How to stream Reaper over Zoom without lag

The recording studio can be a magical place. It can be a part workshop, part social club, and part think-tank. Even as digital production software like Reaper entered the scene, the recording studio still remained a hub of creativity and innovation, but instead of being hunched over a mixing board, many music producers found themselves hunched over a laptop or CPU instead.  

In an age of remote work and social distancing, we’re losing that magical space to work in together. If you and your team are finding yourself in this situation, you may be looking for some alternatives to help you recreate that live collaboration space from the comfort of your home studios. 

Zoom has become a nearly universal platform that many people use daily to connect with their co-workers, so there must be a way to use Zoom to collaborate with your creative team as well, right? Is it possible to share your next editing session live with your team by streaming over Zoom?

There is no native way to stream Reaper over Zoom. However, we’ll examine some common workarounds and see if they can meet the needs of creative teams and the demands of the Reaper platform.  

The Challenge of Streaming Reaper Over Zoom

The benefits of Reaper are immense. It’s a powerful platform designed to support professional multitrack recording and editing. However, such a powerful program demands a lot of processing power. And that’s where the key problems begin. 

Zoom is also a CPU-heavy platform, and the Zoom developers themselves have admitted that their platform does not perform well when streaming HD video or competing with other programs for CPU space.

According to Zoom, “when using the option to share your desktop or an application, the video resolution is dependent upon CPU usage, screen resolution, graphics card, and OS graphic system capabilities.”

They go on to mention that when sharing HD video or other applications, “depending on how the video is shared, such as sharing a specific application or sharing only a portion of your screen, it may require additional CPU resources, which can further affect the overall quality of both the video share and the meeting for the user who is sharing.”

So, this means that attempting to share a program like Reaper over Zoom can result in a downgraded quality of both the Reaper platform and the Zoom meeting itself. This can lead to pixilation, glitching, and other issues. Zoom just simply isn’t designed for HD video or platform sharing and instead focuses on its ability to share simple websites, presentations, or word documents.

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However, the big advantage that Zoom has is its universal use. Most of your team is likely already using Zoom for other reasons, and so wanting to utilize this already-familiar program to collaborate with your creative team is something many people will attempt to do.

With that, we’ve compiled some common workarounds that people are using to utilize Zoom as a virtual editing room. 

Some Common Workarounds to Stream Reaper Over Zoom

  1. The first option is to use two screens and ideally two separate systems. If you have these handy, you can use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and an NDI program to stream your Reaper workspace. Since Reaper does not have a built-in NDI, you’ll have to download an NDI that enables screen sharing, like NewTek’s Screen Capture.

This will require you to use the NDI to stream the screen of your system that is displaying Reaper and add that as your video input to Zoom by channeling it through OBS. This workaround requires a lot of processing power and a decent amount of setup time. It also doesn’t fully solve the problem of Zoom downgrading video quality and these CPU-heavy programs slowing down the performance of Zoom, Reaper, or both. 

  1. A lower-tech option is to use an external webcam and point it at the screen that Reaper is displayed on. You can then stream the webcam feed to Zoom or channel it through OBS. 

The obvious drawback of this system is video and audio quality. The quality of a webcam feed of a screen is less than ideal, and the audio quality of a webcam mic picking up your external speakers is also less than ideal when you’re listening for the little details that make a great mix. 

The problem with all these workarounds is that they are trying to compensate for the fact that Zoom simply isn’t purpose-built for streaming programs like Reaper. 

There is, however, a platform that is specifically designed for creative teams who want to live stream their editing sessions while chatting face-to-face with their creative team in real-time: Evercast. 

Streaming Reaper with Evercast

Collaborating in real-time with your creative team over Evercast requires no special workarounds to stream Reaper. It is purpose-built for creative teams who are looking to replicate the feeling of sitting in the studio together and entering that state of creative flow as they review and tweak their most recent projects. 

Evercast allows you to stream your Reaper workspace in full HD with ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average). Other features include:

  • On-screen annotations
  • Time-stamped notes for easy organization and review
  • Face-to-face video conferencing built-in

The best part is that workspace streaming, video chat, and note-taking all works within the Evercast platform, reducing CPU load and improving overall performance. The best part is that meeting participants don’t have to download special software to participate; they can simply join via a link from anywhere in the world. 

If you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote audio production team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. We believe collaboration is one of the most important elements in creating great work, and better collaboration starts with software that works with your team, not against it.

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