What are Overlays?

Overlays are styled text and images in your broadcast. If you don’t see the Overlays window, you can show it by clicking the Overlays icon in the upper right corner of the Main Window, or through the Overlays menu at the very top of your display.

There are five types of Overlays:

Text Overlays

Almost any need for text on the screen can be addressed with Text Overlays. There are four ways to add a Text Overlay:

  • Select New Text Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the Text button at the bottom the Overlays Window,
  • Type ⌘N.
  • Copy text from anywhere on your Mac. Edit menu ➝ Paste as Overlay will allow you to paste in plain or styled text.

When you create a new Text Overlay, a Text Editing Sheet will appear. Start typing to enter text. You can hold the shift key and press the return key to insert a line break. You can change many properties including font, font size, text color, text opacity (how much you can “see through” the text), background color and background opacity. You can apply any of these properties to individual lines or chunks of the text by highlighting them, and selecting your styles.

You can apply a shadow or an outer glow effect to all of the text. To add emoji, click the 😀 smiling emoji button and select from the menu.

The background size and shape is set automatically for you, and adjusts to scale with the size of your text. You can change the color and the opacity of the background by clicking the style button after the Background: label. Click this button again to return to text editing options.

Once you click Save in the Text Editing Sheet, your Overlay will appear in the Main Window.

Editing Text Overlays

To position a Text Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner of the Overlay, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom gesture, or your mouse’s scroll gesture to resize any Overlay.

If you’d like to change the text or visual style of the Overlay, place your cursor over the Overlay. Two icons will appear on its left. The pencil icon brings back the Text Editing Sheet for adjustments. A double-click on the Overlay will also bring back the Text Editing Sheet.

If you would like to hide the Text Overlay from the screen, place your cursor over the Overlay. Two icons will appear on its left. The X icon hides the text Overlay. You can bring the Text Overlay back to the screen by clicking the eye icon next to the name of the Text Overlay in the Overlays Window, or selecting it from the Overlays Menu at the top of your display.

To change the width of a text Overlay without changing the font size, place your cursor over the right edge of the Overlay. When the cursor switched to a left-right arrow, drag left or right to adjust the width. Once you’ve adjusted the width, the width will remain fixed. To return to an automatically-sized width, double-click the right edge area.

Image Overlays

Would you like to show your company logo in the corner of your broadcast? That’s one of the most common uses for Image Overlays. But there are many possibilities. If you’d like to go beyond the styling capabilities of Text Overlays, you can design text and lower thirds in a graphics app, such as Photoshop, save them as an image, and add them to your broadcast as an Image Overlay. This is a powerful way to supplement your broadcast’s branding. You can simply drag and drop any image file into the Main Window or Overlays Window to instantly create a new Overlay. Or if you prefer, there are 4 other ways to create an Image Overlay:

  • Drag an image file from the Finder into the Overlays Window.
  • Select New Image Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the button at the bottom the Overlays Window.
  • Type shift ⌘ N while in the Main Window.

A File Selection Sheet will appear, allowing you to find and select one image file. Select a JPEG, PNG, GIF or PDF.

When a multi-page PDF file is added as an Overlay, you will see page controls show up when your mouse cursor moves over the Overlay. Use the left and right arrow buttons, or the arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the PDF pages. To jump to a specific page, click the page number area.

PDF overlays can be displayed with a transparent background if desired. Control-click or right-click on a PDF overlay, and choose PDF Options ➝ Transparent Background from the contextual menu.

Animated GIFs are also supported—let’s use that last one responsibly, shall we?

Pro Tip: When creating an image in an external graphics application for an Overlay, PNG is a great format. PNG saves losslessly (without visible degradation from data compression), and can have an alpha channel (allowing parts of the image to be transparent). This can add an additional pro touch to your onscreen look.

Editing Image Overlays

To reposition the Image Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your mouse’s scroll feature, or your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom feature to resize any Overlay.

If you would like to remove the Image Overlay from your broadcast, place your cursor over the Overlay. An X icon will appear on the left. This hides the Image Overlay. You can bring the Image Overlay back to the screen by clicking the eye icon next to the name of the Image Overlay within the Overlays Window, or selecting it from the Overlays Menu at the top of your display.

Movie Overlays

Movie Overlays work just like Image Overlays, but use a video file instead of an image. This is great for an animated logo or lower third. Movie overlays will play without sound.

Video files with transparency are best. These can be created in apps such as Adobe After Effects, and should be saved as Apple ProRes 4444 format. Other video formats will also work but may take a few seconds to be converted by Ecamm Live before showing up.

There are 3 ways to create a Movie Overlay:

  • Drag a movie file from the Finder into the Overlays Window.
  • Select New Movie Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the animated overlay icon button at the bottom the Overlays Window.

A File Selection Sheet will appear, allowing you to find and select a movie file.

Movie Overlay Playback Options

To pause or play a movie overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay, and you’ll see a small movie player bar show up, with a play/pause button, scrub bar and an options menu.  Options include Auto-Play, Loop, and the option to hide the overlay when finished with playback.

Editing Movie Overlays

To reposition a Movie Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your mouse’s scroll feature, or your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom feature to resize any Overlay.

If you would like to remove the Movie Overlay from your broadcast, place your cursor over the Overlay. An X icon will appear on the left. It hides the Image Overlay from the Main Window (and current Scene). You can bring the Movie Overlay back to the screen by clicking the eye icon next to the name of the Movie Overlay within the Overlays Window, or selecting it from the Overlays Menu at the top of your display.

Comment Overlays

If you’re broadcasting with Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope or Twitch and you receive a comment, you can drag that comment from the Comments and Reactions Window into the Main Window. Ecamm will automatically convert your comment into a styled text Overlay, matching the style of your most recent Comment Overlay. If you want two different Comment Overlays to appear on screen at once, drag a second comment to the Main Window.

You can also click the tiny Add To Broadcast button below each comment, or click the comment’s Profile photo to place the comment on screen. This feature remembers the placement and style of a previous Comment Overlay. If there’s currently a Comment Overlay on screen, clicking a different comment in the Comments & Reactions window will replace the currently displayed Comment Overlay. This is useful for clicking through a series of comments in succession.

Editing Comment Overlays

The text in a comment Overlay can be edited and styled just like a Text Overlay. Once a Comment Overlay is styled, future comments remember this styling. Note that a separate style and color can be applied to the comment author.

Countdown Overlays

If you need to display a countdown timer on screen, use a Countdown Overlay.

There are 2 ways you can display a Countdown Overlay:

  • Select New Countdown Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Click the button at the bottom the Overlays Window.

A Text Editing Sheet appears, providing all of the same visual styling options as with a Text Overlay. You can edit the End Time and text alignment. Ecamm Live will display a countdown to the chosen End Time. Press Save to display your timer within the Main Window.

Editing Countdown Overlays

You have the same controls as Text Overlays.

Widget Overlays

Ecamm Live supports displaying web widgets as Overlays. Widgets are transparent web pages designed to be overlayed on a live stream. They typically include dynamic content such as alerts and chat messages. Streamlabs widgets are a quick way to get started.

Widget Overlays require an Ecamm Live Pro plan and macOS 10.3 or newer.

There are 2 ways you can add a Widget Overlay:

  • Select New Widget Overlay in the Overlays menu at the top of your display
  • Drag a web URL from the Finder or your web browser’s address bar into the Main Window or Overlays Window Window.

Selecting New Widget Overlay in the Overlays menu will bring up sheet to enter a URL and several options:

  • Width and Height: Indicate a width and height for the widget. This will determine the scale of the widget.
  • Fill Entire Frame: This checkbox will make the widget fill the entire broadcast area. When using this option, the overlay cannot be resized or moved around like a normal overlay.
  • Frame Rate: By default, the widget’s contents will update 15 times per second. You may wish to increase the frame rate if more frequent updating is needed, or decrease it for performance reasons.

Editing Widget Overlays

To position a Widget Overlay, place your cursor in the middle of the Overlay and drag. If you’d like to adjust the Overlay’s size, hover your cursor in the bottom right-hand corner of the Overlay, and look for it to change to arrows. Drag to adjust the size. You may also use your trackpad’s pinch-to-zoom gesture, or your mouse’s scroll gesture to resize any Overlay.

To return to the widget’s setting, place your cursor over the Overlay. Two icons will appear on its left. The pencil icon brings back the widget settings sheet. A double-click on the Overlay will also bring back the settings.

Alternatively, click the tiny gear icon beside the eye icon in the Overlays Window.

Overlay Quick Resize Options

Does an Overlay need a quick resize while on screen? Place your cursor over the bottom right-hand corner. The cursor will change to a resizing arrow. Drag to make the Overlay bigger or smaller.

If you’re using a mouse, you can put your cursor over an Overlay and scroll to change the size. If you’re using a trackpad, use the “pinch” or “spread” zooming gestures.

Managing Your Overlays

The Overlays Window offers several options for managing your Overlays.

To delete an Overlay, select any item in the list and press your delete key, drag to the  icon, or click the trash icon. The item will vanish. Trash an Overlay by mistake? Don’t panic. Edit ➝ Undo or ⌘Z will bring it back.

You can show or hide a given Overlay by clicking its eye icon. You can reorder the Overlays by dragging them up or down. This can be helpful for organization, but if you have any Overlays that overlap, the items that are listed higher on the list are “above” the items lower on the list. This is called z-order or z-index.

If you need to further organize, you can create folders to group Overlays. Click the folder icon to create a new folder. Drag Overlays onto the folders to organize. Folders can be hidden or shown just like individual Overlays using the  icon.

Locking Overlays

You may wish to lock an overlays to prevent it from getting accidentally moved around or resized. This is especially useful when using a frame-style overlay. To lock or unlock an overlay, click the padlock icon beside the Overlay in the Overlays Window. Or, right-click or control-click on an overlay, and choose Lock Overlay from the menu that shows up.

Note: Overlays are always auto-saved as you create and edit them.

Next article: Using Scenes

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