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How to Draw and Annotate on Live Videos in Real-Time

Published On December 07, 2021 -   by

The digital world has caused a massive shift in the way we communicate with each other. Covid-19 has pushed the envelope even further. Teachers around the world now conduct online classes for their students and live streamers are finding unique ways of promoting brands. In both these cases, and many more, live video annotation has become a common feature. 

Thank about it for a moment. Teachers who are holding an online class need ways to present their lessons to students. Being able to draw on the screen in real-time makes it much easier to get their point across. What used to be a medium used by artists has grown so much that it’s transitioned into other realms. 

Let us take a look at a 4-step process using which you can annotate live videos easily. 

How to Draw and Annotate Live Videos in Real-Time

The overall goal is to keep this process as simple as possible. Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and the tools required to annotate videos are easily accessible. 

Step 1: Get the Right Camera and Drawing Tablet

A webcam works for this setup and most people have access to one so it’s a great starting point.

Unfortunately, most built-in webcams are not going to cut it. You need something that offers at least 720p resolution. Anything less will not have the quality to take advantage of video annotation. So you may consider investing in a DSLR instead. 

The other piece of hardware you will need is a drawing tablet. You can use an iPad along with a drawing pencil or any other tablet of your choice. 

Without over-complicating the choice, responsiveness is the most important feature for those looking to annotate live videos. Responsiveness is determined by specs like CPU, GPU, and RAM – so make sure to pay attention to these when selecting the hardware tools. 

Step 2: Set up Compositing

Compositing is the process used to overlay the live video stream with a drawing tablet. I’m sure you’ve seen the weatherman on television draw on the map or a sports broadcaster circle players during replays. You’ll be doing the same thing with your live streams. 

Simply put, your drawing tablet will be imposed with a green screen and layered over the video stream. That way, the only time objects are shown on the video is when you draw them on the tablet. 

This is done through compositing software, which we’ll describe in more detail in the next step. 

Step 3: Get OBS Studio

While there are a lot of software choices available, the best is OBS Studio. What makes it even better is that this software is free! It also works perfectly with either Windows or Mac. If that’s not enough, OBS software has built-in tools for live streaming. 

Once you have installed OBS Studio, it runs you through an auto-configuration wizard. It will automatically detect your system and then apply the best settings. If you’re new to annotation live video streaming, then this setup is highly recommended. You can always tweak it later.  

Step 4: Get a Screen Mirroring App

A screen mirroring app does just as the name implies – it mirrors the screen of your drawing tablet and transfers it to your computer. So all you have to do is connect your tablet and computer using either Wi-Fi or a USB cable. 

This projection will be a replica of your tablet screen and will instantly reproduce all movement. 

The top mirroring apps do require a slight investment. Although many of them are free for personal use, most of the good features are locked behind a paywall so it’s recommended that you invest. 


Annotating live videos is a powerful tool for engaging your audience, whether you’re a teacher looking to create engaging lessons or an artist looking to entertain your audience, or an influencer looking to showcase the features of products you review. In the past, this was an expensive and complex process to set up. But technological advancements have made it accessible to everyone. 

If you still need help with annotation live video streaming or video editing services for posting your finalized videos on YouTube, contact DataEntryOutsourced.


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