Fine Art Photography by Bill Theis
Some tricks for using BoothCentral Open Studios software

Some tricks for using BoothCentral Open Studios software

You can practice BoothCentral all by yourself.  Log in as a vendor.  Then “Start” the video chat in your booth.  Now take a second device (like a cell phone or another computer) and log in again as vendor.  Go to your booth and “Join” the video chat.  Now you can see pretty much what a visitor will see on the second device so you can practice things with yourself.  Since you are doing two video streams your internet bandwidth may be stressed but this is worth doing anyway.

So you want to do a studio tour but can’t figure out how to with BoothCentral.  Try this:  Make a video tour (without any sound) of your studio just like you want it.  take your time and make it right.  Now on the day you are in your both, open the movie with your favorite movie player (I am using VLC media player) and go into your booth.  When a visitor asks for a tour of the studio, switch to the movie player and start the movie.  Since there’s no sound from the movie, discuss LIVE what the visitor is seeing.  If the visitor shows interest in a particular piece, PAUSE the movie and discuss it as long as you want before going on.  This has the enormous advantage that it uses no bandwidth because the file is on your hard drive rather than streaming from somewhere.  Plus you’re not trying to do the tour or a very stressful day and likely to do a better job.  Also the view from the point of view of the visitor is exactly the same.  This would also apply the exact same way if you had a slide show of your work (with an application you can pause like Adobe Bridge).

 I also discovered that you can have BoothCentral all by itself in one WINDOW and the tab(s) you want to share in a different WINDOW (can have multiple tabs).  This way you can look at BOTH the booth tab and the shared tab simultaneously.  This is particularly useful if you are lucky enough to have two monitors–you can watch both screens in full rather than some kind of condensed view.

There are a couple of options that may work for your video studio tour where you want to walk around the studio and show the visitor.  Make sure you test and are very familiar with them before using:

a) do it all on a portable device (like a cell phone or tablet) and just carry it around the studio.  You may want to switch to the front camera instead of the one facing you to make it easier since that way you will be looking at what the camera is broadcasting and not the image of you.  They will still hear you but not see you.  Be very careful because if you hit the wrong key on the keyboard or click the screen if touch sensitive then everything can destruct and you would have to start by logging back into BoothCentral. 

b) you can have your main Booth computer all set up but also grab that cell phone or tablet and log in AGAIN using your vendor credentials (I haven’t tried it as a guest but that may work too).  As soon as you get in, TURN OFF THE AUDIO so you don’t get yourself into a feedback loop!  now you can enter your own booth with this second camera and it will appear the same as a guest.  You are using one of your guest slots so you may want to have your second device (phone or tablet) leave your studio and just hang out ready to come back in when you want to walk away from your main computer and show off your studio. Visitors will see the tour as if you were another participant so you may suggest to them that they “pin” the tour window so that it goes full screen.  When you”Leave” your booth with the secondary webcam, the video STOPS on your second device which is perfect and doesn’t use internet bandwidth.  If you don’t have a good internet connection, you may experience problems when both are running so you may want to STOP the video on the main one only start it.

d) for that second webcam, make two Skype (or Duo or Facetime) accounts and from your mobile webcam make a call that appears on the app on your main computer.  Try this ONLY if you have good internet.  Start with an audio only (no video) call and make sure you turn off the sound on both of these.  Then turn on the video on the mobile webcam only so that you get a silent picture on the app on your main computer.  Now log into booth central.  Since you haven’t used your main webcam, you should be able to proceed as normal all the while having your secondary webcam sending its video but not audio to the Skype app.  When you want to walk around with this camera, you would “Share” the application as shown below:

which brings up

c)  IF you have a good DSLR camera, you can look if it can be “tethered” to become an extremely high quality webcam.  Your manufacturer must have an app or plugin that you download and install to make the DSLR become the webcam and you can pick between it and whatever camera/webcam you have on your computer.  see YoutubeVideo.  Information for Sony LINK, for Nikon LINK, and for Canon LINK.

d)  Have your website open (or whatever you wish to display to a visitor) on another tab in Chrome browser.  When you are ready, “Share” this tab so that it becomes the main thing seen.  The visitor(s) will be able to hear your voice but you control navigation of the page.  When you are ready to stop sharing you merely hit the button shown. 

Note if you chose to share your website in the chat and a visitor clicks on it, the visitor will go to that webpage but still be able to hear you.  Tell your visitor to either close the tab they opened to go back to Boothcentral or choose the Boothcentral tab in their browser.  Again, if you think you might want to do this PRACTICE and get good with it.

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