Maintain caller position during a Zoom call

crumpbeatz

New member
We have a TC2 and use Zoom with Live Call Connect to bring in remote participants. While this feature is extremely helpful, we are hoping for some improvements.

How does the system determine caller order/position when we go "LIVE" and click ASSIGN CALLERS TO INPUTS? I understand the system is technically "scraping" the gallery view window, but is there some sort of hierarchy/determining factor(connection order, arrangement/position of caller in the gallery view, etc.) or is the order just random? We've tried experimenting with this and had inconsistent results. By simply removing the Zoom window from "LIVE" mode and returning it back to "LIVE", caller positions can change. Similar inconsistencies were observed when using the RELEARN CALLER POSITIONS option. Even if the number of callers doesn't change, the order of the callers assigned to the inputs(or technically the order of the video assigned to the callers) does. While knowing the logic behind this algorithm would help, it would be more helpful if it was possible to lock the camera video associated with the caller in to the assigned input so it doesn't change.

Another issue we've run into is if a caller drops or leaves the meeting while the Zoom window is "LIVE" the video becomes stretched between multiple inputs- then we click RELEARN CALLER POSITIONS which could also lead to the problem described above. It would be helpful if the system could either hold the last frame of video it had(and provide some sort of disconnect alert) or just reinsert the generic caller silhouette in its place potentially eliminating the need to relearn caller positions, and possibly allowing for the dropped caller to reconnect to the meeting and return to their original position.
 

edtrbob

Member
When you drag your participants around in Gallery View (not yet live, no spotlighting, view all participants, and have everybody who's NOT a presenter turn their video OFF) the lower-right position is caller 1, the position to its left is caller 2, etc. Once you're happy, turn non-video participants "off" and go "live". Lock the Zoom meeting - anyone joining late will scramble your inputs (we enable the waiting room and wait for a full screen graphic). If someone leaves early it will scramble your inputs. I use Zoom in dual monitor mode - multi view 3 is a 4K gallery view for best possible resolution. Multiview 4 is set to "Speaker View". I bring it back in via NDI as a source on the switcher and it's my emergency "go to" when things go south... Hope that helps some.
bob
 

crumpbeatz

New member
Thanks Bob, we will do some more testing with that information(we've tried arranging the gallery positions before, but couldn't produce a consistent result after going on/off "LIVE" or relearning the caller positions). Luckily, we've got the management side of the meeting down pretty well(anyone not presenting- no video and hidden, multi-pin video presenters, hide self view, etc.) and we do have the waiting room enabled to prevent any entry-caused input scrambling, but the exit-caused scrambling is the one that introduces multiple issues.

We run Zoom in dual monitor mode and have the gallery view on a 4k monitor to maximize the resolution, but we are also noticing an additional issue(likely Zoom related) where anytime we get more than 4 callers in our gallery view, the quality of the camera video is reduced for all participants except the active speaker(which we can watch clear up in the gallery view in real-time as the yellow active speaker highlight moves from speaker to speaker).
 

edtrbob

Member
I've experienced the same - it's like Zoom is managing the load and throwing more bandwidth at the active speaker. I've been testing the $99 Zoom-NDI Bridge third-party software and it seems to solve all of these issues. I'll go live with it on a few shows next week to see how it performs "under fire", but I'm pretty excited about it. Might be the best $99 I've spent in a long time...
 

fgolman

Member
Keep us posted on how that new software works for you. I'm sure they will be doing a brisk business if it works as everyone hopes!

Fritz Golman
Museum of Broadcast Communications
 

edtrbob

Member
Here's the update: I've been using this on multiple shows & TriCasters daily over the last three weeks without incident. I can comfortably open seven instances of the Zoom-NDI Bridge (seven callers pinned individually) off and old Ryzen 7 PC. I've ordered a couple more PCs so I can dedicate a "Zoom Bridge" machine to each of my TC2's. Producers and TDs all love it. No more "Zoom Shuffle" when guests leave early or arrive late. Eliminates Zoom's desire to manage bandwidth in the background and locks everyones resolution. The change in pre-show and on-air stress make this about the best $99 investment I've ever made.
 
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