Yesterday Jon was kind enough to join me for a final test of my redesigned Zoom system. What I needed was confirmation that the video looks good enough at his end for a game to be practical, and I'm delighted to report that we have a thumbs-up.
I set up a WSS battlefield, for something to look at (boards with hex side up, to give some more detail to check on), placed one of my new StreamCams at each end of the table (that would normally mean one camera on each flank, since my games are normally played across the table). I hosted the "meeting" on my desktop iMac, connected to Cam1, and my laptop was a guest, connected to Cam2. It may be possible to use camera sharing to simplify this further, but the length of the cable runs is problematic, so the "one computer at each end of the table" works nicely for the present. Remote generals may select ("pin" in Zoom-speak) either of the two table views at will, without affecting anyone else.
This table is 8ft x 5ft, and the auto-focus is switched off on each camera. Here's a screenshot of the host's Gallery view of the test - click on the image to enlarge it. The picture on the right is Cam1 (looking from the Garden Room end!), so this view is direct from Cam1, as received, and should be as perfect as the camera and the computer's HD handling can produce; on the left is Cam2 (looking from the Hallway end), and this picture has been received by the host via broadband, courtesy of Zoom's server. Thus comparison of the quality of the two pictures gives a direct assessment of the resolution loss caused by the trip to Zoom and back.
Things to note here are:
(1) There is obviously a slight degradation between right and left, but it isn't bad at all, is it? The loss is less than I expected.
(2) For a remote attendee, both views would be of the quality of the left hand picture, since (obviously) all video is coming from Zoom.
(3) We agreed that some supporting maps and documentation would be necessary, since you really can't identify a unit completely from the view on screen, but Jon feels that this set-up would handle a game with no problems.
Good - I'm ready to get back to this stuff now. I shall not be listing my webcams on eBay! Interested guest generals please form an orderly queue. Thanks again, Jon.