So...Manycam just ruined my presentation for 15,000 viewers

No, this is not a joke - 15,000 partcipants at a Cambridge University Live event for English Language Teachers across Asia. As the keynote speaker I had tested and double-tested everything. As I reported in a separate thread I had trouble with Manycam degrading my Powerpoint text. As a - not very elegant - solution I took screenshots of all texts on my PPT slides and put them over the original text. Problem solved - or so it seemed during my trials.

However…today, oh dear…all texts appeared blurry for audience members…What a sh*tshow…I can’t quite express how disappointed I am.

I will try - once I have recovered - to figure out what on earth went wrong this time, but I do not know I won’t be using my (paid license of) Manycam again for some time.

Hey @Piet

I’m sorry that you ran into this issue.

For testing purposes, can I please have the following information:

  • Font size used in the Powerpoint.
  • Resolution used in ManyCam
  • Method you used to connect to the service (Driver/RTMP/etc)
  • Was the text fine in previous webinars?
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Thanks Christopher for reaching out.

I did not use text in the Powerpoint. I had noticed (and reported on this earlier) that texts appeared blurry unless using perfect contrast (black on white) and even then text was not sharp (see another thread on this).

So this time I replaced all texts with images of that text (I just took a screenshot with Snagit of the text component of my slides and placed this over the original text). This was a time-consuming hassle but it was the day before my presentation and had no choice. This worked well during a trial on Zoom with the other person reporting clear slides and legible ‘texts’.

However, on the day I used the setup (AFAIK) (except with a much faster internet connection as I was in a studio) and the image quality getting through to viewers of the slides was very poor with especially (but not only) the texts being almost impossible to read, even when using large font sizes of 30+

In replly to you other questiosn:
Resolution used: 720 and 30fps
Method used: not sure what you mean sorry. I had Manycam running with my webcam as part of the screen using chroma key, and then my poweropint through ‘desktop>select app>Powerpoint slideshow’. I was using a green screen, so this resulted in a nice ‘weatherman’ effect. In Zoom I selected ‘Manycam’ as the video source and I (obviously) did not share my screen.

Hi Piet, sorry to hear about your disaster.

Zoom compresses the outbound video depending on your available bandwidth (up and down)… which might explain why it worked for your test but failed in the larger meeting. As you’ve discovered, there’s no way to tell from your side! You do need to ask someone else in the meeting if the slide text is clear. Unfortunately the video always looks nice and crisp in the local Zoom client.

For Powerpoint you must use the “Screen Share” option, it trades framerate for pixels. So you can share a 1920x1080 or higher resolution desktop and see each pixel, but at a lower frame rate.

The newer 5.2+ Zoom clients can overlay your camera and use Powerpoint as a background, if that’s what you were trying to achieve with ManyCam.

Andrew

Thanks for your reply, Andrew.

Zoom compresses the outbound video depending on your available bandwidth (up and down)… which might explain why it worked for your test but failed in the larger meeting

That might have been an explanation, however, the difference between my test and the real thing was going from an average mobile connection to a direct LAN connection to a router connected to the internet through a high-speed fibre connection. The issues were reported by all viewers (so with different download speeds) but the issue certainly was not upload speeds.

For Powerpoint you must use the “Screen Share” option, it trades framerate for pixels. So you can share a 1920x1080 or higher resolution desktop and see each pixel, but at a lower frame rate.

Why can you not share your screen?
(the reason I did not use the ‘share Powerpoint’ option is because it does not show animations and almost all of my slides have animations such as moving graphs with research data etc)

The newer 5.2+ Zoom clients can overlay your camera and use Powerpoint as a background, if that’s what you were trying to achieve with ManyCam.

Yes, that’s one of the things I want to do but preferably with much better quality than what Zoom offers (Manycam’s excellent chroma options were initially my reason for buying it), but I’d also like to use multiple camera angles etc (I did not do that in this presentation).

Piet

Hi Piet,

I have been making digital presentations for many years and there are so many variables in what you were doing that it is very hard to predict the results until you use the actual equipment, connections, broadcast, etc. that will be used in the live event. This adds a separate step or phase to your preparation but is necessary to insure success. I suspect had you tried that you would have discover the problem before going live.

I like animations, but Zoom doesn’t so I stopped using them with Zoom. For font size 55 is the smallest I use and prefer 72, 99, and 120 for headers and larger print.

I also use ManyCam as a switcher and NOT as a virtual camera in Zoom. To use it as a virtual camera is guaranteeing that Zoom will reduce the resolution based on the recipients device. YOU MUST use screen share in Zoom; I use the partial screen on the advanced tab and position it over my ManyCam Display area. That allows my participants to also see me in a participant or speaker window.

I’ll be happy to do a demo session with you if you wish.

George

I have been making digital presentations for many years

How interesting - me too! (Since 1997 as a teaching assistant at university)

and there are so many variables in what you were doing that it is very hard to predict the results until you use the actual equipment, connections, broadcast, etc. that will be used in the live event. This adds a separate step or phase to your preparation but is necessary to insure success. I suspect had you tried that you would have discover the problem before going live.

Thank you for that advice. As you may have read in my notes, I did do just that. 24 hours before the lecture I tested everything with the exact same equipment. The only difference was that on the day I had a fibre internet connection instead of a mobile internet connection.

I like animations, but Zoom doesn’t

Interesting. I have never had any problems with animations in Zoom.

For font size 55 is the smallest I use and prefer 72, 99, and 120 for headers and larger print.

When screensharing PPT I use font size 18 (or even less) and this is perfectly legible to all as viewers are watching this on their own screens. (I teach linguistics so we often do ‘discourse analysis’ which involves the analysis of tracts of text, so these are not sales presentations with graphics and a title/heading)

I also use ManyCam as a switcher and NOT as a virtual camera in Zoom. To use it as a virtual camera is guaranteeing that Zoom will reduce the resolution based on the recipients device. YOU MUST use screen share in Zoom

Now this is interesting as it is something I did not know (how would one know this?)

I’ll be happy to do a demo session with you if you wish.

Thanks but I have spent the last few days learning OBS and it seems to do everything ManyCam does (and much more), except for free.

Also, ManyCam now crashes my computer whenever I start it (Windows Blue Screen of Death). I uninstalled and reinstalled the program but it keeps happening.

Sad to have wasted my money on this program.

Hi Piet,

Could you please post a photo of the BSOD you’re getting?

Two tips to tame the beast:

  • Use the advanced tab in Zoom’s “Share screen” dialog and choose “Share content from 2nd camera”. Then, click “switch camera” until you find the image produced by ManyCam. Now, Zoom is screen-sharing your ManyCam with high resolution.

  • To see how much downscaling is going on in Zoom, open the Zoom settings while you are already transmitting your image from ManyCam. Choose the “statistics” tab in Zoom settings and have a look at the “Video” and “Screen sharing” statistics. There you can see what Zoom does to your signal, in terms of resolution as well as framerate.

HTH,
Matthias

Thank you - that is very helpful.