Zoom: love it and hate it. A year into the pandemic, and we’re all experts in how to get to Zoom gatherings for both work and play, and Zoom has been a lifeline to normalcy. And one year later, many of us have also experienced the realness of Zoom fatigue.
here at bande we believe that Zoom is a decent way to take a fitness class, but not our ultimate aspiration for a true a community-building platform. Zoom is designed for workplace meetings, and fitness classes are different.
Over the past 8 months, the product development team has been working to build our own live stream service -- bande Live -- an experience that amps up the sense of connection and fun that home-based studio fitness can provide.
So, next time you join class, you might notice the join class link takes you to a new destination. The product team has been slowly rolling out bande Live in a limited release to test stability and gather feedback on how we’re doing.
If you're lucky to land in a bande Live hosted class, below is a sneak peek of what to expect. Even better, please join us in one of several free bande Technology Open House events to experience bande Live yourself, and get more tips on how to better optimize your in-home studio experience.
Set up your class.
bande Live plays in a web browser, and -- great news -- does not require you to download a special application. We've found that bande Live performs best in a Chrome browser, so we recommend using this browser for class; though it will launch in Safari and Firefox as well.
The first time you land in a bande Live class, you'll be asked to allow bande to access your microphone and camera to be shared to your browser. Be sure to click "Allow" on these popups.
Next, you will be taken to a screen where you can choose which video and audio source to use in class. Be sure you choose an active camera and audio source so your experience is optimal. For instance, if you are using an external bluetooth speaker or a webcam, you will want to be sure this is selected in the pane.
Your connections get a front row seat.
You’ll notice that your bande connections will be giving a prime spot onscreen. As a reminder, connections are friends or people you have formed a 2-way link with on the platform.
Your connections are already pinned on the screen at the right, and when you move your mouse, everyone appears.
You can pin additional people if you want to see more by clicking on the pin icon.
Choose gallery, participant, or instructor view.
Just like in Zoom, can choose your view for class, with a few enhancements! If you want to see a gallery view, you can switch views using the icons in the bottom right of the screen.
And if you just want to focus on the instructor and remove distractions, you can click to instructor view (rectangle + small square).
Whisper with a friend.
Missing being on a reformer next to a friend in a brick-and-mortar class so you can chat in between reps? Another fun social feature in bande Live is a way to have a private back-channel audio conversation, which is even better.
We call this feature Whisper. To initiate a convo, just find someone in class on the list, and invite them to whisper. If they accept, you’ll be able to talk via a private channel that no one else can hear. The audio is overlayed against the instructor and music tracks.
Chat and all that.
Finally, you’ll see some of the familiar controls you might expect to see on any videoconferencing tool – there's text chat in the lower left, video, and full screen mode. You can chat to the class, or to anyone, including the instructor, privately.
General audio controls (mute, unmute) are in the bottom center.
The fine print.
bande Live works in a browser on desktop, mobile and tablet computers (in landscape view).
Here are a few more tips to amplify your experience:
- You may want to minimize some of these auxilliary panels in class (class roster, chat, participant panels) to be sure you have screen real estate to view the instructor.
- Close any extraneous tabs on your browser and shut down any network heavy applications.
- Use an ethernet cable if possible, or a fast wi-fi connection.
As always, reach out to our friendly customer service rep using the large aqua Help/Live Chat icon if you need ANY support before or during class!
And even more innovations ahead.
We're so excited to bring you lots of new exciting advancements in bande Live experience. Some things on the roadmap:
- Audio and video amplification
- Whisper audio enhancements
- A way to invite your friends and connections to a private post-class Hangout that launches right from class
As always, the team and I love to hear from you about your product experience: ideas, candid feedback, questions or suggestions. Just shoot us an email, anytime!