Bad Marketing Photography

Let's just get it out there - I'm not fond of marketing photography. Why do I have such a problem? False advertising. I've seen too many marketing documents either portraying video conferencing wrong or photoshopping key items out of pictures.
Polycom's invisible camera

Here is a marketing picture that's missing something kind of important for video conferencing: the video camera. I assume it wasn't even installed for the photo shoot. When you design something in a place where a marketing department feels compelled to remove it, it's bad news.

Here's what it looks like with the actual camera in the photo.



Cisco ix5000

Have a look at this marketing picture from Cisco of their new ix5000. Everything looks great, it appears that the people on the far end are looking right at the local participants. What you're seeing is  coached professional photography where the far end participants were instructed to look at the camera to give the false impression of eye contact. Now imagine if the farthest left participant in the local room was wanting to talk to the farthest person to the right in the remote room (the person sitting directly across the table if they were in the same room). The camera would be capturing each of them at so high of an angle that they would both appear to be looking very far off screen. Yet we'll never see that in a brochure any time soon.

Go to Google and do an image search for "video conference". What you'll find are hundreds of examples of false advertising. Big participants with perfect eye contact. It simply doesn't happen and it's poor form that marketing folk feel the need to falsely promote what doesn't exist except under the most (im)perfect of circumstances. Imperfect because if the remote participants appear to have perfect eye contact, they are actually looking at a camera, not at you, rendering video conferencing absolutely pointless.

Yeah, let's have our back to the camera. Why doesn't the sales and marketing team show that view in their next brochure?


How about this one? Cables aren't even necessary for this one. Plus the camera is in the most ludicrous location possible. Unless that thing has a great vertical field of view, it's going to capture that woman's neck and shirt. Even if the FOV reached her face, the camera is pointing directly up her nose. Maybe looking at your camera and not the person is a good idea after all...

Video conferencing will never look like the marketing pictures. If a customer buys off on the technology, they will absolutely be disappointed with the result if the pictures are their expectation.

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