Technical Deep Dive: How We Live Streamed
Zoomtopia Without a Hitch
October 20, 2017 by Kristen Klein
Part of Zoom’s mission is to enable collaboration and communication no matter where you are or what device you’re using. When we decided to host Zoomtopia, our first in-person user conference this year, we knew we needed to broadcast the event on Zoom to all our customers who would be unable to attend in person.
First, our mainstage content was streamed live using the Zoom Video Webinars platform. We pushed the stream out through our platform and broadcasted the sessions live to our company Facebook page. We also used Zoom to bring in a remote speaker. We were thrilled to host Bob Myers at Zoomtopia but due to his schedule, he needed to be remote at the Warriors training camp. It was important to make the session feel authentic and as if he were onstage with his co-presenter. Finally, we used Zoom to record all of the sessions, for those we live streamed, and those we didn’t.
So how did we make this all come together without a hitch? We’ll expose all our secrets, right down to the nuts and bolts…
Zoom requires at least 3Mbps up/down bandwidth to achieve flawless audio, video, and screen sharing. Ideally for event broadband traffic and call traffic we prefer a minimum of 10 Mbps up/down on a hardwired Ethernet or fiber connection (Coax and Twisted Pair DSL).
Mac: MacBook Pro/Mac Pro with at least Quad-Core i7 CPU, minimum 16 gigs of Ram, and a hardwired network connection
PC: PC with at least Quad-Core i7 CPU, 16 gigs of ram, and 1.5 gigs dedicated graphics
For any computer, we recommend two monitors if you are managing and presenting the session. If a dual monitor is not available, a second computer can be used to join as a panelist. For laptops bring one capable of receiving 1080p 29.97/33fps and 1080p 60fps
Video capture: Two USB or HDMI capture devices capable of capturing up to 1080p 29.97/33fps (video camera and content channels)
Video playback feed to production: A video conversion device to convert a second video signal from your CPU to your Event System (i.e. Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, DisplayPort to HDMI, HDMI to SDI converters), generally working with HD-SDI. We use this second monitor so that while running in dual screen mode (in the zoom client) the operator has controls on one screen (not visible to viewers) and the remote participants on the second screen (a clone of what is being sent to production for the operator)
Audio: A USB based external XLR Audio interface card
You will need up to three video scalers if your video hardware processing system does not have internal scalers.
Scaling video output from CPU to video system standard
Scaling video input to CPU to Zoom 1080p/720p 29.97/30 fps
Scaling content input to CPU to Zoom 1080p 29.97/30 fps
We recommend a HDMI or HD-SDI video feed from the production switch. Ideally the source is scaled to 1080p 29.97/30fps. This can be its own M/E or just a aux feed depending on your setup and desired result.
We recommend a 1080p 20.97/33fps feed. This feed should be separately switchable from the video feed; this can also be fed from a mixing bus depending on the desired webinar effect.
It is highly recommended that there be a Zoom video operator to:
Switch between still content and video content
Switch among active speakers
Pin different speakers to specified outputs
Ensure all participants connect properly
Zoom Software Host Setting Best Practices
Once all your gear is connected, there are a few settings on Zoom you should select to ensure you have the most control and your viewers have the best experience:
Select “Use Dual Monitors” (listed under general settings)
“Scale to fit my Zoom window when viewing screen shared by others” should be selected by default
Select “Enable HD” under the video section
Under video settings, select “16:9 widescreen”
Select “Enable mirror effect” (listed under video settings)
Select “Display participant’s name on their video”
Select “Hide Non-Video Participants”
In short: make sure you have enough bandwidth, wire in, make sure you have the right hardware and feeds, use Zoom (obviously), and make sure your Zoom settings are optimized for this use case. If you want to learn how Zoom can support your live events, sign up for a 1-1 demo with a Zoom product specialist today.
PS. Can’t get your head around the technical side of live streaming? We have an Online Event Consulting team dedicated to facilitating live events for you. Contact sales or check out this summary of their services.