I’m about to let you in on a simple little trick to get the most out of your video hosting experience, especially if you intend on using a particular feature: SCREEN SHARING!
As it stands today, there is MUCH lacking in way of many of the Google extensions required for screen sharing in many of the live video sites that offer them, but that hole can be filled (for Windows users anyway) with a little bit of software that has been around for quite some time now. What is that software?
Zoom It 4.5
(follow the link to get yours now.)
ZoomIt.exe is a perfectly safe and simple to use “portable” software program. Portable simply means it doesn’t need to be installed into your operating system in order to run. It is a self-contained program that consists of one file “zoomit.exe” that could even be run without ever downloading it from the website above. However, I highly recommend users download the .zip and extract it onto their desktops immediately!
To start the program just double-click the .exe file, or drop it onto your task bar for one-click access anytime you need to use it. Once you start it, you can also set it up to auto-start whenever you fire up Windows.
When you first start ZoomIt, you may not see any windows pop-up. If not, it can be found in your taskbar’s icon menu. That’s where all of those startup programs are found. Look and you’ll find an icon of a window with a magnifying glass. By right-clicking on the icon, you gain access the “Options” dialogue box and three command lines within an item list. See the image below for a full screen view.
So as you can see, it’s relatively painless. But this tiny little program contains 3 major tools you’ll want to have in order to make the BEST of your Screensharing!
1. ZOOM (Just as it’s name implies) with quick access via the keyboard shortcut, or by right-clicking on the taskbar icon to access the program in dialogue, you now have a fully functioning magnifying glass, better than the built-in “magnify” application that comes pre-installed on Windows (which by the way, doesn’t work with Blab), or any ctrl+ or ctrl- tricks you may have tried in the past. I use Ctrl+1 as my short (by default). I recommend you set the initial level of magnification to 1.25 (to avoid “zoom shock” to your audience, and yourself!)
At the same time you may or may not want to check BOTH boxes in the bottom-left hand corner of the dialogue window so that ZoomIt will start each time you start Windows and will always end up in your taskbar tray as an icon. Keep in mind, if you ever “Exit” the software, you will have to start again by double-clicking on the .exe file.
2. LIVE ZOOM is a feature of ZoomIt that does NOT work with the Screenshare extension for Chrome that Blab utilizes in its software build. You can use it any other time you’d like, but since it’s not something we can utilize on Blab, I’m not going to cover its use here. You can try it out and see if it’s even anything useful for yourself. The default is Ctrl+2
There may be a work-around for this I haven’t discovered as of yet, but for now, when it comes to Blab anyway, I would recommend setting the shortcut to something like Ctrl+8 or 9 to avoid accidentally starting this part of the app.
3. DRAWING TOOL – One of my favorites. I shortcut this one with Ctrl+2 (Two = “Text Twool” in MY brain). This feature has several ways of working, but is pretty simple to figure out. First of all, once you start this one, you’ll see a colored “dot” on the screen that represents the default size and color settings of the drawing tool. You can immediately change the color setting by typing one of 6 letters right away (no enter key req’d) “r”= red, “b”=blue, “g”=green, “y”=yellow, “o”=orange and “p”=pink. Sadly, white and black are NOT options here. The default is Ctrl+3.
Once your color is established, now you can hold down the Left-Ctrl key and use your mouse wheel (or arrow keys) to increase and decrease the size of the brush. Try out a few strokes to see what works for you. Here, your BEST performance would come from a pen stylus and pad, because drawing and hand-writing text with a mouse is pretty difficult, but I do know of some who have mastered the technique.
There is a 2nd side to the Drawing Tool that can be preset on the next tab labeled “Type”. Here you can set the font, the font style, and the font size. This will allow you to personalize your annotation and labeling while sharing your screen!
In order to access the “Type” feature of the Draw Tool, hold and press Ctrl+2 to enter drawing mode, then type the letter “T”. That’s it. Your cursor will now become a vertical bar “|” and you can begin typing whatever you’d like.
To delete annotations you must use the “ESC” key, unlike deleting drawing elements which can use Ctrl+Z (step erase) or the letter “E” (full erase of all drawn entities).
- BREAK TIME – Last but not at all least is the “Break” feature. It may not sound like much, but I think this one could find itself used in some pretty clever ways on Blab! Break is a timer that can be set to any time from 0-99 minutes that begins to count down once it’s started. It’s default is Ctrl+4. The timer will continue to run as an “elapsed” clock if you check the little box.
Underneath of the “Advanced” button lies even more feature settings for the Break timer.
As you can see below, it’s not just a numbers game. You can locate the timer in any of 9 positions on the screen, include background images with or without opacity (the default is a white screen with timer centered) and you can even include an alarm or other sound (Windows sound file) that will play at the end of the time set. Hitting the “ESC” key will stop the timer and clear back to the previous screen.
To add a sound bite, check the box next to “Play Sound…” then select a sound file from the Windows folder or choose your own.
Timer Opacity = A timer that is solid in color or one you can see through to the screen.
Timer Position – 9 positions to choose from (UL, TC, UR, LC, CC, RC, BL, BC, BR)
Show backgroup bitmap – Gives you the choice of fading your existing desktop background or adding a completely different graphic for the timer when it’s activated.
Scale to screen – I’ll let you try that one out for yourself. (if you still don’t get it, get in touch with me!)
That’s about it! If you have any further questions on the use of this awesome little tool for bringing life to your LIVE Streaming Party! Just give me a shout by visiting my contact page.