Zoom has become an indisputable fact in our lives ever since the pandemic took over and we moved our work from the office to various bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices across the world.
However, while Zoom works great for team meetings and presentations, there’s another facet of the creative process that there’s no obvious native solution for in Zoom; live editing sessions.
Trying to collaborate with your creative team members remotely while working on a project now means that you’re sending draft after draft back and forth, receiving multiple different sets of notes in your poor, overloaded inbox in seemingly random order.
It’s no wonder that so many editors are looking to recreate the feeling of the editing room where everyone could gather together and look at the most recent edits in real-time, contributing notes and having a conversation about changes as they are happening.
The most obvious solution to this in a remote-work world is to try to stream the editing workspace directly over Zoom, but with a processor-heavy program like After Effects, is this a realistic solution for motion graphics artists and animators?
In this article, we’ll examine some common workarounds and see if they can meet the needs of modern editing teams, so you can stream your Adobe After Effects workspace in real-time while collaborating with your creative team.
What’s The Problem With Streaming Adobe After Effects Over Zoom?
Any editor knows that After Effects is a program that demands a significant amount of CPU power, which becomes an immediate problem to streaming over Zoom. Zoom just isn’t designed to stream professional editing workspaces, and Zoom itself demands a significant amount of processing power as well. The focus of Zoom’s design is for basic conversations or screen-sharing web pages and documents.
When Zoom has to compete for resources against other CPU and graphics-heavy programs like Adobe After Effects, it will attempt to balance the load by downgrading the quality of the stream on one or both ends. This not only can result in a loss of video quality, but can also lead to other issues like video lag and application crashes.
All this aside, the benefit of Zoom is that it is so universal, so nearly everyone already has it installed on their computer and knows how to operate it. Because of that, it seems worthwhile to see if there are any workarounds that will allow you to stream your Adobe After Effects workspace over Zoom for a live, socially-distanced editing session.
Create together remotely, in real time
A Few Common Workarounds to Stream Adobe After Effects over Zoom
1. If you have two separate screens, ideally two separate CPU systems, and enough processing power between the two, you can use OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) and an NDI to stream your workplace over Zoom.
Thankfully, Adobe and NewTek listened to the needs of editors who were looking to stream their workspaces, and NewTek created an NDI specifically for Adobe Creative Cloud platforms, including After Effects.
You can download this NDI here and install the plugin on the computer running Adobe After Effects. Once you’ve activated the NDI, you can broadcast it to your local network, where OBS can receive the signal and funnel it into Zoom.
This workaround will allow you to stream the video feed from your After Effects workspace, however, it won’t stream your editing timeline or anything else in the workspace. It also won’t necessarily solve the Zoom downgrade issue, though your chances of success improve dramatically if you have two separate systems.
2. If you don’t feel like learning the ins and outs of installing, connecting, and streaming an NDI feed, there’s a more low-tech, slightly MacGyver-esq solution.
Get an external webcam, point it at your computer running the After Effects Program, and stream the webcam feed to Zoom as your video input. This will solve some of the Zoom downgrade issues, as most webcams stream in 1080p; however, the video quality of a webcam pointed at a screen is hardly the HD experience you may be looking for.
Also, you won’t be able to stream your face simultaneously unless you run both webcams through OBS first to combine them into a single video feed.
Both of these workarounds will technically work. Your collaborators will get at least the live video feed from your editing session and be able to comment as you make changes. However, neither system provides a perfect, low-latency, HD stream of your workstation that you can rely on 100% to deliver a seamless streaming experience.
If you want a truly seamless experience, you’ll need a purpose-built system for creative teams and their HD workspaces. Thankfully, there is a platform built specifically for your needs: Evercast.
Streaming Adobe After Effects with Evercast
Evercast is purpose-built to make streaming professional editing platforms like Adobe After Effects . The platform requires a simple one-time setup and requires no additional software to enjoy a seamless, real-time editing and collaboration session.
Evercast allows you to stream your workspace in full HD with ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average). This low latency is as close to natural conversation and editing as you can get. In addition to chatting in real-time, on-screen annotation and timestamped notes allow each participant to add their two cents while keeping everything organized and frame-accurate.
And for your less tech-savvy participants, they’ll be relieved to know that they don’t have to download any additional software to participate in a meeting. Just follow the link and join from any device, anywhere in the world.
If you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote editing team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. We believe collaboration is the magic behind the movies, and better collaboration starts with software that works with your team, not against it.