Using Webinar Backstage

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Webinar Backstage provides another area that runs before, during, and after a webinar for webinar host, co-hosts, and panelists to be when not actively presenting in the webinar. Panelists can enter this backstage or “green room” before the webinar begins and even multiple times during a webinar.

Panelists in the backstage can also still view and hear the live session, allowing them to follow the presentation and know when it's their cue to rejoin. This can also be useful for webinar moderators or production assistants, who would prefer to remain off screen, but still need panelists’ access to chat, polling, and Q&A features.


At the end of the Webinar, the host can also end the webinar for all attendees, while keeping all panelists for a debrief or post-production discussion.

This is similar to the Webinar Practice Session, which is only available as a staging area before the webinar is started live and cannot be returned to after beginning the webinar.

Before using this feature in a webinar, ensure this has been enabled for your account and scheduled webinars.

Prerequisites for using Webinar Backstage

  • A webinar scheduled with Webinar Backstage enabled
    Note: To enable and use Webinar Backstage, you must have a Zoom Events license. 
  • Zoom desktop client:
    • Windows: version 5.10.0 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.10.0 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.10.0 or higher
  • Zoom mobile app:
    • Android: version 5.10.0 or higher
    • iOS: version 5.10.0 or higher

Notes:

  • Panelists who join from a client version older than the minimum version will be prompted to update to the minimum version or higher. 
  • Panelist joining from a Zoom Room, H.323/SIP device, or the web client will not be able to use Webinar Backstage. They will join the webinar and remain in the live Webinar area. 
  • Webinar attendees do not need to meet these requirements, as Webinar Backstage only affects the host and panelists, but will be prompted to update if being promoted to panelist.

How to use Backstage in a webinar

When joining a webinar with Backstage enabled, panelists will join the backstage area automatically, whether the webinar is open to attendees or not. This avoids late arrivals appearing in front of attendees before they are ready.

While in the backstage area, the screen is split horizontally, with the live webinar above and everyone in the backstage area below. The ratio of how much space each area occupies in the meeting window can be adjusted by clicking-and-dragging the slider between the two areas. Before the webinar officially starts, the area for the live webinar will display a clear OFF AIR image, to make it clear that no attendees are viewing the webinar yet.

Note: When using dual monitor mode, one screen will display the standard backstage view, while the other is dedicated to the live webinar view.

Just as with a Practice Session, the host will need to start the webinar when they are ready to allow attendees to join and begin viewing the presentation. The host will click the Start Webinar button located on the small banner at the top of the screen. Zoom recommends having at least one panelist in the live webinar area before starting the webinar for attendees, otherwise attendees will see a The host will be right back message. All panelists, in either the live webinar or backstage area, will see a notification that the webinar has started.

Moving yourself between the live webinar and backstage area

As the host or a panelist, you can move between the two areas freely, even after the webinar has started.

Note: The host can disable the ability for panelists to move between areas freely, so you may need to contact the host or co-host to be moved. A message will appear if you attempt to move to an area and are not allowed to do so.

To move into the live webinar and be visible to webinar attendees:

  1. On the meeting toolbar, click the Webinar button  and then confirm by clicking Go to Webinar.
    You will be immediately moved to the live webinar area.

To move into the backstage area and continue viewing the live webinar:

  1. On the meeting toolbar, click the Backstage button  and then confirm by clicking Go Backstage.

    You will be moved immediately to the backstage area.

Moving panelists between areas as the host or co-host

The host and any co-hosts can move an individual panelist, a group of panelists, or all panelists in an area between the areas as needed, but the moved panelist(s) is presented with a 5-second countdown if moving to the live webinar.

The host can also prevent panelists from moving themselves between areas, if they prefer that themselves or a co-host handle the timing of those movements.

Notes:

  • Panelists who join from a version older than the minimum version will be prompted to update to the minimum version or higher.
  • Webinar attendees will be prompted to update if being promoted to panelist.

Preventing panelist moving themselves between areas

  1. In the webinar controls, click Participants  .
  2. At the top of the participants panel, click the Panelists tab.
  3. At the bottom of the participants panel, click More and, under Allow Panelists to, select Move between Webinar and Backstage.
    The checkmark to the left of the option indicates whether the option is enabled or disabled.
    Note: Allowing panelists to move between webinar and backstage is enabled by default.

When viewing the list of Panelists in the Participants panel, panelists are divided by their current location, either under the Webinar section or Backstage section of the list.

Moving an individual panelist

  1. In the webinar controls, click Participants  .
  2. At the top of the participants panel, click the Panelists tab.
  3. Hover your pointer over the panelist name and click the  button.
  4. Click Move to Backstage or Move to Webinar, depending on which area they are currently in.

Moving multiple panelists at once

  1. In the webinar controls, click Participants  .
  2. At the top of the participants panel, click the Panelists tab.
  3. To move panelists from:
    1. …the Webinar to the Backstage, click the  button next to the right of the Webinar section.
    2. …the Backstage to the Webinar, click the  button next to the right of the Backstage section.
  4. Click Select Panelists… to choose which panelist you want to move.
  5. Select the check box next to each panelist to select to be moved. If there are 8 or more panelists to choose from, a search bar will appear to make finding particular panelists easier.
  6. Click Move to confirm the selection and have those panelists moved.
    Note: Remember, if moving panelists from Backstage to the live webinar, each panelist will have a 5-second countdown before being moved. There is no countdown for moving to Backstage.

Moving all panelists in an area

  1. In the webinar controls, click Participants  .
  2. At the top of the participants panel, click the Panelists tab.
  3. To move panelists from:
    1. …the Webinar to the Backstage, click the  button next to the right of the Webinar section.
    2. …the Backstage to the Webinar, click the  button next to the right of the Backstage section.
  4. Click Move all to Webinar or Move all to Backstage to move all panelists currently in that area.
  5. (Optional) Select the check box next to Include myself to also be moved with other panelists. This option only appears if you are in the same area as the panelists you are moving.
  6. Click Move All to confirm and have the panelists moved.
    Note: Remember, if moving panelists from Backstage to the live webinar, each panelist will have a 5-second countdown before being moved. There is no countdown for moving to Backstage.

Controlling volume and closed captioning in Backstage

Controlling the volume of the audio from the live webinar

While in Backstage, panelists can view the live video feeds and shared content from the live webinar, although audio from the live webinar is muted by default. Each panelist can unmute the audio and adjust the volume as they need. This can be helpful for knowing when your turn presenting in the live webinar is drawing near, starting polling, or when other assistance is needed.

  1. In the live webinar portion of the video window, hover your pointer over the muted volume button  . The volume slider will appear.
  2. Click and drag the volume slider as needed to raise or lower the volume.
  3. (Optional) Click the volume button directly to quickly mute or unmute the audio from the live webinar.

Enabling closed captions on video from the live webinar

If captions are enabled in the live webinar, panelists can enable them in the backstage area. This can be useful if you need to keep an eye on what is being discussed, but are chatting with other panelists backstage.

  1. In the live webinar portion of the video window, click the closed caption button  to show or hide captions.

Ending the webinar for attendees only

When at the end of the scheduled time, the host can end the webinar for all attendees, while retaining the panelists for a debrief or recap session. To end the webinar for just attendees:

  1. On the webinar toolbar, click End.
  2. Click End Webinar for Attendees and click End Webinars for Attendees again to confirm.
    All attendees will be removed from the webinar as if the webinar has ended, while all panelists will remain. All panelists will all be moved to a common area for a private debriefing session.

When joining a webinar with Backstage enabled, panelists will join the backstage area automatically, whether the webinar is open to attendees or not. This avoids late arrivals appearing in front of attendees before they are ready.

While in the backstage area, panelists will only see the live webinar video and shared content. Before the webinar officially starts, the area for the live webinar will display a clear OFF AIR image, to make it clear that no attendees are viewing the webinar yet.

Just as with a practice session, the host will need to start the webinar when they are ready to allow attendees to join and begin viewing the presentation. The host will tap the Start Webinar button located on the small banner at the top of the screen, then tap Start to confirm. All panelists, in either the live webinar or backstage area will see a notification that the webinar has started.

Moving yourself between the live webinar and backstage area

As the host or a panelist, you can move between the two areas freely, even after the webinar has started.

Note: The host can disable the ability for panelists to move between areas freely, so you may need to contact the host or co-host to be moved. A message will appear if you attempt to move to an area and are not allowed to do so.

To move into the live webinar and be visible to webinar attendees:

  1. On the meeting toolbar, tap More  and then tap Go to Webinar  .
  2. Tap Go to Webinar to confirm.
  3. You will have a 5-second countdown before you are moved to the webinar.

To move into the backstage area and continue viewing the live webinar:

  1. On the meeting toolbar, tap More  and then tap Go to Backstage  .
  2. Tap Go to Backstage to confirm.
  3. You will be moved immediately to the backstage area.

Moving panelists between areas as the host or co-host

The host and any co-hosts can move an individual panelist, a group of panelists, or all panelists in an area between the areas as needed, but the moved panelist is still presented with a 5-second countdown if moving to the live webinar. The host can also prevent panelists from moving themselves between areas, if they prefer that themselves or a co-host handle the timing of those movements.

Notes:

  • Panelists who join from a version older than the minimum version will join as a normal attendee, not as a panelist. They must be promoted by the host to a panelist, but cannot be moved Backstage in any case. If they are not needed any longer during the live webinar, they can be demoted back to attendee to continue viewing, put on hold, or can leave the webinar entirely.
  • If the host or co-host promotes an attendee to panelist and that attendee has joined using the minimum version client or higher, the host/co-host can optionally promote them directly to the Backstage area, rather than the live webinar.

Preventing panelist moving themselves between areas

  1. In the webinar controls, tap More  .
  2. In the additional options, tap Webinar Settings  .
  3. Under the Allow Panelists to section, tap the toggle next to Move between Webinar & Backstage.
    Note: Allowing panelists to move between webinar and backstage is enabled by default.

Moving an individual panelist

  1. In the webinar controls, tap Participants  . The list of panelists is divided by their current location, either the Webinar section or Backstage section.
  2. Tap the name of the participant you want to move.
  3. Tap Move to Backstage or Move to Webinar, depending on which area they are currently in.

Moving multiple panelists at once

  1. In the webinar controls, tap Participants  . The list of panelists is divided by their current location, either the Webinar section or Backstage section.
  2. At the top of either section, tap the three dots  . To move panelists from…
    1. …the Webinar to the Backstage, tap the  button next to the right of the Webinar section.
    2. …the Backstage to the Webinar, tap the  button next to the right of the Backstage section.
  3. Tap the name of each panelist you want to move.
  4. At the top-right of the window, tap Move to confirm the selection and have those panelists moved.
    Note: Remember, if moving panelists from Backstage to the live webinar, each panelist will have a 5-second countdown before being moved. There is no countdown for moving to Backstage.

Moving all panelists in an area

  1. In the webinar controls, tap Participants  . The list of panelists is divided by their current location, either the Webinar section or Backstage section.
  2. To move panelists from…
    1. …the Webinar to the Backstage, tap the  button next to the right of the Webinar section.
    2. …the Backstage to the Webinar, tap the  button next to the right of the Backstage section.
  3. Tap Move all to Webinar or Move all to Backstage, depending on the section you selected.
  4. Tap on one of the following options:
    1. Move All: Moves all panelists in this area to the other. If you are also in that area, this option will exclude yourself.
    2. Move all & include myself: Moves all panelists, including yourself, in this area to the other. This option only appears if you are in the same area as the panelists you are moving.

      Note: Remember, if moving panelists from Backstage to the live webinar, each panelist will have a 5-second countdown before being moved. There is no countdown for moving to Backstage.

Controlling volume and closed captioning in Backstage

Controlling the volume of the audio from the live webinar

While in Backstage, panelists view the live audio and video feeds and shared content from the live webinar. Each panelist can unmute the audio as they need. This can be helpful for knowing when your turn presenting in the live webinar is drawing near, starting polling, or when other assistance is needed.

  1. In the video window, tap the volume button  to mute or unmute.
  2. To adjust the volume, use the volume buttons or controls on your mobile device.

Enabling closed captions on video from the live webinar

If captions are enabled in the live webinar, panelists can enable them in the backstage area. This can be useful if you need to keep an eye on what is being discussed, but are chatting with other panelists backstage.

  1. In the video window, tap the closed caption button  to show or hide captions.

Ending webinar for attendees only

When at the end of the scheduled time, the host can end the webinar for all attendees, while retaining the panelists for a debrief or recap session. To end the webinar for just attendees:

  1. In the top-right corner, tap End.
  2. Tap End Webinar for Attendees and then tap End Webinars for Attendees again to confirm. All attendees will be removed from the webinar as if the webinar has ended, while all panelists will remain. All panelists will be moved to the Webinar area.

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