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Philip - Pionierfilm  
#1 Posted : Thursday, January 19, 2023 7:34:26 PM(UTC)
Philip - Pionierfilm

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First of all, sorry if this matter is not as related to vMix as it is to the other softwares mentioned.

Since the pandemic, many of our customers have shifted from regular events to hybrid events, thus requiring live streaming of said events to the internet.
Many of these events are only for the employees, company wide, often across the globe. So we are required to stream to whatever conferencing software they use. Mostly Zoom or Teams.
The images produced by us are a straight forward mix of either cameras and powerpoint presentations or both combined, using picture in picture.

Now to the problem at hand:
The most obvious way to get the vMix output to let's say Teams would be the NDI webcam tool, using vMix as the source.
BUT this results in a reduced quality, bitrate and resolution wise, when only a static image such as a Powerpoint presentation is displayed.
To work around this, we would screen share a vMix Fullscreen output to teams, using NDI only for audio.
This works good for resolution or bitrate, but reduces the fps to about 2-3 when a static image is displayed or even when the presenter is displayed in a smaller frame next to the presentation.
Apparently a new AI in Teams decides how many fps are needed for a specific scene.

In Zoom, even getting a HD image transmitted to the attendees is even harder. Problems are a bit different here, but there seems to be no good solution either.
Trying the other screensharing options like second webcam or document cams or whatnot did not help either.

Has anyone of you found a way to do this, that works 100%?
Most of the time we really don't have a say in the matter of what software, Teams or Zoom will be used, so we are required to have a solution for either one.
Of course, we have a more than capable computer for this and internet connections have been checked in all cases to have sufficient bandwith.
Peter Berglund  
#2 Posted : Thursday, January 19, 2023 9:06:24 PM(UTC)
Peter Berglund

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I have done around 300+ streaming events since the pandemic started. The basic setup has been vMix with several cameras in the studio and streaming to YouTube and/or MS Stream to the audience. Remote guest speakers or for example financial analysts during a Q&A session in a quarterly report, have been hooked up via Teams to make real-time conversation possible. I have used vMixCall from time to time, but the limitation of 8 guests is one obstacle. Another is that vMixCall consume system resources - at least with 8 guests in the show. Finally vMixCall could be a pain when it comes to firewalls on both sides and also that the UI is unfamiliar for the guests as well as some functionality that you are used to like "raise your hand" etc.

Long story short, we have used Teams primarily for this purpose. Teams was a real disaster during the first year of the pandemic. It was unstable and the NDI integration was bad. Teams consumed A LOT of resources and there were a lot of issues regarding audio and video. But I must also say that MS has done a really good job of getting the platform to an acceptable level as of today.

The common things in the shows have been live cameras and a lot of PowerPoint. I believe that is something we all deal with. And to make the events more interesting to watch, you as a producer try to make dynamic shows with PiP, full frame PPT, zooms, pans etc. All this looks really good for the audience watching the stream in 1080p, but it's not really the same for the Teams participants. Either you get acceptable frame rate OR good resolution. I have really never experienced both at the same time...

As PowerPoint content such as graphs and numbers are important, I have in the past used "shared screen" in Teams that comes from a vMix Fullscreen output instead of the "camera" NDI output. That has given me 1920x1080 all the way to the Teams guests, but with a lower frame rate. This has worked acceptable I would say even with mixed PiP layouts containing PPT and live footage. But since MS introduced AI, at least as it is today, this does NOT work. Well, it does work, but you get 1920x1080 in 3.79 fps. So good resolution, but unusable with that frame rate. I have tried to introduce more movement with animated backgrounds to fool the AI and get higher frame rate, but no luck so far.

A side effect and advantage of using shared screen in Teams as the return feed, has been that the Teams guests got just one large picture instead of a gallery view with the participants.

Since last week I have done extensive tests as we soon will have our next quarterly report. My findings are that we will NOT use shared screen in Teams due to the poor frame rate. Instead we will use "camera" as a NDI source from vMix in a 1080p production. We will broadcast to YouTube in 1080p and actually the same to Teams (as camera). We have 1 Gbit Internet connection, but that doesn't matter... I have never seen higher output resolution than 1280x720 in Teams (Call health). I do get 24-25 fps though, so it is acceptable overall quality if maintained. So it's not 100%, but is as good as it gets right now.

Finally, I will use "Spotlight" in Teams to get a full frame picture as the return feed in Teams as this is how we want to have it. When just audio is important from a Teams participant and not the video, we will disable cameras in the Teams meeting options to get it as clean as possible.

As said, we have a 1 Gbit Internet connection. Still we see "Teams send limit" numbers in the range of 5-70 Mbps in Teams (Call Health->Network). Normal values are around 20-40 Mbps. The sent video bitrate from Teams is around 2 Mps. So with all this headroom you can ask yourself why the quality is reduced that much already from the beginning, but it has most likely to to with the MS infrastructure and capacity...

I had honestly paid a fee to MS for prioritised events where I could get higher quality when it comes to video in and out in Teams.

#3 Posted : Thursday, January 26, 2023 9:53:44 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Philip - Pionierfilm Go to Quoted Post
In Zoom, even getting a HD image transmitted to the attendees is even harder. Problems are a bit different here, but there seems to be no good solution either.

The only good solution to this one that'll work is to get Zoom to let you do it.

As far as I'm aware, this is still their guiding regulation:

Note: Due to recent events with COVID-19, meetings in 720p-quality video are only available to Pro account users or higher, and only for meetings with a maximum of 2 participants; 1080p quality is for special-use cases currently. For more information, please see our requirements for Group HD.

Nothing to do with vMix, NDI, or anything else but Zoom, and nothing you do short of getting approval from Zoom will change it.

Zoom, Teams, etc. are designed around standard meeting webcam use. The average meeting participant doesn't care if they see their boss sitting at their desk in HD or SD or with a high frame rate or a low one, since they're not really moving.

vMix allowing you to expand beyond that is great, but you're going to see issues, like you're seeing, from trying to shoehorn in these elements that go beyond what the software is accounting for.

Under normal circumstances--the circumstances they're anticipating and designing around--the bandwidth necessary to make text look crisp & transitions smooth is nothing more than an additional expense on their server.

Zoom is even very open, as I pointed out, about the fact that they don't allow it and why.

Your problem isn't vMix, your problem isn't NDI, your problem is that you're trying to use pro-grade presentation and broadcast tools on services designed and maintained to serve users with standard webcams, in standard meeting environments.

Go back and watch late night talk shows from earlier in the pandemic where they're conducting their interviews with that pricey Cisco meeting equipment. Even those look like garbage because even the expensive, high grade side of the virtual meeting space is prioritizing things that broadcast isn't.

What you want is either a peer to peer solution, where they don't care how much bandwidth you use (because it's your problem to account for), or a webinar solution, where they're designing for presentations, not meetings. Any sensible virtual meeting software (even, again, the high end options) will make sacrifices and include limitations that run against what you hope to do.

I join you in wishing that weren't the case, but it's how it is.
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