Video-based communications technologies are not new. However, with increasing drivers for efficiency and cost-effectiveness in higher education, the use of this technology is being explored for what have traditionally been face-to-face activities. This article conceptualises the intricacies of influencing factors affecting the performance of video-based communications in student support activities. Considering video-based communication within student support as a complex adaptive system, the author aims to illustrate how a multitude of intrinsic and extrinsic variables interact and impact upon individual experiences. Using an illustrative diagram, the article explores how psychology and behavioural aspects integrate with communications theory, technological experience, task objectives and social presence theory to necessitate careful consideration of individual need and purpose when planning for technological implementation.