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Old May 5th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #1
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Live video streaming - help needed

I've been asked to arrange some live video streaming - and I'd really appreciate the thoughts of those who have some experience of 'broadcasting' live.
It involves filming interviewees live for a foreign broadcaster and they're happy to receive this content via the internet.
I could probably use a mobile phone to feed the questions into the ear of the interviewee...but I'm particularly interested in how to stream the material. I'll be using a Sony Z1 and because it will be on location, I'd like to use either a wireless or mobile internet connection.
Ustream Producer could be one way forward - anyone any experience of this or other services?
Maybe you've done something like this for a TV news affiliate - or are involved in the live streaming of events or church services etc.
....and naturally I'm looking at a low-cost solution - I can't afford a full-blown outside broadcast set-up!
Thanks, Sean
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Old May 29th, 2011, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: Live video streaming - help needed

Ive actually been playing around with this same idea. My church asked me to figure out how to Stream live video over the internet and i came across a web site called Ustream. you can set up an account for free and play with it in standard def......They sell a software im looking at for $300 (one time fee) that allows you to use multiple cameras along with a ton of other features including HD. They also have a Mobile app i know at-least with the iphone you can broadcast right off the phone (looks like crap but does the job)
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Old May 30th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #3
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Re: Live video streaming - help needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Walsh View Post
...I'll be using a Sony Z1 and because it will be on location, I'd like to use either a wireless or mobile internet connection...
....and naturally I'm looking at a low-cost solution - I can't afford a full-blown outside broadcast set-up
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Miller View Post
...(ustream) also have a Mobile app i know at-least with the iphone you can broadcast right off the phone (looks like crap but does the job)
In my experience wireless and mobile don't work too well for stream origination, but then, if looking like crap is ok, then they're just fine. In this case, "crap" means substantial macroblocking (aka pixellation) errors, and numerous frame drops (aka stuttering). Perhaps occasional disconnects?

Sean doesn't make clear whether the goal is a point-to-point solution for the foreign broadcaster, or, to put the stream online for multiple users. This is pretty important info in developing a solution. If p-to-p, and cost is a primary consideration, Skype video can be as good as anything else.

For an actual webcast, there's nothing wrong with ustream if branding, security, and control of content aren't important.

I do have a hard time understanding how looking like crap can get the job done. I always insist on a good quality ethernet lan connection,and frequently go out to test such connections. But then, clients pay for all that.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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Re: Live video streaming - help needed

To quote Seth:
'I do have a hard time understanding how looking like crap can get the job done.'

I agree that quality is important - but I guess in a breaking news environment editorial quality often trumps picture quality.

The latest coverage from Libya supports this - with SKY News scoring a major victory over the BBC:

Sky News in the frontline as Libyan rebels advance | Media | guardian.co.uk

To quote the article:

'Footage from cameramen Jim Foster and Garwen McLuckie was beamed live via an Apple MacBook Pro, connected to a BGAN mini-satellite dish, while the whole setup was powered via a charger attached to their pick-up truck's cigarette lighter socket.

In the back of the vehicle, Andy Marsh, the producer, sat holding the satellite dish and a compass, constantly readjusting the dish to track the satellite above.'

Pretty-much a Heath-Robinson affair. I watched some of the coverage and the pictures were both terrible and brilliant at the same time.

Horses for courses as the saying goes. There are many reasons for working hard to achieve the very best picture quality - but I guess breaking international news is the big exception.

....to haul us back on topic - I am now thinking about the possibility of using a reflective backcloth and a Datavideo keyer (DVK-100 or DVK-200) with a Z1 and an EX3 - and feeding via Skype.

If anyone has any experience in any of these areas I'd be very interested to hear their experiences.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Re: Live video streaming - help needed

I'll most definitely agree with Sean that exclusive coverage of breaking news justifies a lot. There's a time and place for cell-phone video, too... or, put another way, communication value can trump production value.

Lots of war coverage has depended on sat-phone technology - I think it's about a 128Kbps datarate? I've not really looked at it for years. 128Kbps isn't much, but, you can do it with batteries and no local infrastructure at all.

***************************************
Reflective backdrop as in one of the beaded glass screens in conjunction with a green LED ringlight on the lens? I've only ever used that chromakey system once, and didn't take the time to fine-tune it. OTOH, I've done lots of conventional green-screen work. Conventional gets better as you increase the subject-to-screen distance. The Reflec media seems to allow you to work very short subject-to-screen distances.

Does it work with two cameras? That are looking at the subject/screen from different directions? I don't know.

Skype video is rather amazingly good for what it is. I'm hoping you're going to do any greenscreen compositing before hitting skype? I've learned the hard way that content that demands color precision in and lossy internet codecs don't mix too well...
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