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If you are the kind of person who hosts a lot of video broadcasts, webinars, or even video calls, you maybe familiar with a very specific limitation which affects literally every single video service out there. You cannot broadcast to more than one service at a time, using a single web cam.
This is a pretty serious issue, right? I mean, your audience could be divided into users who uses specific video broadcasting and chatting services. Take for example, Skype, or Google Hangouts. And just because not everyone uses the same application, does not mean they have to sign up for a service which they don’t want to use. Neither should you be required to repeat the same broadcast on other services, one after the other, as it could be a waste of your time.
There is a simple solution to this issue, and that is called ManyCam Studio. It is an amazing application, which acts as a virtual webcam driver.
Virtual webcam driver? What is that? A driver, in Windows and other operating system, is a piece of software which helps the operating system, to communicate with its specific hardware. In this case, the component is your webcam.
Normally a webcam is granted exclusive access to 1 application, and one only. This prevents other programs from accessing the webcam. So let’s say you have the Skype application open on your computer, and are video chatting with someone, and you have a web browser with which you are using another service which requires your webcam feed, the 2nd program won’t be able to use the camera.
This is what happens when you use your webcam normally. But when you use ManyCam Studio, it offers on a software level, an option which allows you to select the ManyCam virtual driver as the video source for each application. This way you can use both programs in the above mentioned scenario, with a single webcam.
ManyCam has a pleasant interface, with just the right options on the GUI, adding to the user friendliness factor. There are 4 tabs on the top of the Window:
The Video tab is the primary section of the program. This is where you will see the video preview window, on the left half of the screen. Towards the right of this preview pane, are some + symbols. Click on one of these to add a different video or image or a YouTube video as the source. You can even use a secondary camera as your video source.
This can then be used to replace the feed which your contact, or audience is able to see on their end. For example: If you are a YouTube gamer and you wish to broadcast the game you are playing, you can use the game option, or the desktop option to share your computer’s desktop with your audience, and it will broadcast the content in full-screen. Other video sources which you can choose from are IP camera, ManyCam mobile app, blank image, to name a few.
On the far right edge are two sidebars for managing effects. The one on the top is the selected effects sidebar, and the one below is your favorite effects sidebar.
Switch to the effects tab and you will be able to select any of the filters, or select a custom mcv or mce filter. Selecting a preset instantly changes the view of the video to display the desired effect, such as black and white, grayscale, etc. You can select multiple effects, drap and drop the order of the effects too.
The portion of the window below the video pane has three buttons. The icon which resembles a video camera, can be used for recording the video from the webcam, while the icon which looks like a normal camera can be used to take snapshots. The icon sitting between the two camera shortcuts, is the stream icon, clicking on which enables and disables the stream.
The lower half of ManyCam Studio’s screen lets you customize the video view, including the resolution you want to broadcast in such as 480p, 720p, 1080p etc. You can use the zoom slider to adjust the zoom level. The rectangular icons are for enabling the various Picture in Picture modes, which is useful for adding a second video source to your existing window.
You can use the camera control bar on the bottom to rotate the video left or right, flip the image vertically to negate the mirror effect, or flip it horizontally. ManyCam Studio can be used for adjusting the finer details, such as the video’s contrast, brightness, grayscale, saturation and RGB values.
Want to add some audio, or recordings, or some music to your video broadcast? The Audio tab can be used for that, and you can speak into the microphone or add a playlist, shuffle it, etc. Adding a text caption or marquee to the video broadcast is a breeze with the text tab, which by the way lets you adjust the opacity, the color of the text.Doodling on your video is a cool way to have fun, and this can be done from the Draw tab. You can also add a timer or display a clock on the video from the time tab.
But my personal favorite is the lower third, which is like the box you see on sports and tv channels displaying a message or the score. you can add one just like that one to your video feed, which is pretty awesome.
Manycam Studio can be used with up to 12 video sources, and offers many cross-fades, transition effects, and playlist scheduling. You can save multiple servers and broadcast to as many as you want too. And you can also use the program on 2 computers. The mobile app when used with ManyCam Studio has no limitations whatsoever. Streams made using the Studio version are encoded using the H.264 codec. One of the best things with the Studio version is that it lets you use the preview mode, before streaming live.
Manycam offers a free version which has limited features, so make sure to try it before buying the Studio version.
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