Setting Up Meet & Stream and the Backstage
Meet & Stream is PheedLoop's own native streaming solution. It isn't just an RTMP ingest or the option to embed a third-party service (though, those certainly exist in PheedLoop). Meet & Stream offers the convenience, integration, and streamlined functionality of a native solution. It is built on top of PheedLoop Meet, which is PheedLoop's native meeting system allowing for rich group video/audio calls, screen sharing, and more. The Meet product is coupled with our Stream product (allowing you to stream your PheedLoop Meet meetings to hundreds or thousands of people), resulting in Meet & Stream!
Step 1 - Enable Backstage Streaming for a Session
If you'd like to test Meet & Stream or are certain you want to use it for a session, the first step will be to enable Meet & Stream for the session's backstage. To do this, visit the Sessions module in your dashboard, select any session, and check the option called Enable Backstage Meet & Stream. You will not be charged anything at any point or consume any credits, that is optional and comes later when you're ready to go live.
Step 2 - Visit the Backstage
Open up your event's Virtual Event Portal via your dashboard's Event Portals menu. Ensure you are logged in to the portal with your admin credentials. If you are not, then you will be unable to see the Backstage and all the sessions within. Click on Backstage via the portal's menu, and navigate to the session you enabled Meet & Stream for in the previous step. Click on the Meet & Stream tab.
Step 3 - Join PheedLoop Meet
Now that you're in the Meet & Stream interface for the session, you need to join the meeting. You'll notice the familiar PheedLoop Meet interface pop up under the Meet & Stream tab. Select your devices, and click on Join Meeting. We won't dive into the specifics of PheedLoop Meet in this article as it's covered in many other articles. However, it is straightforward with toggles for cameras, microphones, screen sharing, etc. It allows up to 16 simultaneous video feeds from speakers/panelists who join, and will broadcast in gallery view mode.
Any speakers who are also in the session's backstage and joined PheedLoop Meet there will show up in the meeting, and you're welcome to chat with them. Nothing should be broadcasting or streaming, so it's all private and internal at this point.
Step 4 - Broadcast Your Meeting
Now that you are in the meeting, you're welcome to begin broadcasting it whenever you like by toggling the Broadcast switch. Broadcasting will not stream to your attendees, that won't start until you've enabled the broadcast and enabled the stream. Broadcasting allows your meeting to start being captured and recorded, and whenever you're ready you can toggle the Stream option to share the broadcast publicly to attendees (more on this in the next step).
To start broadcasting, toggle the Broadcast option. You're likely going to be in Test mode right now (if the Test toggle is turned on), so you can run unlimited and free 5-minute broadcasts to test things out. 5 minutes after you start your broadcast, it will automatically be stopped. You're welcome to start it again if you like after that. We'll talk about applying actual credits to your broadcasts later in this article.
It takes about 60 seconds for your broadcast to start. When it does, the broadcasted view of your Meet will show up in the mini-player (muted by default). The broadcast is usually 5 - 10 seconds behind the real-time meeting, and the mini player is there only for you to have a convenient view of what your attendees will see when you choose to start streaming.
Step 5 - Stream Your Broadcast
Now that your broadcast is running, if you're all set and ready to raise the curtains, all you need to do is enable the stream by toggling the Stream switch. Doing so will immediately start streaming your broadcast to all attendees viewing your session via the Sessions section in your virtual event portal. This setting to enable the stream is identical to the Enable Stream setting in your dashboard. We describe all the details around enabling streams here, including pre-roll videos and more. You can toggle your stream on and off as often as you like, it does not affect the broadcast or the meeting itself. Really think of it as just a curtain preventing your attendees from seeing what you're broadcasting behind the scenes.
Step 6 - Ending Your Session
After your session has wrapped up, stopping and shutting things down is very simple. Simply disable the stream, and disable the broadcast (ideally in this order). You can restart these as often as you like within the time duration your streaming credit (if applied) allows, or as often as you like in the 5-minute test bursts PheedLoop provides for free.
In the Quick Start guide above, we walked you through Meet & Stream with Test mode on. Again, this allows for an unlimited number of 5 minute long broadcast tests. Eventually, you may want to actually broadcast and stream a real meeting to a large number of attendees for more than 5 minutes. In that case, you'll need to purchase credits via your dashboard's Account & Billing section, and apply them when you're ready to turn off test mode and go live. Keep in mind that you'll need to start with the broadcast (not the meeting) turned off prior to switching off the Test switch.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if the viewer limit is reached?
If you've reached the viewer limit based on the streaming credit you have purchased and applied, new attendees trying to join the session will not be permitted and will see a pop-up notification saying the session is at capacity. As soon as an attendee chooses to leave, someone new can take their spot and join in.
What is the difference between broadcasting and streaming?
So you have your PheedLoop Meet meeting going on, that's where your speakers and moderator(s) all come together. Broadcasting is essentially pressing the "record" button as if you brought a cameraperson into the meeting room to film the meeting. For that reason, broadcasting/recording doesn't actually make your meeting publicly viewable. This technically means you can use Meet & Stream but only broadcast the Meet if you want to capture a recorded version of the Meet only. However, most events don't just want to broadcast or record their meeting, they also want to play it in real-time to viewers. That's what streaming is for. So the order is essentially Meet > Broadcast > Stream.
How many speakers/presenters can Meet & Stream support?
Up to 25 speakers/presenters can be in the meeting. Up to 16 camera feeds can be visible at any given time, plus any optional screen shares.
How many viewers can Meet & Stream support?
The simple answer is there's no limit. If you anticipate more than 5,000 viewers for a session, let us know and we can offer further discounts as our standard pricing goes up to 5,000 viewers only.
What are the other streaming options PheedLoop supports?
Several! Check out a full list here.
Does Meet & Stream support picture-in-picture mode?
Yes! This is a very exciting aspect of Meet & Stream. Select the option in the attendee-facing player when your stream is enabled to switch to picture-in-picture mode. This allows for the opportunity to explore other parts of the event while watching the live stream on the side. The player also sticks around as the attendee navigates outside the virtual event portal in other tabs or other computer applications.
Can I disable the backstage entirely?
Yes, easily! Visit General > Virtual in your dashboard, and disable the option called Enable Backstage Section.
Will attendees see the backstage?
The backstage tab will only ever be seen by Event Admins or Speakers. Event Admins by default will see all sessions within the backstage. Speakers will only ever see the sessions that they are assigned to in the backstage. Attendees will not see the backstage tab.