I’ve recently started a YouTube channel called Soothing Musings with Sarah. I’ll tell you a bit about the channel itself later. First, though, I want to share what I learned about how to record a presentation alongside a webcam view of myself. After quite a bit of investigation, I found that the best combination of services for my needs is StreamYard, Google Slides, and YouTube.
For my video format, I wanted to include a mini window showing myself talking. I therefore needed an app that would record a webcam view. Alongside the talking me, I wanted a main window showing pictures of the thing I was talking about. For the main window, I decided a slide deck would be best, so that I could include text as well as photos. So, I needed an app that would record a slide presentation, as well as the mini window of me as presenter.
Here’s the end result:
I already had a Gmail account, which gives me access to Google Slides for presentations, and YouTube for sharing videos.
Getting started with Google Slides and YouTube
You can get help from the Google documentation on how to set up an account. You can use the same account for Gmail, Google Slides, and YouTube. There’s also information on how to create presentations with Google Slides.
Setting up a named YouTube channel
When you set up a YouTube account, you automatically get a YouTube channel that has the same name as your account. For my videos, I wanted a channel with a specific name: Soothing Musings with Sarah. YouTube calls a named channel a brand account (or sometimes just an account). A brand account doesn’t need to be a business account.
The YouTube docs describe how to set up a named channel. One thing to note is that there may be a 24-hour delay before your new named channel is available. I found there was no delay for my default YouTube channel, but the delay did occur for the named channel (brand account) which I created.
StreamYard for recording of presentation and webcam view
StreamYard gives you a browser-based streaming studio. I’m using Chrome as my browser. StreamYard works by streaming your recorded video directly to YouTube. All you need to do is set up your screen layout and other options in StreamYard, then record the session. As soon as you finish the session, you can watch your video on your YouTube channel. StreamYard gives you a link to the video on YouTube, which you can find on the StreamYard dashboard.
After you finish recording your video on StreamYard, YouTube still needs to complete some post-processing, which can take a few hours. When that’s done, your video becomes visible in the list of videos in your YouTube channel. That’s also when you can set the video thumbnail and download the video. Note that you can view the video on YouTube immediately after finishing the session on StreamYard, even before YouTube’s post-processing is finished.
Connecting StreamYard to YouTube
Here’s how to connect StreamYard to your YouTube channel:
- Sign up for a StreamYard account. StreamYard offers free and paid plans.
- In StreamYard, go to the destinations page. As you can see in this screenshot, I currently have two destinations set up in Streamyard: one for my default YouTube account, and one for my brand account. Your destinations page is probably empty at this point:
- Click Add a Destination.
- On the next page, click YouTube Channel:
- Follow the prompts to sign in to Google and to choose your account or brand account. Make sure you use the email address that you used to set up your YouTube channel.
When that’s all done, you’re ready to create your first recording, which StreamYard calls a broadcast.
Recording your session on StreamYard
The following steps include some tips that I gleaned while experimenting with StreamYard. They may not all apply to you, but they’ll at least help you get started.
- Get ready to be filmed. 🙂 Brush your hair, arrange your collar, do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel comfortable. Of course, you can choose not to include a webcam view in the recording. In that case, as you were.
- Go to the StreamYard broadcasts page and click Create a Broadcast:
- If StreamYard prompts you with a dialog window named Broadcast to, choose the YouTube channel that you want as the destination for your video recording.
- Set the title, description, and privacy for your video. I like to set the video to private at first, so that I can review it before the general public can see it:
- Click Create Broadcast.
- Check the view from your camera and the sound from your mic, as prompted by StreamYard.
- Set a display name. This is the text that appears on the bottom left of the webcam view. Looking at the video at the top of this post, you can see that my display name is Sarah Maddox, and it shows up as white text on an indigo background.
- This is when you enter the StreamYard studio. It looks like this:
- Take some time to examine the options, in particular the various settings available in the strip on the right-hand side of the studio. In the above screenshot, I’ve selected the Brand option, which is where you can set your brand colour etc. Some of the options are available in the paid plans only. For my brand colour, I chose indigo, which is why my display name has an indigo background. You can find some good colours on the material design website.
- If you want a recording of yourself to be part of the video, click the box with the webcam view near the bottom left of the studio page. That’s the box that shows a moving picture of you. By clicking the box, you add the webcam view to the video.
- Check the angle of your video camera, and make sure the webcam shows just what you want it to show.
- Now it’s time to set up the layout of your video. Click one of the layouts that appear in a row like this:
I like the layout that shows 2 people on the left plus the presentation on the right. That’s the one highlighted in the above screenshot. Even though I’m showing only one person (that is, one webcam view) I like the sizing ratios in this layout.
- Move over to your Google Slides deck, and click Present then Presenter view, so that you can use the presenter view window to drive the presentation:
- You’ll see a presenter view window that looks something like this:
- In StreamYard, click the Share Screen, option, which appears at the bottom of the StreamYard studio:
- Choose the option to share the Chrome tab and select the presenter view for your presentation:
- Bring the presenter view window for your presentation to the fore, and drag the presenter view window to a convenient position, so that it doesn’t cover any bits of the StreamYard screen that you want to see while presenting. In particular, make sure you can see the “Go Live” button. The “End Broadcast” button will appear in the same place when you’re actually broadcasting, and you’ll want to find that easily.
- Now it’s time to start the recording. In StreamYard, click Go Live at the top right of the studio window:
- Click Go Live again to confirm that you’re ready. This starts the streaming to YouTube. (It’s OK! If you’ve set the privacy option to private, no-one but you can see the video while you’re streaming or even when you’ve finished.)
- Press Alt+Tab (or Cmd+Tab) to bring the presenter view to the fore again.
- Go for it! Have your say and show your slides.
- When you’re ready to stop recording, click End Broadcast at top right of the StreamYard studio:
- Click End Broadcast again to confirm. Wait a second or so until StreamYard lets you know that it’s closed the stream.
- Take a look at your video! In StreamYard, you can click Links at top right of the studio window, then click View on YouTube:
- Alternatively, you can click Return to Dashboard and see your list of recorded videos on the Past Broadcasts tab:
- Click the three dots next to each recording to see various options, including the option to view the video on YouTube.
You can also see the video directly from YouTube. In your channel, Click Your videos then select Live streams from the dropdown list:
- After some hours, the video appears in the Uploads list too.
- In YouTube Studio, the recording appears on the Live tab.
- Note that the Download link for the video in YouTube Studio doesn’t work immediately — it’s greyed out. It took a few hours for me before the link became active.
- While recording in StreamYard, you can remove the webcam window but retain audio: Click the layout option that shows just the full screen. You can then put the webcam back again by choosing your original layout option.
- The StreamYard docs are excellent, including a good set of FAQ.
Other services that I tried
I tried a few other services to get the layout that I needed. When live streaming with YouTube Live, I couldn’t share my screen. ScreenCastify is very easy to use and produces nice results, but I couldn’t get the onscreen camera box (webcam view) to appear when in presenter mode with Google Slides.
My channel: Soothing Musings with Sarah
My YouTube channel is a new type of communication for me. I’m attempting to use voice mixed with beautiful pictures of nature, plus a soupçon of information, to convey a sense of calm. Hence, Soothing Musings with Sarah. At this point, the channel has a couple of videos streamed via StreamYard. I’m experimenting as I go. There’ll probably be more to come.
If you’re investigating how to record a video with a camera view and a slide deck, I hope you find this post useful.