up  the one from Elgato. 

Manfrotto

The "Magic Arm" as well as the "Super Clamp" and a small ball head (e.g. Manfrotto 496 + Adapter Spigot) are sturdy, high-quality gear to mount your camera, lights and microphones to your desk.


Optional: Manfrotto Camera Stand with 3-way pan/tilt head

Rode NT USB MiniA good external condenser microphone is the Rode. Connect it directly to our your computer via USB. Sometimes you get a delay using USB mics. You can also connect a microphone  directly to your camera (instead of your computer), which ensures synched picture and audio. 

Canon Powershot G7X Mark III

This version of the Canon is compatible with Camlink 4K and features a clean HDMI output, which is essential to use it with Teams, Slack or Zoom. This camera is also compatible to a brand new plug-in for Windows and Mac OS called EOS Webcam Utility that allows you to connect the camera directly to any video conference software (without further hardware). Don't forget to order a 220V power adapter!

A good alternative is the SONY Alpha 6300 / 6400. 

Sound Devices MixPre-3 IIThis is a semi-professional audio mixer, interface and recorder for up to five channels. Well, this device is not essential but provides high-quality (32 bit) ADDA converters for pristine sound for your microphones.

Shure SM 7BA well-known dynamic speaker and recording microphone with XLR connector (professional alternative to Rode NT USB), don't forget to order a suitable boom arm and XLR cable to mount the microphone to your desk (e.g. Rode PSA-1).

Computer...and finally: Streaming HD / 4k videos with proper sound to many people in a video conference requires a good internet connection (> 50 MBit/s) and a proper laptop with RAM (> 8 GB), processor performance (> dual 3 GHz), and a decent graphics card. A simple MacBook is often not capable enough to handle so many data at the same time. The new Apple Mac mini + display is a good deal for this.