You can add a live webcam or desktop source from another location into your Studio production. This is called Remote Guests (formerly known as Live Interview) and is a helpful solution when trying to produce a virtual event.
Guest(s) will need an Internet connection, Google Chrome, a webcam, and a microphone connected to their computer.
It is strongly recommended that audio is provided to any local hosts or interviewer directly via the headphone out jack on your Studio unit using headphones, IFB's, etc. Otherwise, there will be a distinct echo in your stream during the interaction.
Invite Remote Guests
Navigate to the Inputs tab. Select Add Input > Remote Guests > Add remote guests. (You can also go to Settings: Project Format and select Remote guests tab under User Interface.)
A Guests tab will open. Within this panel are two tabs, Settings and Chat.
When Settings is selected, you will see a Guest link, which you can copy to your clipboard and send to your guests (via email, a messaging app, etc.)
If you have a Vimeo Enterprise or Livestream Enterprise account, you can add up to 10 guests; all other users can add up to 5. You will see an indicator message at the top of the Guests panel notifying you how many guests you can add.
If you use a USB dongle or Studio hardware unit to access Studio, log into a Vimeo or Livestream Enterprise account via the Stream tab to unlock 10 guests. Otherwise, you may have up to 5.
This guest link will remain constant with your Studio project unless you click Reset guest link. Note that different projects will have different URLs.
How Guests Join Studio
When the guest receives the link, they should open it in Google Chrome on a computer.
Remote Guest only works with desktop Chrome; there is currently no support for this feature on other browsers or mobile devices.
Opening the link will bring the guest to the guest lobby. If this is the guest's first time opening this page, Google Chrome will request permission to access their camera and microphone. Mac users may also see a prompt to allow Chrome to access their camera and microphone; all of these permissions should be allowed.
Once all devices are allowed, the guest can enter their name and click Join to connect to the Studio session.
When a guest has joined, they will see their camera feed in the bottom right corner overlaying the Program output, a Broadcast Preview notification, and hear Program audio.
They also have access to the internal chat with you (the Host) and all connected guests. Guests can access or collapse the chat by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner of their portal.
Screen Sharing and Other Guest Controls
Guests can choose to share their screen rather than their webcam by clicking the Share screen button in the upper right corner. This is useful if the guest is giving a presentation or demonstration on their computer.
This will open a Chrome window allowing them to choose between a full desktop screen, an application window (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint), or a specific tab in Google Chrome.
Once they click Share, their webcam input will be replaced by the selected screen source.
Some other controls your Guests have include:
- Stop Video: Will stop sending their video (but will still send audio)
- Mute: Will stop sending audio to Studio (i.e. mutes their own microphone, continues to send video)
- Settings: Allows users to select a different webcam and audio source, if available.
- Leave Interview: They can exit the interview.
Showing Remote Guests in Studio
In Studio, you will see your guest(s) appear under the Guests tab after they have joined the Studio session, with the most recently connected guest appearing first.
You can add any individual guest as an input to your multi-view by clicking the corresponding + Add As Input button. Their audio will also become available in the Audio Mixer. When you have more than one guest available, you can add each of them as individual inputs.
You can also quickly create a gallery-view graphics overlay directly from the Guests tab by clicking the + Add As GFX button. This will by default include all guests plus the first input in Studio (i.e. the first input listed in the Inputs tab) in a single picture-in-picture graphic. This overlay can be added to multiple GFX tracks as needed.
If you wish to use a different input source to show the host or build a custom gallery view of you and your guests, you can edit and customize the graphics overlay. Each source can then be further customized such as using chroma key for a guest sitting in front of a green screen.
You can then switch in your graphics overlay using the corresponding GFX controls in the upper right corner of the Studio interface. Audio from all available inputs will come into Program alongside it.
When a guest is switched into Program (either individually or part of a group), they will see a red On Air indicator in the upper left corner, letting them know that they are live.
There are additional settings under the Guest link area of the Settings tab that help create a more automated experience for the producer.
The Autopush feature is ideal for conversations where guests may be joining and leaving throughout the event and you will be using the gallery view graphics.
This feature will automatically update the gallery graphic in the selected GFX channel to reflect the current number of guest inputs. What this means is when you add or remove a guest input in the Guests panel (or the Inputs panel), a new gallery view GFX layer will be added to the selected GFX channel with the host camera and the current guest inputs, and then automatically push to the Program Output.
Open the dropdown menu and choose which GFX channel should automatically update.
Note that all previous gallery GFX layers will still be available in the GFX list, but they will be deselected when the new one is created. If you want to remove an old layer, you can right-click on it and select Delete.
Below this is Auto switch. Checking this box will automatically switch whichever guest is actively speaking into the Program Output.
To use this feature, make sure you've added each guest as an input individually.
Keep in mind that graphics, including the gallery view overlay, will cover any camera switching. We recommend not enabling Autopush if you wish to use Auto switch.
When selecting this, you can select which input is the host camera (i.e. if it's a locally connected camera), which allows Studio to recognize which camera is part of the active conversation and switch it in as needed, alongside the guest inputs. If only the guest inputs should be auto switched during conversation, choose None.
You can manually configure when Studio should switch between guests by clicking the Manual adjustment button. You’ll then see three default thresholds which you can adjust:
- Check interval (ms): How often Studio checks the remote guest inputs for a sustained switch in audio.
- Switch delay (ms): How long Studio waits before switching the speaking source into the Program Output.
- Activation margin (dB): How loud a source needs to reach for Studio to determine it should switch.
If you want someone else on your team to have control over switching guests in and out of Program, add your guests as inputs, then add your team member as a Web Control user.
Note that the remote inputs synchronization setting does not affect remote guest inputs.
Accessibility Tip: It is possible to host a remote guest session where the guest acts as a picture sign language interpreter to the main host. The guest will see themselves in the bottom right corner and they can perform sign language to accompany the speech in the host's video feed. You can position and scale the guest's GFX to their preference.
Communicating with guests
All guests have access to the internal chat via the remote guest portal in the browser. You, the Studio user, can access this chat by selecting the Chat tab on the left side of the Guests panel. Internal communications should occur here during your stream to ensure standby audio does not interrupt the live event.
If you prefer to verbally communicate with your guests prior to going live, you can hear their audio via their source in the Audio Mixer once they join the Studio session (even before you add them as an input), and they will hear Program audio, which would allow the host to speak to them if their audio source is in Program.
Since the guests only hear Program audio, it's recommended that any internal audible conversation with them concludes before you go live. Any communications after the stream starts should stay in the chat box, or be a part of the event.
Remove Guests from Studio
You can disconnect a guest from Studio by navigating to the Guests tab, hovering your cursor over their image and clicking the trash can icon. The guest will receive a notification that the host ended their session.
Troubleshooting: Guests' camera and microphone not appearing
If a guest is not seeing their camera or microphone activate in the guest lobby in their browser, there are two common causes for this: browser permissions and network firewalls.
Browsers will request permission to access your guest's camera and microphone the first time they open the guest lobby page. If they are initially denied permission, they will need to go into their browser's settings and manually enable them.
If the guest is using Google Chrome, here's how to do this:
- Open Chrome.
- At the top-right, click the More icon (three vertical dots) > Settings.
- At the bottom, click Advanced.
- Under 'Privacy and security', click Site settings.
- Click Camera or Microphone.
- Turn Ask before accessing on.
They should then be able to permit your camera and microphone each time they click on a guest link.
If the guest is using a corporate network (office, school, conventions center, etc.), where they or their IT team may need to ensure the proper firewall ports are open to incoming and outgoing communication.
In addition to the standard firewall ports all encoders need open, the guest will need to open the following which allows for WebRTC signaling and discovery:
- TCP 3478
- TCP 19305
- TCP 19307
- TCP 443
A quick test to know if the issue is down to blocked ports would be to connect the laptop to a mobile data hotspot on a phone for a few minutes and then test it again. If the webcam video comes through, then we know there is something blocking video on the original network.