How To Set Up A Multi-Guest Live Stream With TVU Partyline

COVID-19 brought into sharp focus the manner in which anyone who uses video to communicate works. Many common practices were jettisoned and replaced with new tools and techniques that help producers comply with social distancing mandates and lockdowns.
Man sitting in front of a computer on a video conference talking to other participants

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the production of news interview segments with multiple guests. Rather than sitting near in each other in the same studio, guests and host remain in their respective homes and studio, separated by miles and safe from exposure.

The same could be said for video production of similar entertainment, corporate video, and government segments—really any video production that in normal times would place a host and guests in close proximity.


Customer Solutions

Many video producers scrambled to find an interview alternative when it became clear last year that this was no ordinary outbreak. Stopgap solutions, such as using video conferencing apps like Zoom and others products designed for consumer and business uses, addressed the problem at hand.

While an immediate solution, however, these products were not designed for professional video production, whether broadcast or non-broadcast. In general, they were created with priorities that don’t quite line up with those of video producers.

For instance, some are less concerned about maintaining high-video quality when network conditions are challenging than many video producers find acceptable.

They also lack certain features, such as the ability to remove the audio of a speaker from the sound that the speaker hears—called mix-minus in the production community. Without mix-minus, those speaking can become confused as they talk. Nor were these consumer video conferencing solutions designed to interface with broadcast equipment, so taking them to air can be a bit complicated.


A Professional Alternative

TVU Partyline is a professional video production alternative to consumer video conferencing apps. It was designed from the ground up for video producers and thus offers many features not found in consumer apps.

Among its strengths are mix-minus audio support, super-low latency—so low as to be undetectable—enabling conversational interactions among remote guests, the ability to have as many as 16 participants, and several behind-the-scenes production functions like a virtual intercom with audio and video support and interruptible foldback (IFB).

TVU Partyline offers three operational modes, each with a set of tools commonly needed for the task at hand. Conference mode makes it simple to put on a virtual press conference with a newsmaker and reporters working remotely from their homes or newsrooms; Gallery View mode enables producers to put virtual fans in the stands at sporting events; and Common Party mode is used for multi-guest live stream interview segments. 


How To Use TVU Partyline Common Party Mode

To set up a multi-guest live stream interview with TVU Partyline, visit the TVU Networks Partyline webpage and click the Sign Up/Login button.

Regardless of the mode, TVU Partyline is designed for people to serve in one of two different roles: party host or party participant.

A video producer organizing a multi-guest live stream interview will want to be the party’s host, who will invite participants to the interview. This is important to understand because upon clicking on the Sign Up/Login button, you will be given a choice to Start Party or Join Party. The party host always starts the party, while participants always join.  

The TVU Partyline main screen
Vist the TVU Partyline website, where you can Start or Join a video conference

Click the Start Party button. If you’ve already signed up for a TVU Networks account, your Sign In credentials will appear. If not, click “Create account” and complete your signup. Fill in the robot protector challenge, click the Next button, and you will be placed into TVU Partyline. 

By default, entering TVU Partyline places you in the Common Party mode. Check the upper left of the interface to make sure Common Party is highlighted in green and underlined. To create a Common Party, begin by clicking on the Start a common party button on the bottom of the interface.


Guests joining a TVU Partyline session
TVU Partyline allows up to 16 guests to be added to a live production

In the Participation Settings window, turn on or off your settings as desired, including microphone, camera and speaker. Click the Submit button.

At the top center of the TVU Partyline interface is an identification number assigned to your party. Clicking Copy copies the ID number to your clip board. Paste the number and accompanying URL into an email or text messages to be sent to your Q&A participants.

Instruct participants to click on the URL to join the party and be sure to coordinate times with the participants for the live interview. Remember some may be in different time zones. Many time zone converters, such as the one at, are available.

User joining a TVU Partyline session via a mobile phone
Hosts can copy a session link and send it to all guests, so it’s very easy to join

Before the party starts, enter the settings you wish TVU Partyline to use for Video Feedback (VFB) and make any needed changes to the Participant Setting by clicking the white interface button at the top right. It has small squares forming a triangle. Set Resolution to low or high, turn on or off Talkback to push audio when a PIP is live. Use the VFB Setting to control the Resolution, Frame rate and Bitrate of video being returned to Q&A participants.

When your participants click on the URL you sent, they will be asked to join with TVU Anywhere if it already exists on their smartphones or iPads. They also can choose to download the app if they don’t have it.

For those using a computer, they must simply choose to join via their browser. They may be asked the name of their party. If so, they should enter the party ID number they received in your email or text.

Woman holding a tablet whilst using TVU Partyline
Users can join a TVU Partyline session via a PC, mobile phone or tablet

All parties participating in the Q&A, including the interviewer, should be sure their phone, iPad, computer or camera is stable and pointed at them, the scene is well-lit and the surroundings set up to warn off visitors from entering the shot.

Clicking the +Add Source button on the interface slides on a menu from the right edge of the screen. There you may choose other video contribution sources you’ve previously set up, such as TVU Network’s TVU One transmitter.

One convenient way to use TVU Partyline for multi-guest live stream interviews is in conjunction with TVU Producer. To do so, start a TVU Producer session. (A previous blog has discussed how to use TVU Producer.) Using TVU Producer will let you easily create a dual or quad-box in the TVU Producer No. 7 video slot that says “+ Add custom video.”

From the TVU Partyline interface in the Main Window pulldown, find and select the TVU Producer session you’ve just named and started. (You may also select a destination other than TVU Producer, such as a TVU Receiver, if you have one, as a simple way to encode your TVU Partyline output as SDI to be integrated into a typical broadcast workflow.)

On the right side of the Main Window is the Program Return window, called PGM. It will display the program output of your TVU Producer (or TVU Receiver, if used). You, as the party host, and all participants in the interview will now be able to see the program output in near real time, delayed by only 200 milliseconds, which makes for natural conversation among participants. 

In the pulldown under each video source in TVU Partyline, assign a “Slot,” i.e. Slot 1, Slot 2, etc. This assigns the various participants to source slots in TVU Producer. Click on the Start Button to send the video to its assigned slot in TVU Producer. Click Stop to stop sending that source to the assigned slot.

As the producer hosting the Q&A, you have control over the microphone and camera of participants by simply clicking on the mic and camera icons below each video. You may also rename each video source by clicking on the default name, typing in your own description and hitting Enter.

More controls over each video source are available immediately to the right of the source name by clicking the three vertical dot button. Doing so opens a pop-up menu, where it is possible to make the video source Full screen, Rename the source, Edit tag name, Move to a different Common Party and Remove the video source from the program. 

If you need to access another party, click on the TVU Partyline menu selector at the top left of the interface. A pull out menu from the left side of the screen will display currently available parties as well as enable you to start another common party by clicking on the button at the bottom of the interface. Simply X out to close the interface.

Other controls on the top right of the interface include the question mark, which shows TVU Partyline version number; a Chat bubble to enable a Group Chat or Personal Chat Room; and Move PIP to move picture-in-picture. 

Once the multi-person interview is concluded, simply click End party at the top center of the interface. Your participants will receive a notice on their device that the host has ended the party.


Real-world Deployments

TVU Partyline is in use every day giving broadcasters a way to conduct multi-person interviews, regardless of their location. As long as participants have internet connectivity and a device like a computer, smartphone or iPad, they can participate—without the added time and expense of securing a satellite truck and crew.

One recent success involved World Rugby and the draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup held in Paris. This setup enabled coaches from around the world to participate in the event in real time.  

Another example is KMBC, the Heart Television-owned ABC affiliate serving the Kansas City metropolitan area. In the summer of 2020, the station used this setup to produce a program on the need for police reform.

Whenever the need arises for multi-guest live stream to interact with one another in a live interview, there’s no better, easier nor more affordable way to get the job done than with TVU Partyline.


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