Best Practice for Setting up Shot Layers in Wirecast

Shot layer vs Master layer
Using the Master Layers is a great way to compose your shots individually. This way each source may turn on and off or be switched to and from.

Example of the Master Layer
A general set up would be to add logos on layer 1, lower 3rd on layer 2, camera sources on layer 3 and audio or microphones on layer 4. This would allow for switching between camera sources and keeping the logo, lower 3rd and audio continuous throughout the stream.

Each source in the Master Layer has its own Shot Layer. A Shot Layer has the ability to add layers within itself. This allows for building a shot with all the elements inside of the shot itself.

Example of the Shot Layer
An example set up of layers within a Shot Layer would be adding a camera source, selecting the Shot Layer in the Shot Properties Panel, and begin to add sources such as a logo, lower 3rd, overlays, graphic. This is a simple setup when you’d like all the elements to stay within that source. Transitioning between sources is as easy as one click.

Picture in Picture / Source Properties
Picture in Picture or PIP is a great way to compose informational / tutorial/interview / topic-oriented presentations. A PIP shot would allow a speaker to discuss a presentation while positioned beside the visual presentation. Another great use for a PIP is a presenter discussing a subject and inset another camera angle of the presenter handling a product up close. A popular use for PIP is to have the presenter on frame left and a guest speaker frame right. Both individuals are visible and it creates a conversation.

A good set up for an interview PIP would be to create one shot with the PIP of the presenter and guest, a second shot of the presenter only, a third shot of the guest only. When the two are speaking together, switch to the PIP. When the presenter is discussing something important, switch to the presenter only, the same when the guest is discussing something important. Switch to the guest to have the focus on the guest.

Shot composure
Consider shot composure when creating PIP’s and adding logos and a lower 3rd. If you divide the visual space of the Preview or Live Window to left / middle/right 3rd of the screen. This will direct the viewer’s eye as well as create an effective visual workspace. An example would be a tutorial with a visual overlay on the left side of the screen and having the instructor on the right, both equally visible and unobstructed.

On a single person shot having the presenter in the middle of the screen facing the camera will direct the viewer’s eye straight to the presenter for direct engagement. Having the presenter positioned on the right 3rd of the screen and slightly facing away from the camera will create the look the presenter is speaking to a group and the viewer is not directly engaged. Both have their purpose in getting your message to the viewer. Having two cameras and switching between these composed shots is a staple in the streaming/commercial/film industry.

Equally important to the position of the presenter on the screen is the available space for overlays. Overlays may consist of logo’s, lower 3rd and titles, graphics, media, 2nd 3rd 4th cameras, etc. Overlays play an important part in providing information that you wish to remain static. For example, a company logo, branding the video/stream. The name, title, description of the presenter or topic of the video/stream. Graphic elements to represent your message or visually enhance your studio/camera, shot/screen.

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