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Using Video

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2016 02:05PM CDT
Video can be very useful in online sessions. For example, in online music lessons, the instructor will often need to visually demonstrate placement of fingers on an instrument and other physical aspects of instrumental and/or vocal performance. As another example, in group sessions visual cues can be an important means of non-verbal communication. In addition to incredibly low latency and high quality audio, the JamKazam application delivers video in sessions. This help article explains some of the key video features you may find useful in sessions.

Let's start with two musicians in a session (pictured below).

To start using video in the session, click the VIDEO button in the session toolbar (pictured above with arrow). If you are the first musician in the session to click the VIDEO button, your webcam will start capturing video, and you'll see a video window displayed with just you in it (pictured below).

When another musician in the session clicks the VIDEO button, they will be added to your video window. The default video presentation with two musicians is to display yourself as a small video inset, and to display the other musician larger, taking up the full video window size (pictured below).

One set of useful features is accessible in the Display video menu (pictured below).

For example, you can click the Always On Top menu option (pictured above) to force the video window to stay on top of the JamKazam application window, so that the video window does not get lost behind the application window when you are using session features in the JamKazam app.

Another useful option in the Display menu is to set the size of the video window. In the screenshot above, the video window is sized to 1/2 720p. If you click to select the 720pHD menu option (pictured above), the video window is sized twice as large (pictured below). This can be useful, for example, if you are teaching a student in a lesson, and want to see more detail of how they are holding their hands, where their fingers are on a guitar fretboard, etc. Note that these Display menu options do not affect the video resolution captured by your webcam. They simply size the video display window.

Another couple of handy video features are available in the Video Layout menu (pictured below). The Rotate Inset Position option lets you change the position of your video inset in the video window. This can be useful if your video inset is blocking something you want to see on the other musician. For example, with the position of the video inset below, the video inset would block a significant portion of some instruments from view, like the body of a guitar.

If you click the Rotate Inset Position option, it will move the inset position to a different location in the video window (pictured below). Click it again, and it will move to a different position again. Keep repeating this to move it around the window until you find a spot that works best. There is also a hotkey combination displayed on this menu option to make it easier to do this.

Another feature in the Video Layout menu is the menu option to Change to Next Layout. Clicking this menu option changes the basic layout of the video window, for example to a side-by-side layout (pictured below). 

Note that with more than two musicians in a session, both of these layout features still work. The layouts are different for 3 through 8 musicians in a session (Brady Bunch anyone?), but these menu options toggle among the various options, so you can easily experiment to see which you like best.

The Webcam menu includes the Select Capture Settings menu option (pictured below). This lets you specify the video resolution you want your webcam to capture. A couple of things to keep in mind on video resolution. All else equal, higher resolution is better. But we'd advise not going higher than 720p video. 1080p won't buy you much, and if you are streaming to other musicians, this higher resolution HD video will chew up your upload bandwidth very fast. Higher resolution video will also work your processor harder, which would impact audio quality if your CPU gets overloaded. And if you are recording your session, higher resolution video will also chew up storage space a lot faster.

Another nifty feature tucked away in the Webcam menu is the Switch Webcam menu option (pictured above, but grayed out). If you have more than webcam attached to your computer, you can switch between webcam views with this menu option.

This can be useful for teachers who want to show different angles when demonstrating technique. Or it can be useful for musicians or bands that want to cut between different video angles/views when recording or live broadcasting video sessions.

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