Connecting To Zoom

In this section we are first going to confirm that Zoom runs with your webcam. Then we are going to install NDI Tools and run the NDI Virtual Input application, connect it to Zoom and confirm that Zoom can receive audio and video via NDI.

So what is NDI? NDI is a royalty-free protocol, developed by NewTek, to send video and audio over a network. You don't particularly need to know any more than that.

Running Zoom

If you haven't already signed up for a Zoom account then do so now at the Zoom website. A free account is all that you will need for our purposes.

Sign in to your Zoom account and then click on "HOST A MEETING" (in the upper right of the page) and select "With Video On" from the menu.

When instructed download and then run the executable file; this will start the Zoom client.

Once running the Zoom client should have automatically detected the webcam and its microphone and selected them for its video and audio sources.

If the Zoom client's window is displaying the picture from your webcam then the video that confirms that both the webcam and the Zoom client are handling video successfully. If not then move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the Zoom client's window and then click on the up arrow on the Video button. Select the right camera in the menu.

To test the audio, move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the Zoom client's window and then click on the up arrow on the Mute button. Select Test Speaker & Microphone... from the menu. Follow the instructions to perform these tests. Each test permits the selection of a different speaker or microphone if another exists.

Hopefully you now have the Zoom client working with your webcam and its microphone.

Installing NDI Tools

If you haven't already done so, download and install NDI Tools from the NDI Tools page. The website will ask you for a few details but no money.

During the installation you can accept the defaults.

Once installation has finished run Virtual Input from the NDI Tools folder in the Start Menu. This will result in a NDI Virtual Input icon appearing in the System Tray.

If you have closed your Zoom meeting then open it up again.

Click on the up arrow on the Mute button and select Line (NewTek NDI Audio). Don't expect to hear any sound.

Click on the up arrow on the Video button and select NewTek NDI Video. Don't expect a change in the Zoom window.

Testing Audio and Video Via NDI

Run TestPatterns from the NDI Tools folder in the Start Menu. A window opens displaying a selection of video test patterns; select the pattern named Bars 601.

Right click on the NDI Virtual Input icon in the System Tray; a menu appears with the name of your PC at or near the top. Move your mouse pointer over the name of your PC; a sub-menu is displayed; select Test Pattern.

The Bars 601 test pattern should be displayed in the Zoom client's window.

If you change the test pattern in the TestPatterns window, the same pattern should be displayed in the Zoom client's window.

At the bottom of the TestPatterns window to the right of the 1kHz Tone Level there is a pop-up menu; select 0dBu (-4dbVU, EBU alignment level). This will send a 1 kHz tone to the Zoom client but you will not hear it.

In the Zoom client, click on the up arrow on the Mute button and select Audio Settings...

In the Microphone section uncheck the Automatically Adjust Volume box; move the slider to 75% of the way to the right; confirm that the Input Level bar shows a good signal level.

Click the Test Mic button. It changes to show that it is recording for a few seconds. It then plays back the sound it has recorded, which should be a steady high pitched tone.

Leave the Automatically Adjust Volume box unchecked so that it doesn't have an adverse effect on your musical performance.

Click on the Advanced button; check the Show in-meeting option to "Enable Original Sound" from microphone box. Set Suppress Persistent Background Noise to Disable. Set Suppress Intermittent Background Noise to Disable. Set Echo cancellation to Auto. Close the Audio Settings dialog.

The Zoom client is now setup to receive audio and video via NDI.

Do not change your audio and video settings back to your webcam; we will be connecting the webcam to something else in the next section.

Remember to end your Zoom meeting.

Automatic Startup of NDI Virtual Input

There is just one last thing to do, which is to make the NDI Virtual Input application start automatically when we login. Why? Because if it is not running then your Zoom client will not receive and audio and video, and it is one of those trivial tasks that you are likely to forget to do.

The following steps are for Windows 10; you can Google how to achieve the same result on other versions of Windows.

In the Start Menu select NDI Tools; then right click on Virtual Input, select More and then select Open file location. A File Explorer window opens containing shortcuts to the NDI Tools applications.

Press the Windows logo key + R, type 'shell:startup' (exclude the quotes), then select OK. This opens the Startup folder.

Copy and paste the Virtual Input shortcut from the previous File Explorer window to the Startup folder. If you have done this correctly then the NDI Virtual Input application will run automatically when you login. To test this, restart your PC and login. The NDI Virtual Input icon should appear in the System Tray within a short period of time.

If you have completed all of this successfully then you can pat yourself on the back, make yourself a cup of tea and take a break.

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