Web based flash applications can’t access desktop directly. Screen sharing can be done easily after installing a driver or software that captures the screen and simulates a webcam. In example ManyCam, Webcam Max, CamTwist (MacOS).
There are multiple webcam simulation drivers of this type, both commercial and free software packages.
Screen Sharing Solutions
- ManyCam – picture in picture, effects, screencasting
- Webcam Max – webcam effects, screen sharing, recording, play video, draw on video, picture in picture
- VH Screen Capture Driver – free for personal use
- UScreenCapture – look for Add-ons: Screen Capture DirectShow source filter
- MReplay Broadcast – screen sharing driver as service, register on their site to use
- Fake Webcam – allows screen sharing or playing video
- Virtual Audio Cable – simulates sound device
- CamTwist – free, on certain versions works only with Chrome browser
- SoundFlower – capture and redirect sound output
With the screen capture driver enabled you just have to select the new “webcam” in flash (right click the flash and select from settings in any flash video chat software). You may need to restart browser after activating such solution for new item to show up.
Only the user that shares his screen needs to have this type of driver installed. Those running tutoring, consultation, support websites can purchase a commercial software package that includes this type of driver (i.e. Camtasia Recorder with the Live Output feature).
Most drivers allow defining a zone to capture and even resizing the output.
Chat applications usually require a 320×240 webcam stream at 15fps so you should configure output to that if possible. Exotic aspect ratios may not show fine in webcam designed apps.
Another popular method for screen sharing (as seen on youtube), but less professional is pointing your webcam to the screen. 🙂
Here is an older test with the VH Screen Capture driver:
Screen Sharing Tips
For best screen sharing of full screen use 2 monitors (ie. laptop screen + external monitor): on one you put the application, window or element that you want to share, on the other you put the Flash video chat application which most probably will also display your screen video feed using the screen-share driver.
Screen size and video streaming size are not the same: The screen sharing driver might capture the entire screen ie 1920×1080 or a zone, but the video chat software might display only a lower area (ex 320×240).
Different drivers have different ways of handling this:
1) stretch down the whole screen to fit 320×240 or
2) provide only the 320×240 area around the mouse (VH) or
3) provide only the 420×240 area around the center of the screen (Live Output and UScreenCapture).
Sample Webcam Solutions that could be used with Screencasting
- Broadcast Live Video Script – Solution includes multi channel live streaming, web based broadcasting app and player with chat, support for external apps, 24/7 ip cameras, video archiving & vod, HLS delivery for mobile, membership and access control, pay per view channels and tips for broadcasters.
- Paid Videochat Script – Software includes custom registration (performers and clients), live webcams list, public lobby for each performer with live stream, custom tips with message and sound notification, private pay per minute videochat shows.