Getting Started: A Crowdcast Overview
Last updated on August 4, 2022
Ready to start hosting events on Crowdcast, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered 🤩. Before you dive in, let's review some of the basics. This document will teach you everything you need to know to get started. Open any toggle to learn more about that section.
Create Your Channel
When joining Crowdcast for the first time, you'll be presented with this onboarding form. Fill it out with your name and channel info:
After completing this form, you’ll be directed to your dashboard and will be able to create events.
How to Build an Event
When you’re ready to create your first event, click the New event button in the top left corner of the screen. This will take you to the New crowdcast page where you can build your event starting with the Main Info section. Here’s a breakdown of each part of the edit event form.
1. Title: Name your event
2. Schedule: Select whether you want to create a single session or a multi-session event. If you’re creating a single session event, go ahead and chose a start date, time, and anticipated duration. Your event will not end automatically if you exceed the specified duration, but do keep your plan’s session and monthly allowance in mind.
If you’re creating a multi-session event, you’ll repeat these steps for each individual session. You can create simultaneous, back-to-back, and even multi-day sessions.
You can write a description for each session, and you can also group your sessions into tracks. Tracks allow attendees to filter the available sessions based on the topic being covered or the type of session. Here’s an example from a scientific conference with tracks indicating which branch of science is associated with each session:
3. Access: Select Registration Required if your event is free and requires only that the attendee registers in order to attend.
Selected Ticketed if you’re charging attendees to attend your event. If you’ve never set up a ticketed event in v2, you’ll need to first connect your Stripe account. From there, you can build multiple ticket tiers.
You can build promo codes for discounted access to your ticketed event. Promo codes may be based on a percentage discount or a dollar amount. You can also schedule when they’re available for use.
4. Visibility: This is where you determine whether your event will be an unlisted event – meaning only those who have the URL can find it – or a public, discoverable event that can be found via search engines. You can also customize your event URL in this section, set a password if the event is unlisted, and add tags to help boost the SEO value of your event. Use tags to add searchable keywords related to the content of your event.
5. About: Use this section to build your attendee-facing registration page. Be sure to add a cover photo and then use the description section to communicate important information to your attendees about your event.
You can also add Custom Fields using the menu option to the left. This section allows you to set up custom questions for your attendees to answer upon registration.
The final section from the menu on the left is Multistreams. Use this section to set up simultaneous streaming of your event to another platform like Facebook, Youtube, or LinkedIn. You can always create your event and set up multistreams later if you wish.
🎓 Want to learn more about multistreaming?: The Complete Guide to Multistreaming
That’s it! You’ve now created your Crowdcast event. Now let’s take a look at the in-event tools and stage layout options.
In-Event Tools and Stage Layout
The screenshot below highlights each area within a Crowdcast event.
As indicated in blue in the diagram above, there are three stage areas where a tile might be positioned. Each individual person, presentation, or video on stage is within what’s referred to as a tile. Hosts and co-hosts can move tiles to these areas:
- Main Stage – The most central position on the stage. Tiles on the main stage will be given the majority of the visual focus.
- Stage Left – Located to the left of the main stage. Tiles here will be smaller than those on the main stage.
- Wing – Tiles in the wing are audible but not visible to attendees. A host or speaker may choose to remain in the wing while presenting slides on stage. The wing can also be used as a holding area until it’s time for hosts, guest speakers, or a presentation to join the main stage.
1. A/V Controls
The A/V controls allow you to set up your camera and mic to ensure you’re using the correct equipment and that everything is working as expected. When you first enter the greenroom, you’ll see this pop-up:
Use the dropdown menus to change camera and mic inputs. If you toggle Allow hosts to control mic, hosts will be able to mute or unmute your mic during the session.
The Enable HD Video toggle will be enabled by default. HD streaming is higher quality but requires more bandwidth, so if your connection is poor, you might disable this to revert to SD streaming. SD streaming is lower quality but requires less bandwidth.
If your browser is blocking your camera or mic, check out this resource to learn how to change your browser permissions.
After you’ve set up your camera and mic and entered the greenroom, the full A/V controls will appear.
From left to right, these controls allow you to…
- Toggle your mic on and off
- Toggle your camera on and off
- Screenshare a video via URL, your computer screen, or a slides presentation or document
- Change your camera and mic inputs
- Leave the stage
All interactive modules for a session are anchored to the right side of the event. A host will see the following modules from top to bottom:
- Chat – Where attendees can interact with one another. Event hosts have the ability to delete comments, convert comments into questions, or ban attendees from this section.
- Q&A Module – A space for attendees to ask questions during the event
- Polls Module – Hosts can create polls to ask questions from the audience. A host can choose to keep polls hidden and to hide the results until they’re ready to be revealed.
- People Module – From here, hosts can see who is registered for the event, see who is currently active (watching live), assign in-event roles to certain attendees, or ban attendees. A host can also use this section to allow attendees “raise their hands” to request to join the stage, open the stage to the audience so anyone can bring themselves on stage, and hide the audience attendees and speakers won’t see who else is registered for the event.
- Backstage Chat Module – This is a private chat space that is only accessible to hosts, co-hosts, speakers, and moderators.
- Studio Module – The Studio allows you to customize the style of your event using logos, backgrounds, and title overlays. Make presentations easier by preloading videos and presentations into the event without the need to share your screen. You can even set up multiple CTAs in advance. Note that you will need to enter the greenroom to upload slides, but you can do this in advance and then exit the greenroom until you’re ready to return to the event. If you use the same Studio elements repeatedly, you can save them as a template for easy duplication in future events.
💡 Pro Tip: Pop out the main and/or private chat, so you can keep an eye on the conversation even while viewing other modules. You can place the popped-out chat alongside your event or on a second monitor if you have a dual monitor setup. Here’s an example:
3. Tile Controls / 4. Stage Controls
There are a number of versatile layouts possible within a Crowdcast event. You can send people and presentation tiles to the audience-hidden wing above the stage, move tiles to stage left, pin a tile to the bottom right corner, and spotlight a tile to fill the entire stage. Watch the video below for a demo of the available stage layouts and controls:
Here’s a written description of each tile control:
- Arrows – The arrows will move a tile to the indicated stage position (left stage, main stage, or wing).
- Pin – A pinned tile will be anchored to the bottom right corner of the stage. This is ideal for sign language interpreters but may also be a preferred location for a presenter. A pinned tile will stay pinned no matter what other stage adjustments are made. The pinned tile must be moved to another stage location in order to become unpinned.
- Focus – A focused tile will remain on the main stage in large format while all other tiles will become smaller and relocate to stage left.
- Spotlight – A spotlighted tile will fill the entirety of the stage. All other tiles will be automatically moved to the wing.
5. Audience Bar
The audience bar, located below the stage, gives you the impression of having a physical audience in front of you as if you were on a stage. You can hover over an attendee’s icon in the audience bar to view their profile, change their role, or ban them.
Check Your Tech
You've created your first event and you’re familiar with the host controls. Now let's talk about your tech setup to ensure you have a smooth stream and a strong connection. Run through the following points before going live:
- Join from a compatible browser and device. Crowdcast is supported on the latest browsers including Chrome (preferred), Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. We don't recommend Safari, and you won't be able to use Internet Explorer.
- Make sure your browser is up-to-date. An outdated browser can cause issues since Crowdcast is browser-based.
- Run a speed test to ensure your network connection is strong enough for streaming. If your wifi connection is weak or intermittent, connecting via ethernet cable may provide a stronger connection.
- Some mics will pick up the audio from your computer creating feedback or echo. Consider wearing headphones to avoid this.
- When your computer is overworked, you may experience lag. Close all unnecessary applications and close down unneeded tabs.
Note: If you're experiencing sluggish performance, start by refreshing the window. If problems persist, restart your web browser, and navigate back to the event.
💡 Pro Tip: Bringing a guest on stage with you? Send them this guest checklist first!
Hosting from a shared network?
Running Crowdcast requires allowing access to its services over specific ports in order to work. If you're joining from your organization's network, there may be firewall blockers in place that can cause issues with going live.
Ask a network administrator in your organization to configure these firewall settings:
- Minimum Requirement: The minimum requirement is that TCP port 443 is open. Some firewall/proxy rules only allow for SSL traffic over port 443. You will need to make sure that non-web traffic can also pass over this port.
- Best Experience: For the best possible experience, we recommend that UDP ports 20000-65000 be open.
When you’re ready to go live in an in-browser session, start by entering the greenroom. The greenroom is a private event prep space where you can…
- ensure your equipment is connected and working as expected
- check the technical setup of any guests
- move speakers or panelists to the wing before going live
- prepare studio elements
When you click Enter Greenroom, the AV controls will pop up allowing you to select your camera and mic inputs. Next, click Join stage.
The stage will be outlined in green, and you’ll see the word Greenroom at the bottom of the stage. When you’re ready to go live, click Go Live in the bottom left corner. You’ll see a pop-up with the options to Go Live & Record from the start of the event or to Go Live Only without recording.
If you select Go Live Only, you have the option to start recording the session at any point by clicking the recording icon in the bottom left corner of the event.
When the session has concluded, click the red X in the bottom left corner to conclude the session.
Ending the session will place you and anyone else who was on screen in the post-event greenroom. You’ll see the words Closing Greenroom below the stage. Click Exit Greenroom in the bottom left corner to completely exit the stage and view the replay of your event.
Lean on Team Crowdcast for Support
We understand that every virtual event will have different needs. That's why we host live demo and Q&A sessions where you can stop by, see how things work, and ask us some questions. You can find the live session which suits your time zone and save your spot here 🙌
Questions or suggestions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Crowdcasting! 🎥