Setting Up Your Layers in Wirecast

Arranging Your Layers

When streaming with Wirecast, the layers that make up your main shot list are extremely important.  I like to think of them as individual televisions stacked on top of each other.  If they are all playing at once, I can hear the audio from all of them, but I can only see what is on the top.  While this set up can be a bit confusing at first, it allows for some great customization.  You can have your live shot playing and check to make sure your preview shot is working well, all while monitoring additional pictures, media and camera feeds on lower layers.

We have a nice system here at Telestream that incorporates everything we need into a well organized and easily manageable setup. Let’s see how we do it.

Layer One

Layer one can be described as the most important layer, not because it has the most important content, but because it will never be obscured by anything else in your main shot list.  Whatever you put here will always be “on top” of everything else.  What do we put here? Our logo!!  A nice, semi-transparent logo in one of the corners that can stay throughout your stream is an indispensable addition to any live broadcast.


Layer Two

Now that your first layer has your show/company logo, think what else you might need on top of all other footage….your name of course!  Depending on how many people, or segments, you may have during your live stream, you will need at least one, and sometimes multiple, lower thirds.  Prefabricating the lower thirds, and housing them in layer two will allow you to always have a quick and easy way to overlay some necessary information!


Layer Three

Layer three is where Wirecast really shines.  Live video is what makes your broadcast so awesome, and this is the layer we use to add all of our camera shots.  Whether you are running a single webcam, or multiple SDI camera feeds, as long as you have them in layer three with some overlays in the top two layers, your show will look awesome.


Layer Four

This layer can be overlooked if you don’t find yourself running extra media, but if you do, put it here.  Pictures, videos, animations…whatever you might need to supplement your camera feeds has its place here.  The layers at this point aren’t the most sensitive. If you put your cameras below your extra media, you probably won’t encounter much of a problem, but it is nice to have the “less important” parts of your broadcast toward the bottom.


Layer Five

At the bottom of your main shot list is audio.  In direct opposition to what I just said about “lesser” media going toward the bottom, audio is arguably one of the most important parts of your broadcast.  Let’s go back to the stacked television/layers analogy.  While the top television is the only one we can see, we can hear all of them because the audio cannot be blocked.  By putting your audio inputs at the bottom, they will filter “up” through your camera feed and media and be a constant in your broadcast. **Just make sure you stay on top of which audio you have live!!**


The Final Product

One of the best parts of Wirecast is its ability to be customized in any way.  Want to change up the layer sequence? Go ahead! Want to put all of your shots on one layer? If you can make it work, go for it!  We like this tried and true method, but there is no perfect way of setting up your broadcast.  Once you dial in what works for you, save it as a Wirecast document, and use it forever!

Do you have a system you like better? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Craig Seeman

    When interviewing guests I keep my own mic on the Master Layer 5. I composite Guest audio to the camera shots on Master Layer 3 composited in the Shot Editor.

    This allows my to cut in my mic only even when the guest in in a solo shot, if I need to jump in with a question or comment.

    • Nick C.

      Question, not sure if I have been doing this wrong or not. But I am using WC Pro 6, I have a live mic coming in as well as recorded audio from video clip. What I want to do is be able to keep the clip audio able to be heard in the studio (coming out of the broadcast machine speakers) but not the live mic because it is feeding back on the studio speakers? Any idea on this, would the layers help in some way? Any info would be great….

  2. Justplayin

    Can anyone provide me with information for live streaming with google hangouts through You Tube? Any information would be awesome…..I can’t get my panel members to show up through Wirecast and it only shows me. I need some input on what to do here. Thanks.

  3. Not sure if you guys monitor these comments, but is there a way to save “scenes” so I can quickly switch during a live broadcast?

    E.g. I have my opening scene, my show scene, and my closing credits scene. Each one uses different music and titles on their respective layers. Right now I have to remember to clear layers and choose the right titles, etc. I’d like to set them up in advance and then easily switch to my pre-prepared set of layers in my preview.

    • Joel Ratzlaff

      If said scenes are saved as video clips you should be able to put them on the appropriate layer and then just send them live when you are ready for them. If you are going to use a live video feed you should just set it up in the preview window when you are ready switch what you need for said scene. Use the preview window to set it up ahead of time though.

      • Would love to hear if anyone has had issues with doing this. I’m using Wirecast 7 and have video clips on appropriate layers and they work when I preview them, but during a live broadcast, sometimes they work and other times, the do nothing when you try to push them live. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

        • Hi Christian,
          Make sure you don’t have something on a higher layer active that would obscure the item on the layer you want to be active. I make that mistake sometimes… I’ll have a graphic up on layer 2, and then go to make something live on layer 3, and nothing shows up… then I realize, it is live, it’s just hidden behind the graphic on layer 2! But if your issue is not a ‘user error’ type of issue, notice when it happens, and see if you can isolate and reproduce it and contact support so we can report that to our engineering department.

  4. Isaac Dominguez

    I have a question, there is a clear layer shot from the start. I accidentally deleted that by pressing Ctrl – Backspace. Ctrl-Z doesnt bring it back, so i was wondering if there was any other way to add a clear layer shot

  5. Underground in London

    Is there any way of using a line in audio to pc and only have that audio play – I have back ground videos on another layer but do not want the video audio to play ! I turn down each video audio on the mixer in wirecast but each time they go live the audio comes back on – really annoying ! This for a Dj application – I have 3 webcams which are fine and layered on top of back ground videos which I have 4 on timed rotation but each time a new one triggers the audio goes back up! Tia

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