Over the past couple of years we’ve run a agglomeration of 90 infinitesimal sessions to help people develop their skills in workshop design and delivery.
The first i of these took place in a pocket-size room in Brooklyn back in early 2019 every bit part of an experiment Creative Mornings were running called ‘Field Trips’.
As the pandemic hit, we ran a few more 90 minute sessions online for pocket-sized groups. Then, the wonderful Tina at Creative Mornings suggested we host another Field Trip – this time online of class.
Why not?! Nosotros’re big fans of Artistic Mornings, and the opportunity to connect with their customs of generous artistic humans was too practiced to plow down.
The starting time session we did was a big success, so we began hosting Field Trips every 2-three months.
All the same, we quickly had several hundred people signing up each time, and our fast-paced multiple breakout approach (4 breakout sessions in 90 minutes) was fun only likewise kinda frantic. It too threw up some of import questions around accessibility, and then we decided to brand some adjustments.
The iv-breakout room version remained, but simply for smaller groups. For larger groups, we created a version with 1 breakout that focused more on individual iterative work with a couple of worksheets. We kept iterating on the textile – merely realized there were some iterations we could make on the commitment, besides.
Uh-huh, oh yep, mmhmm
I’d been meaning to try out some new software, so after the first run with the 1-breakout version I added that new piece of kit into the mix.
Next fourth dimension out, I was zooming effectually the screen; dropping in GIFs; resizing things; irresolute the backgrounds on the wing; and even inserting a wacky commercial interruption affair halfway through. It added a whole new element to what we were doing.
The slice of kit enabling all this is called
mmhmm. You may have heard of it – it’s the latest product from AllTurtles, a studio run by Evernote founder Phil Libin.
In our well-nigh contempo 90 minute session we had a bunch of people enquire what gear we were using, and so here’s a cursory backside-the-scenes view.
Note: We are not affiliated with mmhmm, we just similar the production. No cheap sales tactics here at Wavetable.
Wavetable In:Session Express – featuring mmhmm
Howard’southward kit list for this workshop (originally circulate 9th June 2021)
2012 iMac (somehow still alive)
iPhone (with bendy arm bracket thing)
Sound Technica ATR2100 mic
Neewer green screen
Reincubate Camo Studio (phone and desktop apps)
– Information technology’s worth mentioning that mmhmm have a decent number of guides on how to setup for Zoom, so we won’t get into all the nuts and bolts in this post. Instead, this guide is intended to give you a quick and easy pace-by-step on how to get set upwardly using mmhmm to deliver an interactive workshop that works.
– Although there are a few tips on how to employ mmhmm finer, we don’t become into besides much on the ‘creative’ side of things. For more on that vibe, sign upward to the Wavetable newsletter 😉
When it comes to workshops, we ever advise to never start with the slides. Aforementioned goes for using new kit.
Our recommendation is to crank upwards mmhmm and just have a poke effectually. Don’t worry about refining your presentation or practicing transitions – instead, play with it a scrap.
There is a flake of prep before playtime though. Kickoff, yous’ll beginning want to gear up your photographic camera.
If you have a plain background in your room, mmhmm will practice a proficient job of knocking out the background so you appear to be sitting in a virtual space. Yet, for best results y’all’ll be wanting to apply a camera that’s better than the built-in estimator 1, ideally plus a green screen.
I typically use a Logitech Brio photographic camera, but recently started using my iPhone rigged upwardly with Reincubate Camo. The picture is much sharper and if you’re using the pro version of Camo you can do all kinds of whizzy stuff with the lens. Most webcams should work pretty well though.
Note: In this post I’thou using my Logitech with no light-green screen so you lot tin can go a feel for the quality without having to invest in extra stuff.
Every bit for the green screen, I used a Neewer one (I had to get the new 7ft version – all the others were 6ft tall, and at 6ft 6 I didn’t want to be permanently squatting). Play around with the green screen threshold level until you get a nice clean output.
Once you’ve got your camera fix upwardly, try a few Rooms. These are effectively virtual backgrounds. mmhmm comes with a bunch pre-loaded, and you can also upload your own. I must confess I let out a yelp of delight when I dragged in an animated GIF and it worked perfectly get-go fourth dimension.
You may be thinking this is a little passé – Zoom and Teams practice virtual backgrounds, right? What’south different is Mmhmm Rooms can accommodate different slide and presenter layouts, and you lot can also easily switch rooms at any point when you’re alive.
So, Rooms are cool, but allow’s be honest – Presenter fashion is where the activity really is.
The most obvious presenter tools are fading and sizing. You tin fade yourself in and out, resize yourself within the frame, or both. Mmhmm besides lets you create a frame around yourself – which tin can be nice if you want to have a make clean, crisp circle to sit yourself in. These tools are really useful when working effectually content you’re delivering.
Speaking of content, if y’all desire to highlight something then mmhmm has a drawing tool that’ll let you sketch on pinnacle of the screen. Zoom has one of these built in but it’south awkward to get, and because with mmhmm you’re effectively playing in simply 1 screen it tends to be a petty easier to utilise.
The Anchor tool is also worth getting familiar with. If you use the resizing tools, especially when presenting live, it can exist easy to find yourself in a position that isn’t helpful to the audience (e.g. blocking important information). The Anchor buttons pop you direct dorsum a corner of the screen, while maintaining the current sizing.
There are as well diverse effects you lot can play with. I used a couple of these in our session, simply would suggest using them sparingly – they can exist distracting and borderline annoying if you employ them too much.
To help get familiar, choose a elementary story: either your own or a favorite from others – kids’ stories are fertile ground here. Utilise some of the Room and Presenter controls to augment it. Will you lot fade out every bit y’all change the room? How about resizing to full screen at a moment of tension?
Yes, this will feel incredibly stupid, just it’s a great way to go comfortable with mmhmm.
ii. Slide setup
Ok – slide fourth dimension!
I gotta be honest. I’m a creature of habit. Although I’ve poked Canva, Projector, Pitch (plus a year or two on Keynote), I’m nonetheless on Google Slides for most decks I create.
We can spend a ton of fourth dimension getting into slide best practices, but for this postal service, I’m going to assume you take your slides ready to roll.
You tin use mmhmm’s in-built slide cosmos tool, but this time nosotros’re going to work with the Import function.
To practice this, export your slides as a PDF. Mmhmm allows for Keynote and Powerpoint files, but the formatting can exist a flake wobbly, so I prefer PDF (for at present at least). All I did was export my Google Slides to PDF, then import them to mmhmm using the import function.
You’ll notice mmhmm has a few creation tools at the bottom left of the screen. You lot tin add Text, import images and GIFs via a GIPHY integration, import slides and even gear up upward a second camera if y’all’re that style inclined (in that location are potentially some fun employ cases here).
For this post we’re going to focus on importing slides. Select your file, and mmhmm volition create a new file, importing the slides into the timeline at the bottom of the screen.
Once that’due south done you lot tin resize the slides to the proportion you prefer, and too use the Off / Shoulder / Full option to modify if and how the slides display. This is a small-scale feature, merely really handy when you need to take the focus either on or off the content.
That’s actually information technology for this step – yous’ve got your presenter setup sorted, and the content is in identify – it’s time to bring it all together!
Permit’s start bringing everything together into a wonderful, action packed workshop extravaganza.
Now, in this example, because the file is a PDF the interactive $.25 in the slides won’t carry across. This isn’t reason to be lamentable, though: it’s a good opportunity to bring in other stuff like GIFs (as mentioned above). Y’all may also want to delete some slides that don’t serve every bit much of a purpose anymore.
It’southward worth taking your fourth dimension here as it’southward really easy to underestimate how long you lot’ll need to get everything rigged up and feeling smooth. I found I needed to edit and re-run my slides from Google a couple of times, and created a couple of fresh slides to aid communicate points more clearly.
Ane other picayune trick you may want to endeavor is mmhmm’south Record role. You can pre-record some bits of what you’re doing in your presentation and drop it in as a slide. A good example of this is setting the instructions for a Breakout Room. You can also have some fun having your ‘second self’ reference the first cocky that’s even so in the room (well, I would anyway).
Once you have things feeling expert, practice loosely running through the slide deck and nailing a couple of transitions – whether those are betwixt bits of content or changing the setup of the screen through resizing yourself, using the pointer, or other features. Information technology can also help to get a friend involved – either on a dummy run just using mmhmm, or in a fake live session… which is what we’re going to do next!
4. Going alive
Information technology’south time to launch! This guide focuses on Zoom – and the integration is surprisingly simple (note: mmhmm’southward website has some guides for how to use information technology with Teams and other video communication tools).
Here’s how to get started with Zoom for your workshop.
Outset upwards a new meeting in Zoom, and so change your camera. There should be one chosen ‘mmhmm camera’. (Note: Brand sure y’all practise this earlier continuing!)
Select it, and you’ll see your mmhmm layout. Sugariness!
Still, select one of your slides in mmhmm, and when you jump dorsum to Zoom you’ll see it’due south all weird. Yikes!
Fearfulness not, you won’t need to manually mirror every single one of your slides – mmhmm does information technology for you.
The logic behind this is that yous’re using mmhmm to nowadays something – i.e. you’ll be sharing your screen. In this case, you’ll be sharing your
Then, go ahead and try that out.
Hit ‘Share Screen’ and y’all’ll encounter ‘mmhmm photographic camera – SHARE THIS’. Squeamish and self-explanatory.
Select it, and you’ll run into your desktop once again, with the Zoom screen share controls sitting at the pinnacle.
(mm)hmm… did information technology work?
Y’all should exist able to tell by looking at the small window that gives a view of the attendees. On this you’ll be able to see a mirrored view of your own screen. Again, this tin can experience a chip foreign, but if all’due south well you can see the same stuff that’s on your mmhmm screen. This is what the residual of the Zoom attendees will be able to see (but mirrored correctly!).
Basically, if that small window that displays your view shows the stuff on your mmhmm screen, you’re skillful. Nice!
Ok, that’s the confusing bit out of the way.
To actually run your session, yous desire to use mmhmm as your principal tool. Think of Zoom primarily as the commitment mechanism (which to exist honest, is what it’s best at).
Yous’ll besides meet that the mmhmm presenter view is way meliorate than Google Slides and a fair bit better than Keynote too. It’s easy to see what’s coming next, and you have all the rooms and presenter furnishings at your fingertips.
Get comfy running through your deck with the Zoom screen share switched on – it’ll feel a fleck weird to beginning with, simply later a while it should brainstorm to feel pretty comfy.
To do this for real with your grouping, just follow the same steps! That’due south all there is to information technology.
5. Additional tips
Here are a few other quick tips that helped bring this detail session to life.
- In Zoom, display the chat in the main window, and so choose ‘Pop Out’ under the pointer at the tiptop left of the chat area. This will (surprise) pop out the chat. Drop information technology next to your mmhmm screen so you can proceed up (we had 300+ attendees and then the conversation was busy!
- When you want to focus on a particular point, or fifty-fifty hibernate something that’s come up as well early – make yourself big! Scale yourself upward and stick yourself in the center using the ballast tool. This is a good way of covering upwards mistakes in the slides also 🙂
- When you’re washed presenting material (e.1000. you lot’re entering a Q&A department), end sharing your screen, or at the very least turn your slides off. It tin be distracting to accept all the whizzy mmhmm stuff going on.
- If you’re unsure of your positioning or layout, take a quick look at the attendee view equally mentioned in Step 4
- If in doubt, go along it unproblematic. It’southward really easy to go excited by all the potential of new tools, but the terminal affair yous want to practice is lose people or turn them off with too many bells and whistles. It’s all-time to utilise the software every bit a tool, not allow it run the show and box you in.
Mmhmm is a actually absurd piece of kit. There are a few limitations (limited slide interactions, and information technology can be tricky to keep on tiptop of rooms, presenter setup and slides all at once), but it’south a wonderful tool to employ to elevate a live session.
There’southward plenty hither we oasis’t covered, and plenty in their roadmap as well – likely we’ll have a part 2 to this guide coming soon 😉
In the concurrently, we’d exist very curious to run across what you create. Go in touch – we’d love to hear from you!