Spotlighting is a feature used for presentations. When you stand on a Spotlight tile or are manually spotlighted, everyone in the Room can hear and see you. Read on for more spotlighting details, including best practices and troubleshooting tips.
Warning: This feature is best used for meetings of approximately 100 (or fewer) participants.
Spotlight tiles allow one or more people to broadcast their audio, video, and/or screen to everyone in the room. This is perfect for meetings so that attendees can focus on the facilitator(s). When you are spotlighted, your video preview and that of your screen (if you are screen sharing) will have an orange spotlight label and will be pinned to the top of the video carousel.
Note: Normally A/V displays based on your proximity to other users or whether you are in a private area together. When you are on a Spotlight tile, everyone in the Room can see and hear you, and you can see everyone in the video carousel. However, you can only hear others who are within 5 tiles of you.
Best Practices for 100+ Attendees
If you know you will have well over 100 attendees and want to screen share, plan to livestream the speaker or use a third-party video calling platform, such as Zoom.
If you want to livestream, you can then embed that livestream in your Gather Space. To do so, add an interactive object, then paste the URL of the livestream into the Embedded video field. (Read more about embedded videos.)
If you want to use a third-party platform, use an External Call Object to open any external link to a video calling platform. Using this object and clicking on the link button will automatically mute your microphone and disable your video in Gather, and open the link in a new tab.
For both options, set the Activation Distance for the interactive object to a high number of tiles (e.g., 25) so that people can open the livestream or link without crowding around the interactive object.
We recommend that the number of spotlighted users stay under 20 per Room. You can have multiple Rooms (unique Maps) in the same Space with multiple spotlighted users that add up to more than 20, as long as they are not in the same Room. For example, you could run multiple panel discussions with panelists, moderators, and audience members asking questions in the same Space, just not all in one giant Room.
Troubleshooting Spotlight Issues
If you have a large group (we're talking more than about 100 participants), or are hosting an event and meet your Space capacity, some participants may have issues with their own A/V stream or that of the spotlighted speaker.
Gather has built-in warnings if the spotlighted speaker has reached their maximum broadcast capacity. The speaker will see a warning message: "Sharing A/V with too many people. Try turning off your video or screen." The speaker can reach more participants by turning off their own video, audio, screen share, or some combination thereof.
If the spotlighted speaker reaches the broadcast capacity, guests who cannot connect to the speaker's stream will see a message on the spotlighted speaker's video preview: "Sharing A/V with too many people."
A simple way to improve most meetings is to create smaller private areas around the Room so that participants can limit with whom they share their A/V while they are connected to the spotlighted speaker. This will not increase the number of participants the spotlighted speaker can reach, but it will improve the overall experience for individuals who will see a decreased strain on their individual machines.
General Spotlighting Details
Think of spotlighting like being a musician at a concert, projected on a big screen. The audience can see and hear you, and you might add video media on some screens. As the musician on stage, you can see everyone, and you can hear the people who are close to the front. If you pull someone on stage, they can be seen and heard by everyone, too. If there's a VIP section, they're in their own private space, but they can see and hear you and talk with people directly around them. If you walk offstage, you're no longer being broadcasted to everyone.
So, when you're spotlighted:
- You can see the participants you are broadcasting to (as long as they have their video streaming).
- You can hear some guests, but only those that are within the standard connection range (within 5 tiles).
- If someone is manually spotlighted, or if you have multiple Spotlight tiles, the additional person's A/V and screen can be seen and heard, as well as yours.
- Everybody in the Room can see and hear you and see your screen, as long as you choose to share your screen and video. Even if they're in a private area, your A/V will display.
- If you walk off the Spotlight tile(s), you will no longer be seen and heard by everyone in the room.
- Participants can click on the spotlighted person's screen share or video screen to enlarge the view. Collapsing the expanded Chat or Participant panel will further enlarge the view.
Typically the Spotlight feature is set through a tile and placed in a specific spot on the map. (Read our article about Spotlight Tiles for how to add them in your Space.) However, Admins and Mods can manually spotlight other guests in the Space. Open the Participants pane, select the person's name, and select Spotlight on their info card.
Warning: You must be an Admin or Mod to spotlight another user.
If a moderator has spotlighted you, you can click on your name in the Participants panel and select Unspotlight.