Problems with Manycam and Zoom (Lower resolution of video)

I had a Zoom Webinar and used Manycam and Zoom. Even though the video is 1920 x 1080 and clear on my computer (on both manycam and zoom window), and I put 1080p and 720p (tried both) on manycam, and I enabled HD in Zoom Video Settings, it was still a bit blur (lower resolution) from the participants’ view (I used another computer to see how it looked). Why is this so?

When I used Zoom normally to screenshare my computer, it’s totally clear on the participant’s end. Also, when I played the same video through VLC player and used Zoom to share the VLC player video, it was totally clear.

Only when I used Zoom with Manycam and played a video in manycam playlist did i encounter the lower resolution on the participant’s end?

What is wrong? Thanks.

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I have the same issue. I have used OBS and Ecamm Live as other live-streaming options and the resolution displayed to my video participants was far superior (but I prefer to use ManyCam.)

So there must be an issue with ManyCam’s settings which inadvertently is degrading the output resolution.

Can you find a fix please?

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Thanks playmeo. Would someone from manycam be able to respond to this thread?

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In most cases this is a zoom issue.
Zoom had announced that HD now has to be requested in advance for meetings of more than two screens. Otherwise, HD may be throttled. This seemed to kick in as schools opened and their bandwidth got slammed.

Not that Manycam doesn’t have issues and isn’t completely heavy and bloated.

Ace_Miles

I don’t think that’s the issue as playmeo mentioned using OBS and Ecamm and they produced better resolution than when using ManyCam. (I’m assuming he’s talking about using Zoom)

Also, whenever I use VLC player to play my video to Zoom instead of manycam, it’s so much clearer than manycam even though the same video is played.

So all the above makes me conclude that the issue doesn’t have anything to do with Zoom - especially the fact that I can use Zoom that shares the VLC player app and the video is so much better in resolution than if I use manycam to play that video.

Could we get someone from Manycam to at least respond?

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I had a similar puzzle with zoom and manycam. I believe this is an issue with zoom. Zoom video is played with no more than 720p resolution, sometimes lower. Zoom screen share, however, operates at a higher resolution which depends on what is being shared. I have obtained better than 1080p resolution when sharing an iPad screen, for example. The FPS on zoom screen share drops to about 5-10, which is the trade off and typically makes video choppy without very good bandwidth.

Once again and to be clear, the issue is with ManyCam. I have used Zoom with Ecamm Live and OBS and the resolution of the output (for meeting participants) is almost crystal clear compared to the results I get with ManyCam. If OBS and Ecamm Live can manage high-res output with Zoom, the problem has to be with ManyCam.

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I am using manycam with zoom via ip camera. Manycam cannot handle any 1080p stream without creating artifacts. I’ve had better success with the windows manycam version because they have a “Use TCP streams” option.

VLC player is fine over the same network.

I have to run a stream at 1.5 Mbps/720p @ 30fps for this to work. It’s pretty sad.

I have a reolink that has better than 1080p resolution but it is unwatchable on manycam. It’s fine on VLC.

To me this just seems like a decoding problem.

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OK, a lot of people are experiencing the same issue ManyCam. Are you listening?

Can we get a response, even if you are to say you hear the issue and are working on it. Providing a forum for feedback is not useful if you don’t respond to it.

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Usually screenshare works differently than camera transfer. For regular camera feed it is OK to use lower resolution (but higher FPS) and lossy codecs, while for screenshare it is not suitable - better have lower FPS, but clear picture and no downscale (1:1) for text. I believe screenshare apps use VNC/RDP like approach.

Why picture is blurry?

Look at the regular pipeline below. Imagine manycam (with 720p selected) that captures either fullscreen or separate window, then sends the result into a client app (e.g. Zoom) that transfers it somewhere.

Picture quality may degrade in the following steps:

  1. Fullscreen (1080p) source downscales to 720p in manycam. The same is for the app window source (say it has 480p) upscales to 720p. Both results in blurry text/image.
  2. Client app requests lower resolution than in ManyCam resulting in downscaling. ManyCam allows to select lower and higher resolutions other than currently selected in ManyCam (just as all real webcams do). Per request from the client app, manycam scales image (720p) to selected by the app (say 360p). Result: blurry image.
  3. Any quality degradation made inside the client app: downscaling, lossy codecs to fit bandwidth. Obviously these apps expect regular camera feed here (not screen that is transferred by different rules) and may reduce image quality (not much quality is required to see remote human).

Steps above are true not only for screenshare but for video/images as well.

What can you do to improve screenshare quality?

Not much.

  1. Select the same resolution in manycam and in your video source e.g. select 1080p in ManyCam and 1080p fullscreen (not window). Or 720p in ManyCam and 720p screen area.
  2. Try to select (if possible) the same resolution in client app as in ManyCam, e.g. HD checkbox in Zoom takes 720p other than 360p. On macOS you may want to mark “Force driver output resolution” in general settings (not available in windows) so the client sees only native manycam resolution (you need to start manycam before client app to make this option work).

What ManyCam can do to improve screenshare quality?

  1. Avoid scaling of screen/window e.g. draw it 1:1. ManyCam win beta has 2 new options “Warn me when layer and source don’t match in size” and “Automatically scale layers to match source size” that force image size in manycam (at this moment warnings are very annoying).
  2. Avoid scaling of video feed that goes to the client. ManyCam win beta shows a warning if the client takes “wrong” resolution. Of course showing the warning doesn’t resolve the issue, but you can indicate the reason. Another option is limit available resolutions to only one currently selected in ManyCam. Addressing this to @Christopher.
  3. Obviously ManyCam can’t force other apps to avoid scaling video feed and lowering bitrate except ManyCam implements own remote screensharing solution.
  4. Use another scaling algorithms that keep edges and dont’t blur text (may increase CPU/GPU usage).

Thank you @ieo for your detailed notes. I hope ManyCam tech team are monitoring this thread this and will respond with a fix.

Out of interest, I use a iMac - exactly where can i find the settings to mark ‘force driver output resolution?’

Hey @playmeo

@ieo is actually part of our team :slight_smile: All of the steps above are being taken into consideration, and some are even in the current Windows beta build!

The “Force Driver output…” setting can be found in ManyCam Settings -> General. in the main view.

Thanks you @Christopher for your response, it means a lot. I love ManyCam and wish I could use it more often but this current issue with video degradation stops me from using it at all right now. I have my fingers crossed you can find a simple fix asap.