Have you ever wanted to play a video embedded in a PowerPoint file through GoToWebinar but can't because the audience sees a jumpy video with a low frame rate?
Or you want to show off a computer program or game that has both audio and video and show that to a GoToWebinar audience.
Do you want to use real cameras with GoToWebinar, not those cheap webcams?
GoTo has a feature to upload five videos to playback during a webinar, but that process is limited to only five videos and the process is a little clunky with too much down time in the webinar while switching to and from the video. And using the GoTo process, not everyone is watching the video at the same time, so some are still watching the video when others have completed.
I have found a solution to this and can now show any video I want, whenever I want, to my GoToWebinar audience. The video can be embedded in a PowerPoint file so you can easily transition from a static slide to a video and back to more slides without having to use the official GoTo video player. You can play any number of videos in a webinar and even seamlessly switch between multiple computers or other video sources.
I just purchased the ATEM Mini from Blackmagic Design. On the surface it appears to be a small four-input camera switcher for $295, but the special feature is that it outputs a webcam signal, which makes full-motion video through GoToWebinar possible.
I am using the ATEM Mini right out of the box. I did not load the additional software that comes with it. Apparently, the extra software contains lots of extra features that you might use in a TV studio environment. Not just video features, but lots of audio features as well. It is all documented in the 100-page PDF manual. (The English part is 100 pages, the other 1100 pages are other languages.)
One trick to this is that you now need two computers to run your GoToWebinar. You will play back the PowerPoint, videos, programs, games, etc. from one computer. The second computer will do nothing but send your signal to the GoToWebinar.
The ATEM Mini has four HDMI inputs. These inputs can be computers, cameras, DVD players, game controllers, or anything else with a HDMI output. Pushing the buttons on the switcher will determine which of these four inputs is sent to the second computer to be sent to the GoToWebinar audience.
I started my test by running the PowerPoint and video from a 10-year old MacBook Pro computer. I have only a VGA dongle for this computer, so I used that for my output, then ran it through a cheap VGA to HDMI converter. After some experimentation, I found that setting the resolution on the computer to 1920x1080 worked the best. I was surprised this old computer had a setting that high.
The second computer is much newer and has only two USB-C connectors. This computer will be sending my program to the GoToWebinar.
The ATEM Mini has two outputs. An HDMI output you can connect to a video monitor, projector, etc. and a USB-C connector that outputs a webcam signal. I connected this USB output to my second computer using a USB-C to USB-C cable.
On the second computer, start up the GoToWebinar like usual, except you never share your screen. You only share your webcam, and in the GoTo webcam preferences you should see the Blackmagicdesigns listed as a webcam.
Now, anything that comes out of the ATEM Mini will be seen by GoTo as a webcam, and your GoTo audience will see full motion video of whatever you send through the switcher.
On the ATEM Mini you can easily switch between four inputs that can be computers, cameras, etc. You can do a hard cut between the inputs, create a short fade/dissolve between the inputs, or do any number of special transitions that you see only on sports programs. If you wish, audio can switch along with the video.
The first input on the ATEM Mini sets the resolution of the video output. The other three inputs will be scaled to match the first input. The optional software lets you set the output resolution independently of the actual source material.
I hooked up my first computer to input 1 and two cameras to inputs 2 and 3. (I have two video camcorders that have mini-HDMI outputs.) I then moved the computer to input 2, camera to input 1, and found it worked well either way.
Now I can run a PowerPoint on the first computer and can have videos embedded in the PowerPoint. The output of that computer goes through the ATEM Mini switcher and is seen by the second computer as a webcam, and seen by the GoTo audience as full-motion video.
This ATEM Mini switcher has a picture-in-picture mode where you can have the main image on the screen and a small image of a different input in one of the four corners. The default is the camera for the small image on input 1, with your computer on any of the other inputs. Unfortunately, the default size of the small image is too small, but the manual says this size can be adjusted in the software that I did not load.
There is a chroma-key feature, like how they do TV weather, but I did not try it. If the camera is on a person standing in front of a green wall, then it could look like they were standing in front of the image on your computer, or other video playback connected to the ATEM Mini. Someday I'll play with that feature.
The optional software will let you upload static images to your ATEM Mini, so that you can switch between the four live inputs or select a stored still image, like your company logo.
I was impressed with the video quality. While it is not exactly full motion video due to the limitations of the GoTo webcam feature, it is good enough for most folks, and night-and-day better from what you get just trying to run a video through GoToWebinar without this extra switcher.
And speaking of audio, the audio from the first computer can pass though the switcher or be switched at the switcher and output to the second computer and appear as the audio from your webcam. Thus, anything your play on the first computer, both audio and video, can be broadcast to the GoTo audience. The switcher will input audio from the four HDMI inputs as well as two additional audio inputs and send them to the second computer and on to the GoToWebinar. The optional software has an extensive array of audio filters to sweeten up the audio.
I then swapped the two computers, so now I have the newer computer playing the PowerPoint into the switcher and the older one running the GoToWebinar.
This required a USB-C to USB-A cable, since the new computer has USB-C input and the old computer has USB-A connectors. The ATEM Mini switcher has a USB-C connector as its output.
The new computer is set to output 1080p resolution and syncs to the switcher just fine. I run the GoToWebinar from the older computer and everything behaves just like the other way around.
I have been monitoring this GoToWebinar test through a desktop Mac computer logged in as an attendee. On both this computer as well as the recording of the webinar, I am quite happy with the results. The only limitation is the frame rate of the GoToWebinar webcam feature, which appears to be a little less than 29 frames per second, but probably won’t be noticed by most of the webinar audience. Maybe GoTo can up that rate in the future.
I think that most people who need to show videos or use better cameras in their GoToWebinars will be happy with the quality of the ATEM Mini. It allows you to up the quality of your webinars giving them a more professional look.
Solved! Go to Solution.
11 Feb Second Update - The desktop apps for GTT and GTM won't work with the ATEM unless you can find an "IT Professional" who can whitelist certain ports in Windows 10 systems to allow them to receive video for GTT and GTM. In other words, unless you want to screw with your registry files in hopes of making GTT or GTM work, you might want to investigate other web conference providers that just treat the ATEM Mini like a webcam. (It looks like Chris was using a Mac, so it looks like Macs don't have this problem)
11 Feb Update - this post was marked as an answer too soon. Got the ATEM Mini, and it works with everything EXCEPT GoToTraining and GoToMeeting. Support is telling me that the ATEM is "too professional" for GoToTraining and it only supports simple webcams. Still trying to make it work, but not looking good. This could be a deal breaker for GTT going forward.
Thank you - this is really helpful. I ordered an ATEM Mini earlier this week and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. This device will do a lot to make my GoToTraining sessions a lot more professional. I've been frustrated a long time by the inability to zoom smoothly and control the focus of webcams, and now I can use a real camera to capture my video.
Hi Robert, what kind of connection links the camera to your capture card? Our software primarily only supports USB or HDMI connections; if you're using another type of cable, it may not work with our application.
Will the presenter and the audience be in the same room, connected through the same computer? This might be possible, but it could require a complicated workaround (I'd have to do some reading to figure exactly how). Using different computers will let you hook up different microphones much easier.
Sounds like you have a legitimate setup there. Unfortunately GoToMeeting isn't very compatible with certain adapters, as it is mainly looking for a built-in webcam, or USB connected. The microphone part, I can't say that we've ever tested a similar device, but the requirements for a Mic input are a little more flexible than the Webcam.