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Old July 8th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #1
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LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

I feel like the ability to stream events live over the internet is about to kick our industry up a notch.
Soon more and more people are going to be requesting it. With that said, here is my workflow that I'll share here. If it helps anybody great, if others see how I can improve upon it without spending to much $, please share :)


My LiveStreaming workflow:

I have 3 HD Sony NX5U cameras, which I connect to my SD switcher via composite chords. I purchased the switcher on ebay for $350.

From the switcher I go out via a composite chord to a SD firewire enabled camera which I then plug that firewire into my:

MacBook Pro3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 8gb memory 1067 Mhz DDR3 laptop. From there to get online to the net I am using LiveStream.com ,

I am looking to purchase this plan from LiveStream.com per month.

https://secure.livestream.com/myacco...n?type=buyplan

Does this work flow seem legitimate to you guys? I can’t afford an HD switcher, I am okay with broadcasting SD for now to save on the expense until I grow into that space.


I understand I should be looking for upload speeds of at least 2mbps with a fixed line at the location. Assuming I get that at the location, does this seem like a legitimate setup?

Also I hear people talking about quicktime Broadcaster. Would that take the place of using LiveStream?

Last edited by Charles Grinbaum; July 8th, 2011 at 07:45 PM. Reason: Wanted to clarify last two sentences.
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Old July 10th, 2011, 12:13 AM   #2
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

Quote:
I feel like the ability to stream events live over the internet is about to kick our industry up a notch.
Soon more and more people are going to be requesting it.
I've felt the same way since late 1996. Hasn't happened. You need excited clients, not an excited industry! Sorry if this seems harsh, but a paying client in the hand is worth 20 in the bush. Don't get me wrong - there is webcasting work out there, but it needs to be acquired the old-fashioned way, one client at a time.

On the equipment, if you're able to go s-video instead of composite you'll be a little happier with the picture quality. The NX5 looks like a great camera, but SD-composite leaves a lot to be desired! Hopefully this is a good switcher you got...

Seems like most most webcasts are one or two cameras... do you have an intercom system to talk with your camera ops (if any?). Or does going with 3 allow you to lock down the shots?

Your mac oughta' be fine with SD encoding, but is getting a little old... gotta' say, the i7 processor is really the schizz for webcast encoding, head and shoulders above almost anything that came before, maybe excepting two-processor xeon systems, its probably only a head above dual-xeon. Webcast encoding is all about the processor...

The trend is towards digital from camera to encoder. For multicam, this would be done with multiple capture cards, such as HDMI, SDI, etc. About the only thing going for digital into a laptop is direct Firewire or the BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle (USB3). I've not been down that road yet, but I do use and like the Intensity PCI.

Digital from cam to encoder means higher quality, of course, but is SD composite or s-video good enough? Mostly yes. Good lighting helps. Avoid camera gain - gain noise, even when imperceptible, kills encoder picture quality fast.

Digital in also usually means software video switching in the computer. Check out Telestream Wirecast, if you haven't already. One thing to think about - what are you going to show viewers before and after the good live content? During an intermission? How will you put up lower-third titles? Buffers, lead-ins, donuts... a product like Wirecast can give you everything from standby slides to roll-ins to title supers.

IMHO you don't need 2Mbps for SD. Consider that "broadband" means as little as 800Kbps down for many DSL customers. With a little work and good lighting you can get SD looking good at 800K. You might still want 2M upload speed from the origination point... and, depending on your audience, you might go as high as perhaps 1.2Mbps.

Don't know anything about the livestream plan. If you're going to push that volume, great. If not, it's a lot of money! Live video stream hosting is finally starting to get competitive, and there are lots of hosts out there.

I hear people talking about Flash VP8, Flash h.264, and HTML5.
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Old July 10th, 2011, 07:28 AM   #3
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

People have inquired about this at some events I am at and I just can not justify it financially, nor am I in favor of it. Seems to me people just want to say they want to watch it live on the internet. But imho, the viewing experience would be such a notch down from TV that folks would lose interest fast.

To make it closer to TV with lower thirds and broadcasters would be even more finacially impossible.

I try to get them to see that DVD or Blu-ray is much better viewing experience. But the draw of i-phone is pretty hard to compete with...
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Old July 10th, 2011, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

In my experience, there's very little demand for streaming live events. If the event is 'big' enough - then it is broadcast. We offer streaming at the station where I work - most of the cities employ it - streaming online meetings, civic events, graduations - that sort of thing. We can track the number of people watching - and it is not really a big audience. I know a few wedding videographers offer it as a package deal - family who can't attend can watch it live - but they only do one or two a year. It's the sort of niche product the 'video teleconferencing' fulfills just fine.

Not saying you can't sell the concept - just saying the market is small.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 02:54 PM   #5
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

As someone that DOES live streaming regularly, I can tell you I wouldn't even consider a software only solution on anything even REMOTELY critical due to the liabilities issues.

We use Sonic Foundry's MediaSite system and my webcasting client has access to a university's servers for streaming. We have successfully streamed more than 3000 concurrent viewers at 350 kbps for video and audio with a second data stream for VGA capture.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #6
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
As someone that DOES live streaming regularly, I can tell you I wouldn't even consider a software only solution on anything even REMOTELY critical due to the liabilities issues.
Are you using one of the dedicated hardware appliances for the encode?

I too do regular live webcasting work, and have been using software encoders from the beginning. Everybody I know does as well, for reasons of cost and flexibility. I could see going hardware in an enterprise with a defined audience.

If it matters, (it usually does), I always have a second box as a backup encoder. Twice, I think, in the past 14 years I've had to use the backup. I think the risk is equal; sw encoder vs. sw switcher/encoder, and the benefits are many. Yes, there is risk in using a computer for on-the-air work, but don't you have equal risk with Mediasite?
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Old July 17th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

I agree, I think that this is going to be an emerging area. I've started to do a lot of research on the topic and am starting to pitch it to clients. I've had a good response so far. I'm going to go with Telestream's Wirecast because it can simultaneously stream to Ustream, Livestream, and several other sites. Before you sign up for a service, be sure to shop around to get the minutes and features that you need.

Right now I"m going to stick with 1 SD camera and see how that goes, although I would like to beef it up to 2 or 3 cameras at some point.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 01:59 PM   #8
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

Seth: yes, integrated hardware/software solution.

What I like about it is that it is an optimized box with optimized hardware encoders. We have had the user interface (SilverLight based) crash and the stream/recording stays up and live. Seems more mission critical TO ME... of course, what ever works for you. Glad to hear you have a backup in place though... I can't imagine how little sleep I would get if I didn't have a "worst case scenario" fall back...
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Old July 19th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #9
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Re: LiveStream Workflow. Does this seem legit??

We've been streaming events for a number of years. I stream sports, graduations and other events like guest speakers. Although the numbers aren't broadcast numbers, I regularly get 150+ with our largest event, basketball, coming in at 3000+. For graduations it has been a big hit, especially for families of international students and just recently a mother who is hospitalized and wasn't able to make her son's HS graduation. Although I use a Tricaster for my production and streaming, I would also back looking at the Wirecast system. It has a lot of basic production capability for a good price. One thing I recently read on another forum was a guy says he takes SDI in on a BMD decklink card and has been able to make it work with Skype. I find that interesting. My university is part of the Horizon League and they make a deal with UStream for all streaming, which has worked out well. For non-sports related streaming we have a deal with Televue for windows media streaming and use our own QuickTime server for QT.
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