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One of the key differentiating factors between a standard, boring webinar, and a more engaging, polished virtual presentation is the use of Picture-in-Picture (PiP).

This is the industry term for what you see above, where you can see both the speaker and their slides clearly at the same time. Too often, dry webinars consist of a tiny talking head reading a full screen of slides to you. Picture-in-picture helps to solve this problem (note: it doesn’t automatically make people less boring, unfortunately).

There is no easy setting for enabling a picture-in-picture view in Zoom for all of your attendees but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are five ways to create picture-in-picture slides in Zoom. (Note: some links below may be affiliate links.)

1. Teach people to swap shared screen with video.

The easiest, and no-cost, way to get picture-in-picture view is to simply teach your audience how to change the Zoom view for themselves.

PRO: This costs no money and takes advantage of the built-in capability of Zoom.
CON: Each attendee has to do this personally, there’s no way for you to change it for them. Also it involves a couple of different steps to make it look good.

How-To:

  1. Start sharing your screen in Zoom.
  2. Tell participants to put Zoom into Full Screen mode (if not done automatically).
  3. Tell participants to “Swap shared screen with video.”
  4. Tell participants to drag the corner of the shared screen to make it larger so the slides are visible.
  5. Start presenting.

Note: There is a much quicker setting called “Side-by-side Mode” that is much better than the default view, but it’s still not PiP.

2. Use Prezi Video.

The second easiest way to create a picture-in-picture virtual experience is to take advantage of Prezi’s recently launched Prezi Video.

PRO: Prezi takes away a lot of the guess work and you can quickly import slides from PowerPoint or Keynote.
CON: Prezi costs $7-20 / month and the process can be resource intensive. Also you have to switch back and forth between Prezi and Zoom.

How-To:

  1. Sign up for Prezi.
  2. Download the Prezi Video desktop app.
  3. Import your slides.
  4. Choose a default theme.
  5. Connect Prezi Video to Zoom.
  6. Start presenting.

Note: There are a lot of great themes in Prezi Video to choose from and you aren’t restricted to using just the default rectangular shape.

3. Use Ecamm Live.

The third way to spruce up your virtual presentation with picture-in-picture is to use Ecamm Live, a software tool for Mac that allows you to create scenes, graphic overlays, and more.

PRO: Ecamm Live has some great advanced features to go along with picture-in-picture, has a robust community offering tips, and is relatively user-friendly.
CON: Ecamm Live is only on Mac and requires the $20 / month professional version to use with Zoom. It also requires you to switch between Ecamm Live, PowerPoint, and Zoom, or use an Elgato Stream Deck to control.

How-To:

  1. Sign up for Ecamm Live.
  2. Download the Ecamm Live application to your Mac.
  3. Create 3 scenes: one of just your video, one of just your slides, one that is picture-in-picture of slides and video.
  4. Open Zoom and select your camera as Ecamm Live.
  5. Start presenting.

Note: virtual webcams only work Zoom version 5.0.4 or later. For easier use, you can connect your slides via a second computer using an HDMI capture card.

4. Use a software switcher.

The fourth way to add picture-in-picture to your virtual meeting is to use a software switcher, such as OBS or Wirecast.

PRO: OBS and Wirecast are both advanced tools that give you a lot of control over exactly what you share in Zoom. Both give you capability that can mirror what you see in content produced for TV. OBS is free.
CON: OBS and Wirecast are both advanced tools which means they can take some time to learn and are resource intensive on your computer. Wirecast is expensive.

How-To:

  1. Sign up for OBS or purchase Wirecast.
  2. Download the software to your computer.
  3. Add the Virtual Cam plug-in (if necessary).
  4. Create 3 scenes: one of just your video, one of just your slides, one that is picture-in-picture of slides and video.
  5. Open Zoom and select your camera as the Virtual Cam from the software switcher.
  6. Start presenting.

Note: virtual webcams only work Zoom version 5.0.4 or later. For easier use, you can connect your slides via a second computer using an HDMI capture card.

5. Use a hardware switcher.

The final way to build in picture-in-picture for a virtual keynote or workshop is to use a hardware switcher, such as the ATEM Mini Pro.

PRO: A hardware switcher is the most professional of the setups. It removes any extra processing power from your computer so Zoom tends to run more smoothly. You can also add extra camera angles, chroma key, and transitions, and it can all be controlled at the press of button, making switching between everything a lot smoother and faster.
CON: The ATEM Mini Pro costs $595 (the regular mini is $295). It requires HDMI cameras to work (so built-in and USB webcams don’t help) AND a second computer for your slides. It can take some time to setup.

How-To:

  1. Purchase a hardware switcher.
  2. Download the software to your computer.
  3. Connect all of the HDMI cameras you want to use, as well as a second computer for slides, to the hardware switcher.
  4. Adjust hardware switcher settings as needed.
  5. Connect hardware switcher to primary computer.
  6. Open Zoom and select your camera as the hardware switcher.
  7. Start presenting.

Note: This is what I use to deliver my virtual keynote.

Summary of How to Create Picture-in-Picture in Zoom

There you have it, 5 ways to create a picture-in-picture view when presenting in Zoom. Each way has its own pros and cons, and no way is perfect for every person, but with a little research and the right tools, you can be creating more compelling and engaging virtual presentations, every time.

If you’d like to learn how to deliver compelling virtual experience, check out our virtual workshops on Humor That Works. Have a question? Let me know!

Updated February 2021 with my current setup at the bottom.

With each week that passes under COVID-19, more and more groups are looking towards virtual programs as a way to provide content, value, and connection to their employees, members, and users. Last week, I shared tips on transitioning an event into a virtual experience.

This week, I want to talk more about the different levels of virtual programs. As you can probably imagine, not all virtual events are created equal. While most people know and lament about the “standard webinar,” there is so much more that can be done.

Think of it this way: if the only stand-up comedy you ever experienced was people trying stand-up for the first time at an open mic, you would think it was a terrible artform. But you’ve seen the professionally produced Netflix comedy specials and know it could be so much more.

Virtual programs are not webinars only. Webinars are your open mics, so let’s look at some of the more elevated tiers of what can be done:

Levels of Virtual Programs

The primary differentiators for virtual programs are: video, audio, lighting, and delivery. Notice that content is not included in this list. Yes, you do need someone who has great content, but that’s true regardless of level or format.

For each tier, I’ve share some examples of what gear could be used with (some affiliate) links to where you can get them.

NOTE: A lot of these pieces are in high demand and may be sold out or have long delivery times. If you can’t find it on Amazon, consider searching other online retailers such as Best Buy or B&H Photo Video, or a local electronics store. Or, do a search for “alternatives to [sold out equipment name].”

Tier 1 Virtual Program – Standard

The first level of virtual programs is what people think of when it comes to a traditional webinar. The focus is on delivering content as quick, easy, and cheap as possible.

Pros: Takes advantage of what most content creators already have. Can be up and running very quickly. Requires very little rehearsal as content can be read.
Cons: The end product is usually not all that engaging. Experience, interaction, and efficacy is low. Isn’t differentiated from products that have negative connotations.

  • Video: Single camera angle, often at the default height of the desk / chair, with little attention paid to framing.
    • Equipment: built-in camera in laptop or smartphone.
  • Audio: Basic audio setup, often with existing background noise of the environment.
    • Equipment: built-in microphone in laptop or smartphone.
  • Lighting: Basic lighting, often with overhead lighting or bright windows in background.
    • Equipment: whatever standard room-lighting exists.
  • Delivery: One view, audio over slides, possibly with a video of presenter in the corner, with little to no interaction.

Example: Just about any introductory webinar that you’ve experienced.

Tier 2 Virtual Program – Elevated

The second level of virtual programs is an elevated version of what people think of when it comes to a traditional webinar. The focus is on building a more engaging presentation while balancing a need to create content quickly and easily.

Pros: Builds on what most content creators already have. Doesn’t require extensive setup time. Follows a framework that people already expect but in an elevated way.
Cons: Requires more planning and setup than Tier 1, but isn’t dramatically differentiated at first glance. Involves some additional investment and resources. Doesn’t create immediate WOW factor.

Example: Some of the initial virtual workshops offered by Humor That Works. (Coming Soon)

Tier 3 – Professional

The third level of virtual programs moves beyond what people think of when it comes to a traditional webinar and begins to transition into virtual workshops and virtual keynotes. The focus is on creating a compelling learning experience that keeps attendees engaged and entertained without breaking the bank.

Pros: Creates a new delivery that is differentiated from the standard webinar presentation. Doesn’t try to replicate in-person experiences but rather takes advantage of remote attendees. Doesn’t require a dedicated studio space or additional producer.
Cons: Involves higher costs for equipment. Requires more setup and rehearsal time to get tech working smoothly. Can be a lot for one person to manage.

  • Video: Two camera angles, one elevated to eye-level of speaker, framed to show head and shoulders without too much extra space, another for an additional view (such as whiteboard, flipchart, or action shot).
  • Audio: Advanced audio setup with external microphone, unobtrusive headphones, zero background noise, and possible music or sound effects.
  • Lighting: Advanced lighting, with multi-point lighting system in front of the speaker and strategic backlighting.
  • Delivery: Three to four views: 1) “talking head” shot, 2) secondary camera angle, 3) view of just slides, 4) picture-in-picture of talking head and slides. Advanced use of interactive tools such as Q&A, chat, polls, breakout rooms, and whiteboards.

Example: Many of our virtual keynote offerings and the work Brian Fanzo is up to.

Tier 4 – Production

The fourth level of virtual programs blurs the line between virtual program and TV-level production. The focus is on crafting an experience where production and content are closely linked together. Cost is not an obstacle.

Pros: Delivers in a way that wows people not only in content but in production. Leverages decades of techniques and equipment from TV and Film. Creates an experience that would not be possible at an in-person event.
Cons: Involves high costs for equipment and dedicated studio space. Requires advanced expertise in video, audio, and computer technology. Requires extensive rehearsal and possible additional person as producer (in person or virtual).

  • Video: Multiple camera angles, one elevated to eye-level of speaker, framed to show head and shoulders without too much extra space, others for additional views (such as whiteboard, flipchart, close up, green screen, or action shot).
  • Audio: Professional audio setup with external microphone, unobtrusive headphones, zero background noise, and possible music or sound effects.
  • Lighting: Professional lighting, with multi-point lighting system in front of speaker with strategic backlighting.
  • Delivery: Four to six views: 1) “talking head” shot, 2) secondary camera angle, 3) third camera angle, 4) view of just slides, 5) picture-in-picture of talking head and slides, 6) custom pre-recorded video seamlessly integrated into program. Advanced use of interactive tools such as Q&A, chat, polls, breakout rooms, and whiteboards, as well as webpages for custom-made experience.

Example: The incredible programs Vinh Giang and Drew Davis are putting together.

Choosing the Right Virtual Setup + My Current Setup

A higher tier of production doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll create a virtual experience. You’ll note that none of these levels cover the content that is covered. If you combine Tier 4 production with Bill Lumbergh level delivery, it’s still going to be a terrible program.

For context, my virtual keynotes are typically Tier 3 setup with the following equipment (Updated February 2021):

The virtual workshops we offer at Humor That Works are between Tier 2 to Tier 3 using the following (Updated February 2021):

At a minimum, strive Tier 2 as a way to elevate your programs beyond the dreaded webinar.

Questions? Feel free to reach out.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the events industry, more and more organizations are having to make the tough decision between postponing an event, taking it virtual, or cancelling it all together. While it’s easy to dismiss creating a virtual experience in lieu of the other two, there are a few things worth considering:

  1. People need inspiration, engagement, and training now more than ever. As people wrestle with this (hopefully) temporary new normal, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty are higher than ever. Not every topic that was originally scheduled will still be top of mind, but it’s highly likely that some of your planned sessions are still of great value to your audience.
  2. A virtual experience won’t replace the in-person event, but it can bridge the gap. No virtual event can stack-up to the on-the-ground experience you get from attending an event in-person. Nor should it attempt to. What you create for the virtual experience may look very different than what would have happened in-person, and that’s okay. What’s more important is providing value to your members in a time they need it most (see #1).
  3. There are distinct advantages to virtual events. Many people consider virtual events “less than” an in-person one. And while there are certainly things a virtual experience can’t provide (see #2), there are things you can do virtually that you can’t do in-person. The biggest mistake many groups make is trying to replicate the in-person experience as much as possible, rather than leveraging the strengths of what a live, virtual environment can provide.

No, it won’t make sense for every event to move to a virtual experience. But for those who serve their attendees through a new medium, it might just be exactly what they need. Besides, people had this time marked off on their calendar anyway, you might as well help them fill their schedule!

If you are considering transforming your in-person event into a virtual experience, there are a few myths about virtual experiences that are worth dispelling:

  1. Myth #1Webinars are the only way to create a virtual event. There are a variety of virtual experiences you can create, a “traditional webinar” is only one of them. Depending on your circumstances, a virtual keynote, extended classroom, lightboard lecture, or interactive workshop might be better suited. And don’t forget you can also have a virtual emcee that bridges the gap between the different sessions.
  2. Myth #2No one pays attention during a virtual event. Yes, if a webinar is boring, people will quickly move on to something else. But that’s true of all content. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “There’s no such thing as a short attention span, only boring content.” Need proof that people will pay attention in a virtual environment? Just look at the considerable hours people spend on TV, movies, video games, and binge watching YouTube videos. With the right content and the right presenter, a virtual experience can be just as engaging as an in-person one.
  3. Myth #3An in-person event is always better than a virtual one. Yes, you absolutely miss out on some key parts of a live event when you attend virtually. There are no random hallway conversations, no “caught up in the moment” experiences of attending live, and no lines for the buffet style food. But there are some advantages, such as the fact that everyone who is attending is sitting at a computer which can provide an unparalleled level of interaction. Plus there are no travel costs for attendees which means those with tighter schedules (or budgets) are still able to attend.

There is no way to capture the magic of an in-person event, but that doesn’t mean that a virtual experience can’t be magical in it’s own right. All it takes is the right people, the right technology, and the right plan.

If you’ve decided to move forward with a virtual experience, here are a few tips that may help you with the process:

  1. Pick the right technology. There’s no one technology that is perfect for all events. If you have a massive audience (1,000+) and interaction isn’t a focus, a Facebook or YouTube live stream is probably your best bet. If your audience is smaller, and you’re looking for more interactive components, Zoom is currently the top choice among most organizations.
  2. Pick the right presenters. Suffice to say that fantastic in-person speakers don’t necessarily make fantastic virtual speakers (though many do). Make sure the speakers you select have experience presenting virtually, are familiar with the technology, and know how to engage a remote audience (via compelling stories, interesting visuals, interactive chat, breakout rooms, and more).
  3. Create the right presentation environment. Don’t just rely on a presenter sitting down in front of their laptop webcam at their kitchen table and expect the presentation to be compelling. Make sure the presenter has a high quality camera, professional level audio, good lighting, and high-speed ethernet access. Nothing ruins a virtual presentation worse than bad audio or audio that is so out of sync with the video that you feel like you’re watching an old school martial arts film. Ideally, the presenter would also have an on-site or virtual producer to manage video feeds, and a virtual emcee to manage questions and maintain interaction in the chat.
  4. Use a variety of presentation formats. A person speaking to a camera and talking over slides is only one style of a virtual presentation. Consider which option will work best for your topic, audience, and technical setup. If you have multiple presenters throughout the day, consider using a variety of styles to keep the content fresh.
  5. Leverage interaction as much as possible. If people just wanted pre-recorded content, they would watch TED talks, Netflix, or the recording of the event at a later date. But people want a community experience, so create one. Every attendee is sitting in front of their computer (or smartphone), which means they can easily ask questions without disrupting the speaker, fill in polls that give you valuable insight, provide instantaneous feedback, connect with others in breakout rooms, post directly to social media, and engage as an entire community at once. Find ways to make the virtual event a community event.

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented challenge in the events industry that is not only impacting the individual events that were scheduled, but also the lives and livelihood of everyone involved, from the meeting planners and event organizers, to the speakers and emcees, to the members and attendees we all willingly serve.

Virtual events will never replace what makes our in-person events so great, but they can help bridge the gap in this time of need. If you have questions about whether or not a virtual experience is right for your event, feel free to reach out.