In our increasingly digital world, opportunities for creative collaboration over distance are becoming more and more abundant, but the tools for managing these opportunities remain intimidating for the everyday user. The challenges of increasing our digital literacy, which can range from time-constraints to aptitude to the design of technology itself, can lead to unsatisfying experiences in online spaces. Every day there are new tools at our fingertips, but the application of these tools to creative endeavours remains a problem.

We are three graduate students from the Masters of Digital Media program at Ryerson University, and we’ve tried to help simplify the process for you. In this guide to digital platforms for creative collaboration with other artists, we’ve taken some of the most popular tools on the internet, as well as some you may have never heard of before, and analyzed them for their usefulness in helping you collaborate with partners to produce artistic work. While we hope that this guide can be of use to creatives across disciplines, we’ve approached these platforms primarily from a live theatre and performance making perspective; these fields arguably face some of the most significant hurdles. Whether you are working with people on the other side of the world and wanting to reduce your carbon footprint, or fostering your team’s creative spark in the midst of the global pandemic, the tips and tricks in this handbook can help guide you through the jungle of digital platforms. Our interest here is in how you can use these platforms in your process, as you connect and create together with fellow artists. The guide is not intended to focus on ways to present or distribute to an audience, which is another arena entirely.

We’ve done the research, but we’re not the experts on any of these platforms. We are just people, like you, who have found ways of making them work in the ways we need them to. As these platforms are constantly improving and updating, we’ve included dates on each of these platform reviews and summaries, so that you know when they were last updated. Compare these dates to the most recent versions of the platform, to check whether or not our notes apply to the newest versions. Our hope is that this will be a living document, to which others can add their own experiences and findings.

— Shelby Bushell, Vanessa Dang-Lam and Emad Saedi


A Glossary of New(er) Vocabulary

Audio Interface: Connects to your computer via USB or Thunderbolt, allowing you to connect microphones or instruments to be used with applications with an audio input. Also, it helps to transmit audio faster so you can hear the audio with higher quality, more types of inputs, reduced buzzing/interference, and lower latency/delay.

Backchanneling: The use of two or more platforms simultaneously to achieve the full communication experience desired. For example, if you have a poor internet connection, you might use Zoom for video-only, with a simultaneous call on WhatsApp for audio.

Backend: The backend of an application on a remote server, which the user does not directly control, and it’s usually invisible to the user. It is typically responsible for storing and processing manipulating data. For example, when you start a Zoom call, each person on the call is connected to a backend server. You seem like you are calling and talking directly to one another, and the work of the backend is hidden from you.

Channel: In Discord, a channel is a communication stream. If you think of a server as a highway, a channel is a lane in that highway, usually designated to a specific topic.

Gallery View: In many video-chat programs, the main window switches to show whomever is currently speaking. In Gallery View, you can see many participants at the same time, regardless of whether they are currently speaking or not. Depending on how many people are on your call, you may see everyone, or you may have to page through to see groups of participants at a time.

Interface or User Interface (UI): The visible layout or control-panel you see when you enter an application, which is the part you can interact with. Different applications will format their interfaces in unique ways, so it can be helpful to refer to the position of a button or object within an interface. For example, we might say that in Google Docs, the “share” option is in the top right hand corner of the interface.

Latency: The delay that occurs between when you send information and when you receive it. This is most commonly felt when you say something on a call and there is a delay before the person on the other end hears it. Other examples include the delay that occurs between clicking on something and the corresponding effect taking place.

Low-latency: Sending/receiving the audio or video signal without noticeable delay and almost in real-time. If a platform supports low-latency audio, it enables musicians and performing artists rehearse, jam and perform online in real-time. If something has high latency, it’s hard to perform together with good timing.

Mirroring: Screen-mirroring allows you to display the content of your phone, tablet or computer on another device screen. Screen mirroring is frequently used during meetings, presentations and lectures to easily display from one’s device onto a larger screen for others in the room or on a video-call.

Pin: As in ‘Pinning a video’, which allows the user to view one member of a video-call all the time. Some video-call software switches the main video-window to show whomever is currently speaking; pinning someone means you can see them all the time, regardless of who is speaking. Un-pinning means turning this off. Sometimes used for accessibility ( to make sure an ASL translator is always visible), or for group presentation/practices to make sure certain participants are always seen on screen.

Simulcasting: Broadcasting the event (video and/or audio) simultaneously on multiple platform services.

Important Notes for all Platforms

Compatibility (or, why isn’t this platform working for me?)

If you are running into technical difficulties with one or more of these platforms, it may be an issue of compatibility. Your device may not be as compatible with these platforms as ours were when we designed this handbook, and/or the platforms may have updated and changed in ways we cannot predict. Additionally, the platforms and digital modes of collaboration listed below may or may not have high levels of compatibility with one another. For example, if you are running a lot of programs in the background, Discord’s latency increases dramatically. Some, like Google Drive, are compatible with a variety of other platforms. Others may require you to create a backchannel in order to have the applications function together.

Speed (or, why is my computer so slow?)

There can be many reasons why this is true, of course. A few things to check: each Chrome browser-tab you have open consumes a lot of computer resources; try closing tabs. You may want to check if you have lots of programs running in the background (eg: syncing or backing up photos/files), or if you are running low on hard-drive space. It may be worth rebooting your machine right before an important call.

Camera Quality

It is important to know that the quality of user cameras will impact the quality of your experience. For example, if a performer is using a low resolution web-camera it may be harder for a director to do their job. Similarly, if a director is watching multiple performers in different locations with different quality cameras, it may be a difficult visual experience and hinder work. The ideal is of course cameras that produce the highest quality images and the most overall consistency between users.

Some tips:

  • Some newer laptop computers have much lower quality built-in cameras than older computers
  • Cell phones often have better cameras than those built into laptops; try initiating your call from your phone instead

Audio Quality

While most laptop and mobile devices come equipped with speakers and microphones that work fairly well for everyday use, investing in a good set of headphones and an external microphone will make your collaborators’ experiences with your digital feed stand out in quality compared to everyone else, which in turn makes your ideas come through with the clarity you intended. And although this means spending more on your own setup, the good news is that there are equipment choices suitable for any budget. (A decent entry-level studio microphone and digital audio workstation combination can come in around the same cost as a pair of AirPods Pro, if you shop around.)

Buyer tips:

  • Sony makes quality headphones at very reasonable prices, and are a good brand to start with. If you have the budget, look into models by Shure and Sennheiser.
  • Believe it or not, sound quality isn’t the only thing you should be looking for. Comfort should play a huge role in your selection. You’re going to be wearing these potentially for hours per day, so make sure they’re comfy, whether they’re in-ear, on-ear, or over the ear.
  • Blue Yeti Microphone models are the probably the most common USB microphones you can find across all retailers. They more than get the job done, with the right settings, and there are countless YouTube tutorials from audio professionals, livestreamers, and content creators to help you find the right settings.
  • Live in Canada and aren’t sure where to start? Long & McQuade is where you want to go.


Privacy is a real and present concern for all kinds of users here and now. In particular, artists engaged with protest and activism have expressed concerns about the safety of online meeting spaces. Each platform has different privacy policies, please check the official platform website for more information on their privacy policies.

Google G Suite:
Google Meet:


Backchanneling simply means having an additional platform (a parallel channel) to support your communication — so, essentially, using more than one platform at a time for different parts of your conversation. There are various forms of backchanneling, and there’s no limit in ways of doing it.

Artists can benefit from backchanneling because online collaboration tools haven’t advanced to answer all of the artists’ needs yet. Therefore, you may use several platforms in conjunction as a solution to access all the features you need.

Examples of Backchanneling

  • Using the chat feature on Google Meet to ask questions in a meeting, instead of turning on the mic.
  • Discussing a live event on Twitter, while watching it on Youtube.
  • Chatting on Discord while streaming on YouTube.
  • In live conferences, where most participants are simply watching as part of an audience, they can use discussion tools to communicate with hosts in activities such as Q&A. For example, panellists at an event can invite the audience to ask questions on Twitter using a specific hashtag.

DIY examples for rehearsal/creative process:

  • You can use one app for video and a separate app for low-latency (real-time) audio communication at the same time. For example, you could use Zoom for video and a regular telephone-call** for voice. Or Zoom for video and Discord for audio. In both cases, remember to mute the audio on Zoom.
  • You can be working on a platform like Google Docs to edit a script, and using another platform for live audio communication at the same time.

** Note that depending on your phone/ carrier, you can merge up to 5 callers on your mobile phone.

Examples of Backchanneling Tools

  • Video:
  • Meeting: Zoom, Google Meet, Skype
  • Streaming: Twitch, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, Periscope. OBS (see below) can also be used with a streaming service
  • Audio: Discord, JackTrip, Jamulus, Phone call
  • Online Discussion Tools: Slack, Discord, Twitter, Reddit

Challenges with using a Backchannel

  • Handling multiple tasks at the same time might be difficult for whoever is speaking at the moment. It’s sometimes useful to have someone handle the back-channel text questions/communication, and someone else present or facilitate. They can directly talk to each other in order to share questions or thoughts from the larger group.
  • Multiple channels increase the risk of mistakes in sharing information. For example, someone might miss important information if it’s only given over the chat-window. If it’s important, repeat it over the “main” channel.
  • Due to technical limitations, you may need several devices for multiple channels. For example, if you want to share your screen, webcam, read your notes, and chat, you might need two displays or a mobile device in addition to your computer.
  • Internet bandwidth might not be able to keep up with transferring data from multiple streaming devices at the same time.
  • If you’re going to use multiple devices or channels, don’t be scared, just practice and familiarize yourself with your setup before starting the call.

Storage Options At a Glance

Features/PlatformsGoogle DriveDropBoxBoxOneDrive
Primary UserGoogle UsersEveryoneEveryoneMicrosoft Users
Free Account Max File Size5TBNone250MBN/A
Pricing$2.50/month for 200GB$10/month for 2TB$10/month for 100GB$2/month for 100GB of Storage
Paid Account Max File Size5TBNone5GB15GB
Time to Upload 195MB File45 seconds46 seconds44 seconds52 seconds

Platforms: For organizing and recording ideas, rehearsal, broadcasting and beyond

Google Docs / G Suite (work on documents together)

Hidden Tips and Tricks for Utilizing Google Docs


The Launchpad is a little 3×3 square of dots that’s often in the upper right-hand corner of your Google Drive. When you click on it, a menu of your Google apps opens, allowing you to navigate to the one you need. What you might not know, however, is that these apps can be rearranged in the launchpad. You can put the ones you use the most at the top, and the ones you use the least at the bottom.


Google docs are immediately stored in your drive and to the cloud, making it one of the most secure document storage systems. For speed in organizing your docs, you can enter the folder you want to save the document to, and create a new doc from there. This will automatically save your document to that folder, which makes it easier to find in the future.


We all use Google docs to share information and documents with one another. What you might not know, however, is that there are more options here than you originally thought. If you click share, up in the right-hand corner, there is a gear in the right-hand corner of the pop-up. This can allow you to change what the different users of your document have access to.

If you go to the URL of your Google doc, where it says “edit” at the end of the URL, you can change that to “copy” (go ahead and type it right in the address-bar of your browser). If you send THAT URL to someone, it will prompt that person to make a copy, allowing you to share your document without giving someone access to the original document. If you change “edit” to “preview” instead, this will allow someone to view the document, but will remove editing capabilities.

If you share a “view-only” link with a large number of audience members or co-collaborators, they can actually watch you write in real-time; if you share with them by inviting them via email, they can actually chat with you while you are writing.


Comments can be really useful not just for team collaboration and revision, but for noting things to come back to later as well. You can highlight a part of your text, and a small icon will show up on the right-hand-side of your document. From here, you can either “add a comment” or “suggest edits” (these options are also available if you right click your highlighted text). However, you can use this tool to assign different tasks to people in a Google Doc by writing +(their_email_address) in the comment. If they are already shared into the doc, it will assign them that text. If they are not, then it will prompt you to share the document with them. Important to note, however, you can only assign in a new comment, not in a reply to a comment.


Many of us are not familiar with the Explore function. It’s the little square in the bottom right of your screen that looks like a dialogue bubble with a star inside it. The explore tool is an in-document search function. You can search Google right from inside your Google Doc without having to navigate away to another tab. You can also use this tool to cite anything you find as a footnote in your document by clicking on the little quotation marks over the search result. You can change the reference style by clicking the three little dots. From the Explore search results, you can also drag images right from the explore bar into your document without having to exit to another tab. You can also footnote these images.

In the Explore window, you also have the ability to connect to your Google Drive (as you can see by the headings: WEB, IMAGES, and DRIVE). You can search all of your documents and folders for the relevant search keyword.


Next to the title of your document are three small icons. The first of these (the star) is the Starred function. This allows you to “favourite” your document for later. In your Google Drive, you will see that “Starred” is a prominent file location in your main Google Drive. This allows for easy and quick access to the documents you use the most.

Move To

Next to the title of your document are three small icons. The second of these (the folder with the little arrow) is the Move To function. You can click on this to move your file to a new folder in your drive easily.

Revision History

Under the “File” drop-down menu, you’ll find something called “Version History”. By clicking on “See Version History”, you can see all of the changes that have been made to the document and who made them. On top of that, you can actually name different versions, which allows you to directly compare different versions in the history section of the Google Doc. You can also revert the document to one of these earlier versions by clicking “restore this version”.

Offline Access

One of the great things about Google Docs is that, by being based in the cloud, it is available from anywhere. You can also set it up so that you can access your files even when you don’t have internet access. To do this, you will need to enable offline access with the following: Go to . Check the box next to “Create, open, and edit your recent Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files on this device while offline.” You can check on this status by hovering your mouse over the third icon next to your document’s title. It looks like a little cloud and if it has a check mark in it, then your document is available for offline access!

Outline Feature

Google Docs has an outline feature that picks up on the formatting of headers. You can find it by going to the “View” dropdown menu and clicking “show document outline”. When you create a new header, this will form a new “chapter” in your outline. You can also use this as a shortcut to navigate the document. Another possible use for this is to create specific flags for yourself that will show up in the outline by using a specific header style. Items that you want to come back to, flesh out, or revise, you can flag by changing the style.

Side Panel: Calendar

On the right-hand side of your screen, you will notice three small icons. The top one is a calendar. By clicking on this, you have in-document access to the Google calendar associated with the account that you are currently using to edit the Google Doc.

Side Panel: Keep Notes

Keep Notes is an under-used Google app that you can use to take notes of certain sections. It’s basically an in-document notepad. You can highlight a section from your document, right-click it, click “save to keep” to copy the text to a sticky-note in the Keep Note app. You will then be able to find it again when you click on the Keep Notes icon.

In the same way that you can copy text from your document to Keep Notes, you can drag and drop a note from the Keep Notes App back into your document to turn it into text and insert it at that point in the document.

Bonus! Keep Notes has an app, so you can write notes on the go, then get home and drag and drop them into your document,

Side Panel: My Tasks

The third icon on the right-hand side of your screen is an app called My Tasks. The icon looks like a blue circle with a white bar and a smaller yellow dot inside. My Tasks is essentially an in-document to-do list. You can use My Tasks to make a to-do list for your creative process and check off your list as you go. It’s a very visual way of seeing your progress and seeing what is left.

Draftback Extension

This is an extension you need to download, but essentially it takes your revision history and replays it at a sped-up pace, giving you a video of your edits on your work.

Automatic Substitution

You can access automatic substitution through the preferences option under “tools”. It’s very useful to things that don’t have a key, like the em dash. You can choose what you type and what the program will automatically substitute. For example, if you wanted CA to always be substituted to Canada, you could save some time from typing out Canada every time. If it replaces something and you didn’t want it to in that specific scenario, you can just backspace once to revert the text.

Built-In Dictionary

You can highlight a word you want a definition of, right-click, go down to “define” and it will bring up a definition of that word right on the side where the “explore” window usually is.

Drawing Tool

You can find the drawing tool by clicking on “insert” then “drawing”. This will bring up a drawing pad where you can sketch out a quick idea to import directly into your Google Doc. If it’s something you like and want to save for later, you can also export your drawing to a JPEG.

Transferring Formatting

The little paint roller at the top left, next to the Zoom tool, is used for transferring formatting (something that is personally a pet peeve of ours)! You can highlight a piece of text that has the formatting you want to transfer to a new piece of text, then click the paint roller. You can then “roll” the new formatting over the text you want to reformat. No need to individually change different formatting options!

Search Menus

Under ‘Help’ there is a search bar that you can use to search for anything in your document, or to search for any tool that isn’t obviously placed in the Google Docs UI.

Add Fonts

Don’t feel like you have enough font options in Google Docs? There are hidden ones! Just click on the font box and at the very top you will see an option for “more fonts”. There are lots more Google fonts to play with than the default ones that load in a Google Doc.

Drag and Drop Text

If you want to rearrange part of the text on your Google Doc, it’s as simple as highlighting the text you want to move, clicking and holding shift, and dragging and dropping the text where you want to move it to!

Voice Typing/Dictation

This can be found under the “tools” menu. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Be aware that, like any voice dictation app, you will need to say the punctuation out loud in order for it to be typed.

Keyboard Shortcuts

It can be super helpful to know these keyboard shortcuts. They are all found under the “help” dropdown menu. Even just knowing a few of them can save you time and effort.


There are a huge variety of Google Docs add-ons which you can find by clicking the Add-Ons dropdown menu at the top of your document. These are essentially modification extensions which you can use to reformat or repurpose Google Docs to do a huge number of different things. Some include: an add-on that restructures your document in screenplay format, a thesaurus, a dictionary, a table of contents creator, a writing goals add-on, a notes add-on, etc.

OBS (broadcasting / live streaming software)

What is OBS?

OBS is a free and open-source software for video recording and live streaming. It can be used for screen recording or streaming, whether it’s a live video or screencasting. You might use OBS independently or as a backend for streaming on external services like YouTube Live or Twitch. The unique feature of OBS is that you can handle multiple visual inputs in the picture simultaneously, like a newscast with anchor and image. For example, you can present slides while showing a lecturer’s webcam picture-in-picture. Another example: a director can watch a performer on screen while seeing a designer’s visual 2D mock-ups behind or beside the performer in the same window. You can also set up and cue video, audio, images, or other recorded media in time with your live or recorded stream.

It could be useful for:

  • Screen recording (rehearsal/ workshop, archival documents tutorials, educational lectures, etc.)
    • Collaborators can use it to create production sketch recordings that integrate performance and design elements, rehearsal documents with highly customized visuals.
  • Live streaming
    • Artists can perform live in customized virtual scenes, with multiple cameras
    • Performances where artists need to share visual content (e.g. slides, photos, video-clips) while performing

How does it work?

First, Install OBS. Then, if you’re a beginner, run the auto-configuration wizard. Otherwise you can set it up on your own.

  • You can refer to OBS Wiki for a detailed guide.
  • Ask questions in the OBS forum if you need help.

Important Tips

  • It’s better to use dedicated input sources for better quality and lower latency, like an external webcam, microphone, and audio interface.
  • If your videos are laggy or slow, it could be related to settings, system overload, or a slow internet connection. Check out Troubleshooting Guides for more information.


  • Real-time audio/video capturing and mixing
  • It supports multiple input sources such as images, text/watermark, picture-in-picture webcam, app windows, etc., simultaneously.
  • Monitor up to 8 visual inputs at once in a single window, like a professional broadcasting studio.
  • Has an easy auto-configuration wizard for beginner users
  • Flexible settings and features
  • It has an auto-configuration wizard that optimizes the app for your system settings.
  • Low-latency (low lag)
  • It’s open-source and free to use
  • Can be used to record a multi-media production, or with an external streaming service such as YouTube Live. OBS can also work as an input for any video meeting/streaming app such as Google Meet, Zoom, Twitch, YouTube, etc, which lets you cue and mix multiple video and audio sources as part of a video-call.
  • Supports both hardware and software encoding (x264 software encoding, which is built into OBS, is recommended for beginners to get the most reliable results)
  • Create customized transitions with manual controls. Transitions are useful when you want to change the scene or present multimedia content to your audience. Transitions cover the entire screen, as intros or outros. For example, you can play your custom-made fade-out animation when you want to show a video and control the timing manually.
  • Create and customize sets with background and visual effects and save them as presets called Scenes. With these, you don’t need to redesign the scene every time — just click on the preset you’ve already configured and you’re ready to go.
  • It supports an unlimited number of scenes/ visuals that you can switch between seamlessly via custom transitions.
  • It has an easy-to-use audio mixer with support for VST plugins.
  • Useful for beginner to professional productions
  • Preview your edits before they go live by using Studio Mode
  • Define shortcuts/hotkeys as shortcuts for specific actions, so you can quickly cue or trigger your transitions, media, or other actions during a livestream or a recording
  • Has a broad, active community with lots of examples and explanations to you help you troubleshoot


  • Advanced features are difficult to set up for ordinary users
  • Doesn’t have an in-app overlay: if you’re recording your use of another app/game, there’s no additional OBS toolbar/window inside the app and you need to handle OBS settings before entering the recording session.
  • Works best with multi-screen setups (i.e creators usually have two monitors)


OBS is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it is an open-source and free software. For Windows users, Streamlabs OBS is essentially the same tool, but with an easier-to-use interface.

Digital rehearsal spaces at a glance

Basic Free Version

Features/PlatformsZoomGoogle MeetSkypeJitsiDiscord
Best Feature of the platformOriginal sound (view p.32)Integration with Google11 languages closed captionsSet audio volume of each user separatelyLeast amount of latency / Set audio volume of each user separately
Primary Non Arts Sector User (Who are the main users of the platform?)Educators/BusinessEveryoneBusinessEveryoneGamers and Educators
Text Chat (Can I send text messages in the call?)YesYesYesYesYes
Video Chat (Can we communicate face-to-face? Do I need a webcam?)YesYesYesYesYes
Audio Chat (Can we talk to each other? Does it sound good?)YesYesYesYesYes
Latency (what’s the lag? Can we talk at the same time?)Some Latency; one person talks at a timeSome Latency; one person talks at a timeSome Latency; one person talks at a timeSome Latency; one person talks at a timeVery little latency; multiple people can talk at the same time
Number of Participants (How many folks can gather?)100 (additional with paid versions)100 (additional with paid versions)50 (additional with paid versions)50 (additional with paid versions)8 (additional with paid version, or free during pandemic)
Participation Tools (what can we do together and apart?)Breakout rooms; …LimitedLimitedYesBreakout rooms; Chatbots
Scheduling Option (Will this thing send invites? Update your calendar?)YesYesYesLimitedLimited
Video Quality (How’s the video clarity?)MediumLowMediumLowHigh
Audio Quality (Can I hear properly?)MediumMediumLowMediumHigh
Recording (Can I record the meeting?)YesYesYesYes      No
Integration (Can I link and use it with other applications?)HighHighGood for microsoft usersLowLow
Audio sharing (Can we just talk without video?)YesOnly with video sharingYesOnly with video sharingYes
Duration Limit (What’s the call max time?)40 minNo100 hours per monthNoNo
Free (Is it free? Are all the features free?)LimitedYesLimitedYesYes
Screen Sharing (Can I share my screen with others?)YesYesYesYesYes
Easy to use (Is it easy to use?)NoYesYesYesNo
Captions (Are there closed captions during the call?)No (API or assign typer)Yes (English only)Yes (11 different languages)No (third-party only)No (third-party only)
Save on Cloud (Can I save the call online?)YesYesYes

SketchSpace (virtual rehearsal studio)

SketchSpace is a platform developed by SpiderWebShow, a Canadian theatre company that seeks to bridge the distance between remote members of a company during the rehearsal (and sometimes performance) parts of a production. It is a digital room where actors and company members who do not share the same physical space can be superimposed together into a digital ‘canvas’, meaning you can rehearse with your collaborators in real time, from anywhere in the world.


You will need a computer with Google Chrome installed. SketchSpace does not recommend using Safari or Firefox. You will need a stable internet connection. In order to minimize latency, all processing is done within each participant’s browser, so depending on the power of your computer, SketchSpace recommends a maximum of 7 active participants. There is the possibility of having more participants in viewer mode.

Getting Started

You will need to book the studio in advance. Once your studio access request form has been processed, you will receive instructions on how to access the studio in your email. In order to optimize your use of the studio, you will want to position your camera so that you can see most of your body. On the login page, you can choose to use a greenscreen background if you have one, or you can opt for ‘smart key’ which, like Zoom, is able to mask out anything in your camera’s vision which is not your body.


On the rehearsal page there is the main ‘canvas’, a sort of stage where all performers can inhabit the same space; a bench bar at the bottom that shows all participants regardless of whether they are on the canvas or not; and a 2 separate Chat functions on the right where you can talk amongst participants or with the viewers. You can also add backgrounds and create cues.

One of the particularly interesting things you can do with SketchSpace is play with the perspective and size of your performers in relation to one another. All performers in the bottom bench bar can use their cursor to move themselves and each other in and out of the rehearsal space canvas area. They can move themselves and each other to the foreground or the background, or make themselves larger or smaller on the canvas.

Background images must be under 10mb. You can simply drag and drop them onto the canvas.

Cues, called Snapshots in the bar to the right of the canvas can be made to save background images, and the position and size of performers. Any of the participants can take the role of the stage manager to manage these Snapshots.


Though latency is minimal in SketchSpace, there are certain things you can do if you are having lags. If possible, avoid using bluetooth headphones or microphones, as they can add up to a full second of delay. For the fastest connection, use a wired ethernet connection from your computer directly to your router, if possible. If you do need to use a wifi connection, try connecting to a 5G network, as it may be a little faster (but keep an eye on your phone-plan data-usage!). The smaller your studio, the less latency you will have. As more collaborators are connected to a SketchSpace session, there are more signals that need to be sent to and received from more computers, resulting in increased latency.

Recording/Live Streaming

SketchSpace doesn’t have a built-in way to record your session. They recommend using OBS (Open Broadcast Software) to record and share your work from SketchSpace. Please see our guide to using OBS for creative collaboration elsewhere in this document. To connect SketchSpace to OBS, make sure you are not in full screen mode and that you have SketchSpace running in Google Chrome, then click the small plus sign in the bottom left corner of the Sources window of OBS and add the Chrome window. For detailed instructions, please visit SketchSpace’s website.


Discord is an application that is most often used as a communication tool. In Discord, you have the ability to make channels which exist as text-chat interfaces, or use Discord’s video conferencing and audio-calling capabilities. You can use Discord in your web browser, with a mobile app version, or through the desktop version. Some artists use Discord as a place for everyone in a company to communicate and connect with each other. The ability to share images, videos and files allows us to share references while we are on a call or in rehearsal with one another and the low latency means that everyone can respond to one another in real time.


Discord gathering places are called servers, and you begin by either creating one or being invited to one. Servers can be either private or public and there is no limit on the number you can join. This means that there are public Discord servers for almost any interest you could imagine, where you can connect with like-minded individuals. You can find these servers by going to websites like,, or You can switch between your servers by clicking on their icon on the left hand side of the interface.

Content and Storage

Discord has no storage limits, and is one of the more secure, stable platforms. You can also drag and drop files directly into the chat interface to upload them into the conversation channel. Discord will offer you the option to comment on them as you upload them if you have any description or text you want to add with the file, but you can also leave that field blank. Your collaborators can then download the file directly from Discord. Discord is a great application for digital collaboration because it combines many of the best features from other applications into one. You can video chat, text chat, phone call, teleconference, share videos, share images, music, and more, and there is no pay wall. It’s all free. It’s used by many YouTubers because the application integrates seamlessly with YouTube videos, and the views you get from sharing on servers count towards a video’s view count.


Like the online collaboration tool Slack, when you are part of a Discord server, you can see the channels of that server on the left hand side of the interface. Channels can be categorized by the type of communication they serve. For example, you might have voice channels, text channels, and video channels in separate categories. You can change the settings of individual channels by clicking on the gear icon found next to that channel.You can text chat a channel by typing in the text box at the bottom of the interface. By using the @ feature, you can signal other members of the channel, or by right clicking on their icon on the right-hand side of the interface and clicking “message”, you can enter into a private chat channel with that individual. You can further organize your channels and groups using folders. To create folders, drag one channel’s icon on top of another channel’s icon. This will create a folder with both channels inside it. You can then rename it, and adjust its other settings.


You can assign the members of your servers different roles within the server itself, such as moderator, administrator, etc. There are also ways to display pronouns and other info for server members.

Text Field
As with most chatting applications, you can type content into the text field and press enter to post it. You can also call out a specific member of that server using the mention feature by adding the @ symbol and then typing the username of the person who you want to mention. To send a private message to a specific individual, you can click on their avatar picture on the right hand side of the screen, click on Message from the menu that pops up, and you’ll be brought into a private chat with that specific individual. If you want to add more people to a private message, you can do so with the small “invite” icon at the top of the interface.

You can drag a video, document, picture, or other file directly into the text field to share that content with everyone in that message or channel. Discord allows you to add an optional comment to any file that you drag and drop into a channel or private message. You can also download files from here that others have uploaded, making Discord function as a file sharing service in addition to a communication app. With the free version, there is a maximum of 8MB for a file you want to upload. If you pay for the Nitro plan, it increases that maximum file size to 50MB.

Once you’ve made a comment in a channel or private message, you can easily edit, delete, or pin that message by clicking on the three vertical dots next to the corresponding post. Pinning a message means that it will always show up at the top of the channel.

You can use markup language in the text field of Discord to change the look of your text. Some popular markup shortcuts are:

  • Bold: **[TEXT]**
  • Italics: *[TEXT]* or _[TEXT]_
  • Underscore: __[TEXT]__
  • Strikethrough: ~~Strikethrough~~
  • Code: `[TEXT]`
  • Hyperlink: [Hyperlink!]([URL])
  • Remove embeds: <[URL]>

Voice Channels

When you create or enter a voice channel, your microphone is automatically turned on. You can change that in the User Settings panel, accessed through the gear icon at the bottom of your channels list. You can invite others on your server to a voice channel by right clicking on their name and clicking “call” to call them, or by mentioning them in the text field using the @ symbol. Once someone has entered a voice channel you control, you can mute (no one will hear them) or deafen (they will hear no one) users by right-clicking on their name under your channel on the left hand side of the interface. This is also where you can assign roles, or change their nickname. You can also control the volume for each user during a call (which is useful when people have different microphones or speaking patterns). Simply right-click on the user’s name in a voice-call to show a volume-slider that goes from 0 to 200%.

When you leave a Discord voice channel, it’s important to remember to click the disconnect icon at the bottom left corner of the interface, otherwise your microphone will remain active the rest of the time you are on Discord, even if you are no longer looking at the voice channel.

Friends Feature

You can access friends on Discord whether or not you belong to the same server. To access the Friends feature, click on the Discord Home button, at the top left hand corner of the interface, and click on friends. Your list of friends should appear here, whether or not you share a Discord server. You can add friends to this list at the top of this page, or by right clicking on a user’s icon at any time and selecting “Add Friend”, which will send that person a friend request. The last way to find friends on Discord is to search for them in the search bar at the top right hand side of the interface. You can look up their usernames here and if they are users of Discord, you can find them and add friends from there.


You can integrate certain social media networks with your Discord server, such as Twitch, Skype, Steam, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. One of the really fantastic features with this is the “Listen Along feature. You can access your integrations by going to your User Settings, then clicking on Connections. Follow the instructions as Discord guides you through the integration process. If you are a Spotify subscriber and you use the Spotify desktop app, you can play a song on the Spotify app and invite members of your server to listen along to the music you are listening to. They will need to have their own Spotify accounts, but this will allow you to act as a radio DJ, and often has better sound quality than sharing the audio of a computer. It also allows individual users to set their own volume preferences.


You can control your Discord notifications by going to user settings, then the notifications tab, which gives you very specific control over what notifications you would like to receive from each channel. Or, right-click on a specific server or channel as a shortcut.

Keyboard Combos

When you are on a server, you can click CMD + / to bring up the Keyboard Combos – a list of keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation of Discord as a platform.


Zoom – Version 5.4.6 (59301.1211) on a Macbook – as of Monday, Dec 14th, 2020

*Please make sure to update Zoom on a regular basis to be able to use all the features!

Zoom 101 – Instructions to downloading and setting up Zoom

SpiderWebShow has created clear instructions to sign up for Zoom, schedule a meeting and Zoom etiquette. You can find much of what you need to effectively use Zoom here:

A few further notes from us on Zoom: 

Can we all please be looking at the same thing? How to control the Gallery View

As the host of the meeting, you are able to set every participant to view the participants (“boxes”) in the same order.

  • First, make sure none of the participants moved their boxes around before the host sets it up, or else it won’t work
  • Next, ask the participants to “Release Video Order” located on the upper right corner in “view”
  • Note: this tip only works if the host is using a desktop or laptop — it does not work on mobile devices!
  • Then, use the following steps for the host to set up same view for everyone in gallery view
  • Join the meeting
  • Make sure you are viewing the meeting in gallery view
    • If not click on “view” located on the upper right corner of the screen and select “Gallery”
  • Drag and drop the participants in the order you would like everyone to see
  • Click on “view” located on the upper right corner of the screen
  • Select “Follow Host’s Video Order”

Now every participant will be following the same gallery view order as the host

*if the host continues to move the “boxes” around afterwards it will still work

But other participants will not be able to move the “boxes” around until the host clicks “Release Video Order” (which is also located in “view” (upper right corner of the screen))

Exact same view for everyone

To have everyone see the exact same view as everyone else in the meeting, (to see exactly which way you are pointing, or to make the kind of video where people appear to “pass” a pen from person to the person next to them in Zoom) EVERY SINGLE USER will have to unmirror themselves in their own settings (as Zoom auto flips the users image).

*Only works on desktops or laptops (Does not work on tablets & mobile devices!)

**For ChromeOS problems, please visit for more information.

Steps to turn off mirroring for each user 

Note: this can be done before or during the meeting

Before Meeting

  • Open the Zoom application on your desktop
  • Log in (if you are not already logged in)
  • Click on the little gear icon (Settings) in the upper right corner
  • Click on “Video” in the left side bar
  • Deselect “Mirror my video”
  • Close the settings

During Meeting

  • Click on the little arrow (^) beside the “Start Video” or “Stop Video” in the bar on the bottom of the screen
  • Select “Video Settings…”
  • Deselect “Mirror my video”
  • Close the settings

Screen Sharing Features

There are multiple different ways to share screen with others. Make sure the host has enabled participants to share if that is what you would like to do — click on the Security button on the bottom of a Zoom call and turn screen-sharing for participants on, or configure this when scheduling the meeting

Screen sharing a specific tab

This is to share a specific browser or document instead of sharing the whole desktop.

*If you switch tabs, you will pause sharing your screen until you go back to the screen you are sharing

Steps to set up screen share a specific tab or document

  • Once in the meeting, click on the lime green “Screen share” located at the bottom of the screen.
  • A pop-up will appear with all the desktops and tabs that are opened on your device.
  • Select the specific tab you would like to share.
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up

To confirm you are sharing your screen, you will see the menu bar that was located on the bottom of the screen on the top. And you will see a lime green notification stating “You are sharing screen”.

  • To stop sharing the screen, simply click on “Stop Share” on the top of the screen.

Screen sharing the whole desktop

This is to share your whole desktop screen. Participants will be able to view your whole desktop screen.

*If you switch tabs, you will continue sharing your screen

Steps to set up screen share a specific tab or document

  • Once in the meeting, click on the lime green “Share Screen” located at the bottom of the screen.
  • A pop-up window will appear with all the desktops and tabs that are opened on your device.
  • Select the desktop you would like to share (there will only be one desktop option if you only have one screen, but if you have dual/multiple monitors, you can select which monitor desktop you would like to share screening).
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up.

To confirm you are sharing your screen, you will see the menu bar that was located on the bottom of the screen on the top. And you will see a lime green notification stating “You are sharing screen”.

  • To stop sharing the screen, simply click on “Stop Share” on the top of the screen.

Share audio with screen share

This feature is mostly used when showing sharing a video clip. Note that it is possible to configure audio before sharing your screen, or while you are already sharing.

Before Screen Share

  • Once in the meeting, click on the lime green “Share Screen” located a the bottom of the screen
  • A pop-up window will appear with all the desktops and tabs that are opened on your device
  • On the lower left corner of the pop-up there is a “Share computer audio” toggle, make sure the checkbox is “checked”
  • Then select the screen/tab you would like to share
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up

To confirm you are sharing your audio, you will see a little audio icon beside the microphone icon in the lime green notification stating “You are sharing screen”.


  • Go to the menu bar located on the top of the screen
  • Select “More”
  • Click on the “Share computer sound”

To confirm you are sharing your audio, you will see a little audio icon beside the mic icon in the lime green notification bar stating “You are sharing screen”.

Steps to stop audio sharing during screen share

  • Go to the menu bar located on the top of the screen
  • Select “More”
  • Deselect “Share computer sound”

To confirm you have stopped sharing the computer audio, you will no longer see the audio icon beside the mic icon in the lime green notification bar stating “You are sharing screen”.

Sharing slides as a virtual background (BETA)

Instead of having a background filter, you are now able to share powerpoint or keynote slides as in your background. It will be able to show you in the corner of the slideshow while doing the presentation. You will also be able to switch slides directly from the Zoom meeting.

*This function will automatically remove mirroring your webcam

**As this is still a BETA function, it currently works ONLY with files saved as.ppt, .pptx or keynote files. PDF files will not work.

Steps to set up slides as a virtual background

  • During the meeting, click on the lime green “Share Screen”
  • A pop-up window will appear
  • On the top centre of the pop-up select “Advanced”
  • Click on “Slides as Virtual Background”
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up
  • Another pop-up window will appear with your documents
  • Select the document (.ppt, .pptx or Apple Keynote files) you would like to appear as your background
  • Click “Open”

The slides should show up as the virtual background with you in the bottom right corner in front of the slides.

  • To stop sharing the screen, simply click on “Stop Share” on the top of the screen.

Sharing screen from Apple device

This feature would most likely be used if you want to screen share while drawing on your mobile device or if you want to show something that is on your mobile device (such as apps, functions, pictures, messages, …)

*Only works if desktop computer or laptop and mobile device are iOS with Airplay and screen mirroring function enabled.

**For first time setup, you will have to allow plugin downloads on the Macbook or iMac

Steps to set up screen sharing from a mobile/tablet device

On Desktop

  • During the meeting, click on the lime green “Share Screen”
  • A pop-up window will appear
  • Select “iPhone/iPad via AirPlay”
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up

On Iphone/Ipad (follow the steps shown on the desktop screen)

  • Connect to the same Wi-Fi network as the computer/laptop
  • Tap on “Screen Mirroring (swipe down from the top right corner of the screen. On iOS 11 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen”
  • Choose the computer device used for the Zoom meeting

The mobile device should start screen mirroring in the Zoom meeting

On Desktop

  • To stop sharing the mobile device, simply click on “Stop Share” on the top of the screen.

Sharing whiteboard

The whiteboard feature allows the host to share a whiteboard with other participants, who can also annotate (draw, create textboxes, ect.) on the shared screen.

*Only the participant or host that started sharing the whiteboard has access to create & switch pages on the whiteboard.

Steps to allow whiteboard with annotation tools

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal
  • Navigate to the Settings
  • Go to “In Meeting (Basic)”
  • Scroll down to “Annotation”
  • Verify to make sure the annotation is enabled (blue)
  • Also verify “Whiteboard” is enabled
  • (Optional) Click the check box to allow saving or restrict annotations

Steps to set up whiteboard screen sharing (host and participants)

  • During the meeting, click on the lime green “Share Screen”
  • A pop-up window will appear
  • Select “Whiteboard”
  • Click the blue “Share” button located on the lower right corner of the pop-up
  • Annotation tools will appear automatically on the top of the screen.
  • To stop sharing the screen, simply click on “Stop Share” on the top of the screen.

Pinning and Spotlighting


Every participant can “pin” a specific video, other than the active speaker. Pinning another participant’s video will only affect your local view. Pinning a video disables the active speaker view, and can be used to (say) keep an interpreter on screen no matter who else is speaking.

Steps to pin a video

  • Once in the meeting, hover over the user you would like to pin
  • Click the 3 dots on the upper right corner of the selected video
  • Click on “Pin”
  • To stop pinning a video, hover over the upper right corner of the video, then click on the 3 dots and select “Remove Pin”


Multi-pin allows the users to pin up to 9 videos. Pinning video places the participants as the primary speakers without affecting the view of other participants. Multi-pinning videos disables the active speaker view, which can be used to better support deaf & hard of hearing users.

* Multi-pin is by default enabled only for the host and co-host. (Extra setup is need to allow other users to multi-pin)

Steps to enable other participants to set up multi-pin

  • As the host, once in the meeting, hover over the video of the participant that you would like to enable multi-pin
  • Click on the 3 dots, located in the upper right corner, and select “Allow to Multi-Pin”
  • This will allow the user to multi-pin up to 9 users on their own screen without affecting any other participants.

Steps to set up multi-pin

  • Once in the meeting, hover over the video that you would like to spotlight/pin
  • Click on the 3 dots, located in the upper right corner, and select “Pin”
  • Then continue by hovering over another user and clicking on the 3 dots, located in the upper right corner, and select “Pin” (Repeat for up to 9 users)


Multi-spotlight is a feature that allows the host to pin up to 9 videos for all the participants in the meeting. This differs from the pin feature, as this will affect the screen view of all the participants in the meeting. This feature is mostly used during keynote meetings or group presentations.

*Only works on Window or macOS desktop, with at least 3 participants

**Only the Host or Co-host has the privilege

Steps to set up multi-spotlight

  • Once in the meeting, hover over the video that you would like to spotlight/pin
  • Click on the 3 dots, located in the upper right corner, and select “Spotlight For Everyone”
  • Then continue by hovering over another user and clicking on the 3 dots, located in the upper right corner, and select “Spotlight For Everyone” (Repeat for up to 9 users)

Third-party streaming

For those who would like to share the live meetings or webinar on other platforms, Zoom offers the host of the meeting/webinar the configurations to stream live on custom platforms, before or during the meeting/webinar. This is mostly used for workshops, conferences and it can also be used for performances.


  • The host must be Licensed with a Pro, Business, Education or Enterprise account
  • PC with Zoom version 4.0.29183.0407 or higher
  • Mac with Zoom version 4.0.29208.0410 or higher

**Only the host of the meeting can set up live streaming

Enable live streaming to third-party platforms

If the platform you would like to stream the meeting on is not available, you can also custom a live streaming service from your preferred platform.

Steps to enable live streaming on third-party platforms

  • On the Zoom web portal browser, sign in and go into the “Settings” tab, and under the “Meeting (Advance)” tab, toggle to “Allow live streaming meeting” (or webinar)
  • Once the toggle is enabled, you will be able to select which platform to allow live streaming from, select the platforms you would like to have access to stream from

*If you would like to use another third-party platform not on the list, you can select “Custom Live Streaming Service”

Facebook Live

When doing a Facebook Live, users also have the option to save and post the full video recording for those that would like to rewatch or missed the live stream.

Steps to set up Facebook Live

  • Once you enabled live streaming on the Zoom webpage, as the host, you can initiate the live stream, by clicking “More” in the control panel located on the bottom right of the screen and select “Live on Facebook”
  • It will prompt you to a browser to log into Facebook, if you are not already logged in
  • Once logged in, you will have the choice to decide where to post the live stream
  • Oncea ready, as the host, you can click “Go Live” on the Facebook browser and the streaming should start

*To make sure the live stream works, in the Zoom meeting/webinar, a notification stating the live stream should appear on the upper left corner of the screen.

  • Streaming will stop when the Zoom meeting ends or to stop the live stream, simply click on the notification in the upper left corner and select “Stop Streaming” or click “More” on the bottom right corner and then “Stop Live Stream”

YouTube Live

When doing a YouTube Live, users also have the option to save the full video for later streaming for those that would like to rewatch or missed the live stream.

Steps to set up YouTube Live

  • Once you enabled live streaming on the Zoom webpage, as the host, you can initiate the live stream, by clicking “More” in the control panel located on the bottom right of the screen and select “Live on YouTube”
  • It will prompt you to a browser to log into your Google account, if you are not already logged in
  • Once logged in, a new page appears which allows you to name the Live Stream and decide the Privacy status of the video
  • Once ready, as the host, you can click “Go Live” and the streaming should start

*To make sure the live stream works, in the Zoom meeting/webinar, a notification stating the live stream should appear on the upper left corner of the screen.

  • Streaming will stop when the Zoom meeting ends or to stop the live stream, simply click on the notification in the upper left corner and select “Stop Streaming” or click “More” on the bottom right corner and then “Stop Live Stream”

Original sound

Original sound is a hidden feature on Zoom that allows users to preserve the audio from the microphone without using Zoom’s echo cancellation and audio-enhancing features. This feature is ideal for singing, since it will allow the original audio to be heard.

Watch this video for instructions and to see the original sound in action for a class at The Royal Academy of Music in Denmark. (playful avatar based virtual gathering place) is a video conferencing platform that simulates interaction in physical space. It looks like an adventure-game from the 90’s, but with the features of a modern chat platform. assigns each individual in the space a customizable avatar, allowing them to see and hear other individuals whose avatar is in their radius. This invites many realistic and playful possibilities: private conversations, eavesdropping, group discussions, and more, without the sometimes awkward and counterintuitive interface of a typical conferencing software like Zoom or Skype.

What’s nice about is that you can have the auditory experience of being close together and far apart. Your avatar can walk towards someone and have a private conversation, or a small group can gather for a collective discussion, all while a larger group is sharing the same space. (Picture a designer and director going off to talk together while two actors run lines — then at any point people can be called back together — all this without the orchestration of splitting into breakout rooms.) Users can also create custom maps to resemble familiar gathering places, like a theatre or a public square. As it’s still a relatively new platform, is constantly evolving and improving, making it an exciting space for experimental use.

Google Meet

Basic Setup

Start a meeting

Start a meeting from Google Meet.

Steps to set up a Google Meet

  • Once on the Google Meet browser
  • Sign into your gmail account if it is not already done
  • Click on “New meeting”
  • Then select “Start an instant meeting”
  • Optional: Create a nickname (for other participants to know what the meeting is for)
  • Click “Join now”

Different ways to adding someone to the video call

  1. Copy and paste the pop-up link and information and send it over to the other participants
  2. Click “Add people” and enter the name or the email address of the participant, to send them an invitation to the meeting.
  3. If you closed the pop-up, you can still add people to the video call, by
    1. Clicking on the human icon, in the upper right corner of the screen, and click “Add people” to invite other participants by email or name.
    2. Click on the “^” beside the name of the meeting in the lower left corner of the screen and copy the url of the meeting and send it to the other participants.

Schedule meeting

  • Through the Google Meet browser

Schedule Google Meet meeting ahead of time.

Steps to set up a Google Meet meeting through the browser

  • Once on the Google Meet browser
  • Sign into your gmail account if it is not already done
  • Click on the “New meeting” button
  • Click on “Schedule in Google Calendar”
  • This will bring you to your Google Calendar and you can follow the steps below to set up a scheduled meeting.
  • Through Google Calendar

Scheduling a Google Meet meeting, can also implement the meeting on the Google Calendar.

Steps to set up a Google Meet meeting through Google Calendar

  • First visit the Google Calendar website
  • Sign into your gmail account if it is not already done
  • Click on the button “Create” on the left tab
  • Name the meeting, set the date and time
  • Click on the blue button “Add Google Meet video conferencing”
  • Click “Save”

(Optional) Once the meeting is created you can send the meeting to others by email

  • Click on the meeting you created in the calendar
  • On the top of the pop-up, click on the envelope icon
  • Add the email address of the other participants of the meeting
  • Click “Send”

Video View

There are many different Google Chrome extensions available for download, to set your video view to be unmirrored (to have the same view as the other users, since they see you unmirrored).

Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is possible throughout the meeting, with selections to share the whole screen, or a specific window.

*Only one user can share their screen at a time.

Step to setting up screen share 


Closed Captions

Live Closed Captions on Google Meet is currently only available in English, but there is no need for extra set ups or extensions. The feature is mostly accurate, since they use the Google speech-to-text API and profanity is censored in real-time.

For Desktops

Simply click on the “CC” button (Turn on captions) located on the bottom right side of the screen.

To turn off captions, simply click “Turn off captions” located on the bottom right side of the screen.

For Mobile devices via Google Meet app

Simply tap on “More” once you are in the meeting and tap “Turn on captions”

To turn off the captions simply go back to the “More” tab and tap “Turn off captions”

Google Meet – Web version on Chrome – as of Friday, Nov 20th, 2020

  • Due to the pandemic, Google Meet is allowing all Gmail account users to have unlimited Meet call minutes until March 31, 2021


Version: on a Macbook – as of Friday, Nov 20th, 2020

  • Basic Free Account:
    • Group video calls are subject to a fair usage limit of 100 hours per month with no more than 10 hours per day and a limit of 4 hours per individual video call
    • Up to 50 participants
    • Up to 10 participants in “grid view
    • Allow screen sharing
    • Possible to record meetings (all users)

Screen Sharing


Live captions

Live Captions on Skype is currently available in 11 languages, including Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English (UK), English (US), French (France), German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian & Spanish (Spain).

Real-time translation

This feature allows users to translate messages in real-time. It currently allows users to translate from 60 different languages into 11 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Arabic & Russian.

*This feature is available for all devices with Windows 7 and above, as well as Mac OS X, iOS, Android & Linux operating systems.

**This feature is not available for video or group chats

Jitsi (alternative to Zoom)

Web version on Chrome – as of Friday, Nov 20th, 2020

Jitsi is a set of open-source projects that allow you to build a secure video conference solution. It is an audio/video space where artists can ensure greater privacy than other platforms and also set the audio volume of each participant for better audio quality.

Jitsi allows you to have conferences on the Internet with features such as audio, dial-in, recording & simulcasting.

Jitsi is unique since anyone can modify & share Jitsi’s code to integrate into their own software.

For more information and updates please visit

*For the mobile/tablet app, you cannot input your name to be shown on the screen, it is set automatically

Start a meeting

Jitsi is simple to set up, since it is not required to create an account and log in. On a desktop, simply visit the website and click “See it in action! Start a Meeting”.

Steps to set up a Meeting through Jitsi – Desktop

  • Go to the website
  • Click on “See it in action! Start a Meeting” on the landing page
  • It will bring you to, where you can input a “strong” name for your meeting, which you will share with others to join the meeting.

*First time users will have to allow the browser to use microphone and camera

  • It will then ask for you to input your name (which will be shown on screen) and it will also give you a link to the meeting, which you can copy and paste to other users to join the meeting.


As an open-source project, there are several privacy setting implementations available for you to set.

Enable Lobby

This function lets the moderator of the meeting to allow users to enter the room after formal approval.

Setup to Enable Lobby – Desktop

  • Once in the video call, click on the “Security options” icon
  • Toggle the “Enable Lobby”

Setup to Enable Lobby – Mobile

  • Once in the video call, tap on the 3 dots
  • Then tap on “Enable lobby mode”


Adding a password to the room, can be an extra layer of privacy. Only those who have the password can join the meeting.

*It will not affect those who have already joined the meeting.

Steps to set up password – Desktop

  • Once in the room, click on the “Security options” icon
  • Click on the blue “Add password”
  • Then type in a password of your choice
  • Share the password you created to others you would like to invite to the video call

*Anyone with the password can join the video call

**You can change or remove the password at anytime of the call, and if will not affect those already in the call

Steps to set up password – Mobile/Tablet app

  • Once in the video call, click on the 3 dots
  • Click on “More options”, then “Add meeting Password”
  • Then type in a password of your choice
  • Share the password you created to others you would like to invite to the video call

*Anyone with the password can join the video call

**You can change or remove the password at anytime of the call, and if will not affect those already in the call

  • Then type in a password of your choice
  • Share the password you created to others you would like to invite to the video call

*Anyone with the password can join the video call

**You can change or remove the password at anytime of the call, and if will not affect those already in the call

Join Jitsi meeting


There are 2 ways to joining the meeting

  1. You can go to and input the name of the meeting
  2. Use the link given by the host of the meeting


  • Download the application Jitsi Meet
  • Open the app
  • Input the name of the meeting

Key features on Jitsi – Tested on the Desktop

There are many features on Jitsi that are still in Beta mode, but here is a list of the key features of Jitsi.

Mute each participant

Every user can mute others in the video call

Mute all participants

Every user can mute all participants in the video call

Kick out participants

Every user can “kick out” other participants from the video call

Send private message

Every user can send private messages to other participants

Set volume of each participant

Every user can set the volume of each participant differently on their own end

Shows internet connection bandwidth

Every user can see the internet connection bandwidth of every participant in the video call, to see when they have good or bad internet connection

Live stream video call on third-party platforms

Moderator can start live stream on third-party platforms

Share YouTube video

Using a YouTube link, all users of the video call can share a YouTube video in high quality

Share screen simultaneously

Every user of the video call can share their screen, and multiple users can share their screens at the same time

Record video call

Every user in the video call can record the meeting, which will be uploaded on Dropbox

JackTrip (professional music application)

People are hungry to play music together online. New platforms in this area are being developed every day. JackTrip is perhaps the most sophisticated– but also the most complicated. JamKazam and Jamulus might be worth exploring…

What is JackTrip?

JackTrip is a high-quality audio communication platform that sends and receives audio in real-time (low latency). It is developed at Stanford University and lets musicians, performers, and media professionals collaborate remotely in almost real-time over the Internet. It is a component to Jack Audio Connection Kit and enables live audio streaming.

  • Note: JackTrip is still being developed and it might not be ready for public use. At this stage, it requires high technical skills to set up and maintain. Individual artists may be able to set it up on their own, however having technical support is recommended.

It is useful for:

  • Institutions that offer online music courses,
  • Music instructors,
  • Musicians and singers who want to jam and make music remotely,
  • Actors and performers who want to rehearse remotely,
  • Or any other application that requires low-latency audio communication.


  • It’s open-source and free to use
  • Supports high-quality, uncompressed audio streaming
  • Monitor and record audio at the same time (bi-directional audio)
  • Low latency (send and receive audio in real-time)
  • Supports any number of channels
  • Available on all major platforms
  • As a stand-alone software, it works with anything, such as meeting apps and music production software (DAWs).
  • Flexible input/output routing to modify microphones and headphones/speakers as they’re needed. For example, you may enable only your headphone’s left channel and link it to 3 microphone inputs.
  • Has an active professional community


  • Technically challenging to set up
  • Needs ethernet and fast internet connection
  • Runs in terminal/command-line program (you should type predefined functions as code to run the program)
  • Since it runs in the terminal, it doesn’t have an application with menus and a graphic user interface (GUI).


JackTrip is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it is open-source software.


How does it work?

First, you need to install Jack. JackTrip uses Jack as its audio server. After adjusting settings and establishing a connection, you will use commands in a terminal window to run JackTrip.

Installing Instructions

Setting up

After installing JackTrip, watch this step-by-step video guide provided by Jan Stoltenberg to set it up.

Important Tips

  • You must connect to the Internet via an ethernet connection.
  • You need to have a fast internet connection with low ping.
  • It’s better when participants have geographical proximity.
  • The higher the sampling rate, the higher the bandwidth requirements.
  • Required latency for real-time communication: below 25ms

Required Equipment


Fast Internet connection

Audio interface


Activities of JackTrip Foundation

  • Grants and scholarships for innovation related to JackTrip
  • Educational programs for technological and musical users of JackTrip
  • Internships and work experiences for technology and music students
  • Community-building events for a broad set of JackTrip user groups
  • Free usage of the JackTrip virtual concert hall for educational and arts organizations
  • Marketing and awareness-building of JackTrip capabilities world-wide

StreamYard (simple alternative to OBS)

While OBS is a very robust and extremely customizable broadcasting software, StreamYard is an easy-to-use live streaming studio in your browser. Broadcast interviews with up to 10 people, share your screen, stream directly to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other platforms simultaneously, show viewer comments and questions on screen in broadcast-style banners, and customize simple layouts with your own logos, graphics, and videos. Check out a preview right on the landing page at

Whereby (alternative to Zoom)

Zoom fatigue is real, and switching to something with even just a bit of a different layout and background colour can make a surprising amount of difference. Whereby is a video and audio communication platform that pretty much does most of what Zoom does, but doesn’t require a separate app on desktops as it works in any browser. Rooms are easy to set up, with customizable backgrounds in the paid version, and unlimited call time for up to 4 people in the free version. Whereby allows you to control individual caller volumes, and was the first conference calling app to allow you to re-order participant window tiles by dragging them around as you see fit. (Yes, they did this before Zoom did.) is all you need to get started on desktop, and a free app is available for mobile devices.

Thoughts and Recommendations

Our hope is that this will be a living document, to which others can add their own experiences and findings.