Broadcaster Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming Feature

Broadcaster Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming Feature

Looking to add picture-in-picture video playback to your live broadcasting? Picture-in-picture can be a simple way to liven up presentations, adding live camera footage to decks or demos.

IBM Cloud Video Broadcaster (Ustream Broadcaster) has added support for picture-in-picture playback through its desktop encoder. The encoder is currently available for Mac, with a Windows version coming soon. This article mentions this new feature and touts use cases for the technology as well.

What is Picture-in-picture?

Sometimes abbreviated as PiP, picture-in-picture is a feature which displays full screen video at the same time as content in smaller window(s) is overlapped. This overlapping content is referred to as an inset window.

Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming Example

Live Streaming with Picture-in-picture

Several live streaming encoders include the ability to overlay layers or multiple video tracks. This technique can be used to generate a picture-in-picture experience. Ustream Producer is an example of an encoder with this capability.

IBM Cloud Video Broadcaster (Ustream Broadcaster), a free encoder for users of IBM Cloud Video and Ustream, has been given this feature as well, although with a strong ease of use focus. This includes the addition of three different views inside the encoder. These views are:

  • Broadcaster Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming FeatureCamera View
    Found on the right side of the encoder, the camera view is represented by a webcam icon. The source used can vary, ranging from a webcam built into the laptop to external, connected cameras. Sources can be switched between as well.
  • Screen Sharing View
    Also found on the right, this option displays whatever content is currently showing on the laptop being used to stream or record. This can range from screen sharing a PowerPoint deck to showcasing a SAAS (software as a service) platform to do a demo. Conveniently, this option ignores the Ustream Broadcaster itself, as the encoder and its display will not be picked up by the screen share.
  • Picture-in-picture View
    On the left side of the encoder, this option displays your screen sharing as a large image in the frame. In the upper right, an inset window will display what would normally come through when your camera view is selected.

Source Switching

Keeping in tradition with the earlier iteration of IBM Cloud Video Broadcaster (Ustream Broadcaster), content owners can easily switch between sources. This gives flexibility in being able to create more dynamic presentations. For example, someone can start with the “camera view” for the introduction and then switch over to the “picture-in-picture view” once the presentation starts and the slide deck needs to be shown. This can keep the presenter on screen, while letting participants see important details that may be mentioned in the slide.

Branding the Experience

Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming DashboardContent owners also have the ability to customize the picture-in-picture view through adding a logo as well. This image, which will appear below the camera view and is normally black, can be uploaded simply by selecting the picture-in-picture view and scrolling over the display area. When scrolled over, three options will appear. This includes the ability to control sources, such as what is showing in the screen view and the camera view. One of these options is the ability to upload a logo, though. This image should be at least 320 x 500 pixels, although larger than this is recommended. Images can be jpegs, gifs or pngs. Transparent images are supported, although the background of the image can also be black to achieve the same effect.

Picture-in-picture Video Use Cases

Generally, picture-in-picture is a great ease of use solution for broadcasting presentations. Below are a variety of different use cases that can take advantage of this technology. Some of these use cases feature it more aggressively than others. In fact, many of these suggest a varied approach. This can involve changing presentation styles from a picture-in-picture view to a camera view or vice-a-versa. Use cases can differ from internal to external video uses.

Executive Townhalls: Internal

Townhalls are a great way to engage a workforce. They can help them feel involved and give them a glimpse into the important “why” of company practices. This lets them share in the vision and reasoning behind decisions and strategies being utilized. An executive townhall should focus on the speaker, first and foremost. However, there can be moments where additional information is needed to help convey a point or discuss strategy in more depth. These instances can be aided by switching to a picture-in-picture view. This allows for a graph or other visual aid to be displayed while the speaker remains on screen for this segment as well.

Field Enablement: Internal

Live video makes for a great way to quickly reach out to someone in the field and assist them. This can be in the moment training or near term preparation. Having the option to change views to picture-in-picture gives the presenter another tool in order to convey their training more effectively. For example, they might transition to a diagram at one point to showcase a more complex concept, while keeping their image in the corner to increase the dynamic nature of the presentation. When finished, the session will be auto archived for later use as well.

Online Training: Internal

Picture-in-picture offers a great way to conduct live, online training sessions. The actual training session can be conducted through displaying a PowerPoint deck with more precise information while showing the speaker to add a dynamic angle. Following the end of the presentation, when the session might enter one where it’s either talking to the audience or taking online questions, the view can always change from picture-in-picture mode to camera view to showcase the speaker.

Education Lecture: External

Video enablement has been popular to create extended learning experiences. This can be used to fuel online classes or work as a supplement to in-class curriculum. Picture-in-picture presents an effective way to create more engaging content. It can allow the professor to be on camera while placing emphasis on lecture material. This can often take the shape of a PowerPoint deck or notes that are shared.

Webinars: External

There can be a lot of reasons to put a bit more effort into a webinar. The norm can be someone talking over a PowerPoint or Keynote deck that is never seen. However, as highlighted in 9 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid webinar, this is not an optimal approach. Adding some more engaging video content to that can go a long way to retain a viewer’s attention. One approach for this is adding picture-in-picture. This can be an easy method to still highlight the information present in the slides while adding a dynamic element. In this case that can be actually seeing the presenter.

Platform Demos: External

Product demos are a great tool for qualifying leads. Prospects can come in on a webinar or other industry focused material, but can sometimes raise a question if they are interested in the topic or your services. Consequently, demos can highlight leads who are actually interested in your product. In terms of execution, the demonstrations can be a mixture of showcasing the dashboard of the product and showing the presenter themselves too. While the product should be the star, footage of the presenter can add a dynamic angle and help engage the viewer.

Broadcaster Picture-in-Picture Video Streaming Feature


Picture-in-picture video streaming is a great way to make PowerPoint, Keynote and other presentation formats more engaging by including live, on camera video content as part of that presentation. It’s also a great method to spice up SaaS (software as a service) product demos as well through adding live camera footage.

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