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Integrating NDI Sources From Conferencing Platforms

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Using NDI With a Zoom Workflow

While there are a few hoops to jump through with Microsoft Teams’ settings and NDI output, Zoom’s NDI workflow is a bit more complicated. For starters, you need to subscribe to (or add to your current billing plan) Zoom Rooms, which is a different product than Zoom Meetings or Zoom Webinar. Zoom Rooms, as the name implies, is designed to set up a conference room (or live-event venue) as a single feed for a Zoom Meeting. This feed can be used as a monitoring reference to other remote presenters for the meeting/live event. Figure 8 (below) shows an example of using Zoom Rooms and Zoom Meetings for your live-event production. You can output up to three NDI feeds from a Zoom meeting from the desktop computer running the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application.

Figure 8. Using Zoom Rooms and Zoom Meetings with live-event production

As this process is more involved than the Microsoft Teams setup, here are step-by-step instructions for using Zoom products over NDI with live-event production that requires remote presenters. Note that you will have to add Zoom Rooms to your current Zoom plan before proceeding with the following steps.

  1. Create a Zoom Room in the Zoom web management portal for your plan.
  2. Log in to your account, and in the Admin section of the left-hand navigation menu, choose Room Management and then Zoom Rooms.
  3. Click the Add Room button to make a new room. For my purposes, the Room Type is best set to “Zoom Rooms (for shared spaces).”
  4. Assign a descriptive name to the room, such as “Live Events.”
  5. Grab the Room Passcode, Meeting ID, and Host Key automatically assigned to your new room.
  6. In the Zoom Rooms listing, click the Edit button next to the room you created.
  7. In the Rooms Profile tab, scroll down to the Room Passcode section and copy this code. Note that you can also disable the requirement to use the Room Passcode immediately below this code (Figure 9, below).

Figure 9. Room Passcode settings

8. Then, scroll further down to the Room Meeting ID section and copy the ID. The Host Key can be viewed directly below the Meeting ID (Figure 10, below). Copy this key as well so that you can assign the host role to the technical director for the event.

Figure 10. Room Meeting ID and Host Key

9. Enable NDI in the Meeting tab of the room preferences, which is accessible from the same Edit button mentioned in Step 6.
10. In the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, enable the toggle for “Allow Network Device Interface (NDI®) usage” (Figure 11, below).

Figure 11. NDI settings

Preparing the Zoom Rooms Applications

The next steps involve installing and configuring the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application on a Mac or Windows PC, as well as the Room Controller application on a smartphone or tablet. The desktop app is responsible for outputting the NDI to your network from the Zoom meeting, while the smartphone/tablet app is responsible for assigning feeds to one of the three available NDI slots.

  1. To begin, install the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application on a dedicated laptop or computer that will be on-site at the live event. By default, this application will automatically run on startup and take over the entire display of your computer. If you want to quit or restart this application, you may need to use the Room Passcode mentioned in Step 5 of the “Using NDI With a Zoom Workflow” section.
  2. Authenticate the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application with your Zoom account.
  3. Install the Room Controller application on a smartphone or tablet using the appropriate app store (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play).
  4. Over Wi-Fi, connect the smartphone or tablet to the same network as the dedicated computer running the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application. You should use a wired connection on a dedicated computer.
  5. Pair the Room Controller with the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application by tapping the Control Nearby Room button (Figure 12, below), using the Sharing Key displayed at the top right corner of the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room desktop application (Figure 13, below Figure 12). This key changes after every controller session. After pairing, the Room Controller app can control the settings for camera and mic selection in the Zoom Rooms for Conference Room application.

Figure 12. Starting screen for the Room Controller app

Figure 13. Zoom Rooms for Conference Room desktop display

6. Use the Meeting ID assigned to your Zoom Room as described in Step 5 of the previous section. Tap the Join button in the Room Controller app (Figure 14, below), and enter the Meeting ID. Share this ID with remote presenters for use in the Zoom desktop or mobile client. As necessary, the technical director for the live event should log in as the host of the event on a separate device or computer with an authenticated Zoom account; alternatively, the technical director can use the Host Key mentioned in Step 5 of the previous section.

Figure 14. Main menu of the Room Controller app

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