2-Way Interview with Skype and Wirecast

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Many Wirecast streamers would love to take live video call ins or one on one guest interviews. Since the complementary Desktop Presenter doesn’t send audio to Wirecast, some may feel they need to resort to additional computers and mixing boards.  All it takes is a way to receive the video call (Skype, ooVoo, iChatAV, etc) and with an additional low budget piece of audio software you can set up to take video calls and bring in the audio all on a single computer. The following video tutorial goes through a simple Mac setup with the addition of Skype and SoundFlower.

Check out the video here

Setting up Skype for Wirecast use on Mac step by step:

  1. Install SoundFlower (and SoundFlowerBed with it).
  2. Start Skype.
  3. In Preferences: Video set a camera or virtual camera as your source. You can not use the same camera in Skype and Wirecast so the Skype video source is just a null camera to allow the video call.
    Set Audio input to your sound source (USB Mic for example). This can feed both Skype and Wirecast.
    Set Audio output to SoundFlower 2 ch
  4. Quit Skype to ensure it doesn’t grab control of your camera you wan to use in Wirecast.
  5. Open Desktop Presenter (you won’t be able to point it to Skype yet)
  6. Open SoundFlowerBed menubar and set it to the output your headphones are on. You will monitor the Skype call directly as monitoring through Wirecast will result in a delay when hearing your own voice.
  7. Open Wirecast and turn off Headphone icon to avoid delay in headphone monitoring
  8. Open Skype. You can have someone call in so you can set your shots in Wirecast. Skype must be opened after Wirecast to ensure it doesn’t grab the camera you’re going to use in your stream.
  9. In Wirecast set for 2 shot, guest shot, host shot.  In each shot set audio to SoundFlower 2 Ch.  If video is from DV/HDV camera or other camera with combined audio, select the Channel and the cam shot, open Playback tab and turn off speaker or, bring down fader. This will kill the camera audio. You only want your mic and SoundFlower as sources.
  10. In Main Layer window select your USB Mic. This mic will stay on through each shot so your viewers can hear you talk to guest if you like even when they are full screen.

The main difference between Mac and Windows is that on Windows you’d use Virtual Audio Cables. One cable goes to Skype to Wirecast. One cable goes to your headphones.

Note that Skype has a beta on Windows which allows multiple video callers (free but will have fees with final release). On Mac, iChatAV can also handle multiple video conversations with Mac only callers (no fees). ooVoo also has a multiple video callers for an additional fee. All these can work similarly to the above with addition of duplicating DTP shots with additional cropping for solo shots.

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24 Comments

  1. hi craig, nice to finally put a face to the avatar 🙂 you guys have great customer service and response time… for that i thank you… now, when will we get the beta for testing? just thought i’d ask 😉

  2. @Cindy
    As the late Orson Wells would say in those Paul Masson commercials, “We will serve no wine before it’s time.” When it’s ready to test, you will get a flavorful glass. The piecing are coming along nicely but it’s not ready to serve yet. Hang tight.

  3. Hi — Great job! Thanks so much for going over how this is done. I have been baffled for quite awhile trying to figure it out.

    Now I have a request for further help. My friend Kevin Smith (KevinSmithShow.com) needs this explained for a PC. Any chance you could explain that one : )

    Thanks
    Jerry

  4. There’s only a couple of steps that are different for Windows. I’ll do a cast in the near future with those differences.

    Basically you use Virtual Audio Cables. Skype goest to a VAC cable and one “Cable” goes to Wirecast and another “Cable” can go to your headphones.

  5. CraigT, If you want a panel you may need to go the Skypeasaurus route and use multiple computers with Skype, Desktop Presenter and, sending the audio to a mixing board.

    One interesting trick is you use Parallels or Fusion and Windows to create Virtual Windows OSs. Each open window can take a Skype call. Soundflower will send all the audio to Wirecast. But there’s a serious problem with that. There’s no easy two way communication. One user does the above but uses Ventrillo for the audio communication.

    On Windows, Skype has a beta that allows up to 10 video call participants. Currently all callers must be using the beta. It’s Windows only. There’s no Mac equivalent beta unfortunately grrrr!

    iChat AV allows up to 4 video participants but they all have to be on Mac.

    oovoo allows up to 6 participants (you have to either pay in advance or have a plan for more than 2 way participation) and works on both Mac and Windows and participants don’t even need oovoo installed. This might be the easiest way to go and while it does cost some pennies per minute per caller it’s a lot less expensive than having to get additional computers and a mixing board.

    Obviously multiple video call participants will become standard on Skype but it seems it may take some time for the Mac version to happen. BTW Skype will likely charge, much like oovoo does, when it moves from beta to release.

  6. jack, you can install something like ManyCam (which is free) which you see pop up as my video source in the tutorial. ManyCam actually does allow you to send a camera to multiple places but in my experience the frame rate is very low. It works fine as a null camera though.

  7. George Donnelly, Skype 5 (both Mac and Windows) now supports up to 10 people on video conference although they recommend no more than 4 for best quality. Like ooVoo, it’s not free but not expensive if you use it regularly. Skype is charging $8.99 a month or $4.99 for the day

  8. This has worked very well doing live webcasts with classrooms from the JOIDES Resolution – an international research drilling ship. We’re currently at sea in the western South Pacific. I’ve been asked, however, to record a show. Wirecast records the picture and the audio of the classrooms from Skype, but not our local audio. Skype records only skype. I installed Camtasia, but get a warning dialog box that says, “Problem Recording System Audio; We are unable to capture system audio when Soundflower is selected as the default output device.” Uh oh. Any recommendations on how to record both Wirecast and Skype? Thanks!

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I’m not sure of your particular setup but if you send to Wirecast, Skype video from Desktop Presenter, Skype Audio from SoundFlower (Mac) or Virtual Audio Cable (Windows) and audio from the device being sent to Skype (local audio), Wirecast can record the whole thing to hard drive.

    For example, I can use a USB microphone and send it to both Skype and Wirecast. When the shot is composited with SoundFlower (I did this on Mac) I get all the audio.

  10. This has got to be the most remedial question, but… I cannot for the life of me find SoundFower or SoundFlowerBed to perform this step:

    Open SoundFlowerBed menubar

    What am I missing?

    SF shows up fine as audio sources…

  11. Hi Craig,
    When I recorded in Wirecast, I recorded our output picture, and only the audio from the Skype call. We recorded none of our audio. I’d like to document our show. We’re skyping with classrooms in the US from aboard the JOIDES Resolution in the western South Pacific Ocean. It’s been cool, but I don’t know why I can’t record both audio inputs – Skype and our feed. I tried Camtasia, but got a message that said, “Problem Recording System Audio: unable to record system audio when Soundflower is selected as default output.” Ideas?

    Thanks!
    L

  12. Bill see article for link to SoundFlower. It’s a separate download.

    Lisa, you should add Skype (through SoundFlower) and Your audio separate to Wirecast. Wirecast records everything you have live. It must be your mic PLUS SoundFlower as source. You can have each audio source on a separate layer to have two audio sources.

  13. The BIG problem for me is that Skype will recognize my DV camera for video but it won’t carry over the Audio through the DV camera. There is no option for it in Audio input.

    Is there any workaround for this?

  14. James, there’ve been serious problems with Skype 5 Mac and using DV cameras. Skype just released Mac version 5.0.0.7994 which fixed most but not all of the problems.

    Heck, with the previous release I couldn’t even connect a live DV camera without Skype crashing. The camera didn’t even have to be connected to Skype for Skype to crash.

    Please follow up in the appropriate Wirecast forum so other users can also participate in working through the Skype issues.
    http://forum.telestream.net/forum/default.aspx?FTVAR_SUBCAT=38&nocookies=y&subcatname=Wirecast+-+Webcasting

  15. Any way to make the video on the skype call smoother? I find that the capture process drops the frame rate and occasionally freezes the video. I would really like a way to make the skype video stream as smooth inside Wirecast, as it does in the live Skype call. Any suggestions?

  16. We’re also trying to bring in live skype video callers to talk to our announcers on a show we’re streaming with Wirecast. We’ve tried using Desktop Presenter but the instant Destop Presenter sees any video stream, the video frame rate falls through the floor.
    I’m beginning to think I need to RIP the skype picture off a screen with a camera that feeds into Wirecast.

    Any suggesttions would be appreciated.
    Thanks

  17. hi, great tutorial, thanks! I will use wire cast with sype, to give music lessons with two cameras… Do I still need your additional softwares recommendations to show my students two cameras, and still have the option to see them too?..or there is other stuff I will need?
    thanks from argentina,
    juan

  18. Hi Craig

    una pregunta para mi muy importante.
    Es posible que lo que este saliendo por Wirecast , como por ejemplo el chroma key, se pueda enviar por skype a otros ?

    Yo lo que quiero es trabajar con wirecast , hacer videollamada y que el otro vea el chroma key.

    Saludos

    a question for my very important.
    Would it is possible that what out for Wirecast, as for example the chroma key, can send Skype to others?

    I what I want is to work with wirecast, make video call and to the other see the chroma key.

    Best regards

  19. This is a good tutorial, but I am having troubles getting a decent framerate. I am trying to do something much simpler than you are: I just want to record a high-quality, high-resolution Skype video interview to cut into an edited program in Post. My subject is across country. My tests have been with my wife, in the office upstairs.

    So, ideally I would like a 1280x720p recording at 30fps in mono at 96kbits/s (15fps might be acceptable and 720×480 might be acceptable), recorded to disk (I have very fast SS drive). Right now I am getting only 1.14Mbits/sec, 4 to 6fps, and worst, the audio keeps breaking up on the recorded .MOV

    As a benchmark I downloaded a freebie Skype recording called “Call Recorder for Skype” and it did a better job, near perfect on the Audio, and consistent on the Video, 1400×900, although only 2.15fps, at datarate of 2.12 Mbit/sec

    Any suggestions to try would be welcome. MBP 2.8GHZ Core 2 Duo, 4gb RAM

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