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Old November 25th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #16
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Windows Media 9 Encoder is dying a well-deserved death, having been replaced by MS' Expression Encoder. With the latest release of Expression Encoder 4, there is now a freeware version.

However, WMV webcasting is mostly a special case these days, still in internal use in large enterprises that are tied to the MS platform and don't allow Flash. Don't get me wrong, WMV is a robust and superior webcast platform, but, the current de facto standard is Flash Video.

Adobe also has a freeware encoder for live Flash video, the Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder.

Best encoding rates and HDTV? You makes your best guess, you rolls your dice, you accept the results. How well do you know who your audience is? Their reliable download and your reliable upload bitrate determine what you can do. For a general audience, I figure the minimum broadband connection is 800Kbps down, allow a generous margin because a live stream is not like other internet content, that leaves a max of 500Kbps. Can you do SD, higher def, or HD in 500K? It really depends on how your content is shot and how much motion is in the content.

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Originally Posted by Ryan Douthit View Post
Wirecast doesn't work with Akamai...
I'm using Akamai as a CDN for live Wirecast frequently, it works just fine for me in WC 3.5 and 4. First backup in case of trouble is to create a broadcast settings file in FMLE, then open the resulting xml settings in Wirecast. 2nd backup would be to go to FMLE for the webcast. But, I sure like Wirecast!

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Originally Posted by Ryan Douthit View Post
...Additionally, even in DV mode, Wirecast required me to buy a HD license... which ended up not working. I spoke to their tech and the response was "oh well." The downside for that is then I have to run my A1Us in HD mode for any picture. But that mode doesn't support more than one input per HD bus. Fact is, if my camera is downsampling to DV, I shouldn't have needed an HD license, and it should have supported something as common as an A1U. The developer went back and forth a couple times with me but was ultimately unhelpful.

Looking at going with an external switch now, since Akamai support is more important to me than using any one specific piece of software.
That's not like my experience. I did quite a bit with DV before buying the HDV license.

Nothing wrong with an external video switcher, though. Unless you have multiple firewire cards, you're not going to get more than one, sometimes two, firewire sources to play nice. But, problems here are usually come from the operating system, not the webcasting application.

For an externally switched show, I highly recommend the freeware encoder for live Flash video, the Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder. It works fine, and if you have trouble, Akamai can supply a settings file for it.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #17
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"Device in Use" Error with Expression Encoder 4

I did a test today with Expression Encoder 4 running on a notebook with Windows 7 where I took the Sony PMW-EX3 firewire output to the computer but when I attempted to view the source, I got a "Device in Use" error. I understand from Microsoft's web site that this is a general failure error. Strangely, I can see the EX3 in the devices folder and EE4 shows the EX3 as a source.

On another notebook, running Windows XP, I ran Adobe's OnLocation and it had no trouble recognizing the EX3 signal. For a test, I downloaded and ran Flash Media Encoder on the same XP notebook, but it wouldn't recognize the EX3 at all.

Does anyone know if Expression Encoder 4 will accept the EX3 input or will the Pro version work? How about the Flash Media Encoder? Is there any way I can get the EX3 work with it?

I appreciate any help you can provide.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 12:47 AM   #18
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I'd love to test out the EX3, but haven't.

If it has an SD DV firewire output mode, that would be the first thing to get working with EE4.

After that, any HDV modes.

What sometimes happens is that Windows will assign a driver to a particular video device that isn't optimal for the application. This can be difficult to track down. DV drivers are much more standardized than any of the HD drivers.

Also, make sure that your EX3 is the only firewire device - cameras run a different protocol than than hard drives over firewire, and don't like to share with drives or other cams.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 07:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan McInnes View Post
I did a test today with Expression Encoder 4 running on a notebook with Windows 7 where I took the Sony PMW-EX3 firewire output to the computer but when I attempted to view the source, I got a "Device in Use" error. I understand from Microsoft's web site that this is a general failure error. Strangely, I can see the EX3 in the devices folder and EE4 shows the EX3 as a source.

On another notebook, running Windows XP, I ran Adobe's OnLocation and it had no trouble recognizing the EX3 signal. For a test, I downloaded and ran Flash Media Encoder on the same XP notebook, but it wouldn't recognize the EX3 at all.

Does anyone know if Expression Encoder 4 will accept the EX3 input or will the Pro version work? How about the Flash Media Encoder? Is there any way I can get the EX3 work with it?

I appreciate any help you can provide.
Did you have the EX3 in 1080x1440 video mode? The firewire port only works when the camera is set to a HDV compatible mode. You will get NO data out the firewire port if the camera is set to one of the XDCam modes.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 06:42 PM   #20
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Progress with Windows Media Encoder 9 but no EX3

Today I installed Windows Media Encoder 9 and started again. The notebook recognizes the EX3 and even shows it in the Source drop down, but no video. A prompt says it doesn't recognize the video output. With help from the Streaming company I was able to get a DV cam to work with the same firewire so I can at least stream 640x360 at 800k and stereo audio. It looks good, but I sure would like to get the EX3 working.

Seth: Thanks for the suggestions about drivers. Is there such a thing as an EX3 driver? Because both EE4 and WME9 recognized the EX3 I assumed that it had the right driver.

Chris: I've put the camera in SP1080 24 which is one of the three modes that can be output by Firewire. I tested the output on my other notebook with Adobe OnLocation and the video comes through just fine.

At this point I am suspecting that neither EE4 or WME9 can handle the EX3 output.
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Old December 1st, 2010, 07:16 PM   #21
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I suspect the EX3 has some sort of strange FW protocol - I've used a host of camcorders with WinMedia Encoder on XP, with no problems. I'm not sure you can use it with HD though. Does the EX3 downconvert to SD for the FW output? Most of the cameras I used were Sony...
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 10:41 AM   #22
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Have a look at this comparison of EE4 vs. EE4 Pro features.

The freeware version does not support MPEG2 input formats. That probably means that any HD or HDV modes of the EX3 are not supported. It may be worth downloading the trial version of Expression Studio 4 Web Pro to see what it does with your EX3.

The docs seem to indicate that standard def DV over firewire would work with the freeware EE4.
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Last edited by Seth Bloombaum; December 2nd, 2010 at 11:27 AM.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 05:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan McInnes View Post
I'm a total neophyte at video streaming. I have a company that does video streaming that is offering to provide us the service for free, but I'm ignorant about the encoding process. I have a Sony EX3 that has firewire out which I can send to a PC, but what is the solution then? Do I use Windows Media Encoder? Has anyone had experience with it? What are the best encoding rates to use? Is anyone streaming HDTV?
There are two free video encoders that I've used for webcasts: Windows Media Encoder and Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder. With these programs, you have your camera attached (fire wire will work, or you can hook a camera into an osprey card or something). You set up your stream to be a certain bandwidth and size. We usually did something like 640x360 @ 755kb/s. (700kb/s video 55kb/s audio). Our upload speed tests were usually around 1.5mb/s so we didn't want to press our luck. Just remember that you have to stream in square pixels...so 720x408 or 640x360 or 480x272...etc etc. You fill in the server you're uploading to (pushing the stream) and start encoding.

I prefer Windows media encoder only because you can "build a show" by creating video sources in addition to your main live source. (If you have your camera hooked up via firewire, for example, your camera can be set up as the "live" source, both audio and video. If you wanted to run a video clip in your show you could create an avi or wmv or whatever and play it, and then set the clip to "roll back to first" source. So it would execute the video and roll back to live. You can even set a video up to play the video while having the audio continue from the live source (like a voice over). So many things for a free program!!!

We used to do soccer broadcasts and would have a 15 minute halftime "show" which would consist of bumpers, a commercial spot, interviews, highlight reels from previous games, an ad for the next match, then a bumper then back to live as halftime ended. It was nice to be able to automate it.

The trick is having somewhere to upload your stream to so others can connect. If you have a company providing bandwidth, you're golden.

JR
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