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Hardware, software, technique and workflow for live video streaming.


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Old January 12th, 2017, 04:46 PM   #16
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Great Roger

My only issue with the vMix $66 HD version sadly is you only have 4 inputs..not cameras but total inputs. So if you need to control audio from each camera ...that's already 6 inputs needed for 3 cameras. In vMix you also sadly need an input for each graphic you want to use so in my opinion the 4 input version is simply only any use for a single camera and very basic use. The "1000" input version is really the only practical one even for a simple setup ..I still wonder why 1000 ..It would be awesome if vMix had a 25 input version that would be so much more practical for the small guy ... So have you checked out prices yet on a HDMI wireless system that would go into a HDMI to USB converter? Does it come out cheaper than a camera mounter encoder? Our local electronics shop seems to have quite a few units that allow you to connect any HDMI source and send it all over your house to another TV set so something like that (with an added HDMI/USB unit at the end should work.

I'm looking at Magewell stuff too ...my mate in Hungary is using these and says they are half the price of other encoders and converters so maybe worth some research?
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Old January 13th, 2017, 03:41 AM   #17
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Just a thought guys that maybe you are getting way too technical on the camera side? We did a two cam shoot of a 75th Birthday Party using just a Logitech C920 and a Logitech C930e and the results we pretty impressive ..they output 1080P video but for us the built in stereo mics sucked so we had our own mic system running directly into the vision mixer.

OK the cameras are not $4000 pro-cams by any means but they do give out a decent image even in low light.. they are cheap to buy and most importantly they connect directly into the computer and you can also use action extension cables to get them closer to a stage or performance! I see no reason why one couldn't do a dance recital or play using these?? Livestream sell the MEVO which is basically a wireless webcam but cost $800 here .... It certainly would avoid issues with USB/HDMI converter boxes???
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Old January 13th, 2017, 04:17 AM   #18
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Chris,

I'm only playing with Vmix at the moment, so will check with the company exactly what is possible with the $66 version. The free version is brilliant, but quite possibly to suck you into buying the much more expensive licenses.

I've been looking at HD webcams but the problem there is that for the schools and theatres, it would be impossible to get the cameras close enough to be effective as we always have to film from the back. There is just no space nearer the front. Mevo is a brilliant idea, but the examples I have seen are not good when the camera is more than a few feet away. A good tool for situations when you can set up reasonably close though, like at the front of a wedding.

Video senders are a possible direction for remote transmission back to the switcher, but many are very poor quality and short range. Lots of research still to do.

I think that what you are doing is a simple approach to streaming which opens up a whole new market that you are obviously enjoying and is totally different from the conventional wedding style. I think that I am reluctant to go down a route that employs webcams with all their limitations or the alternatives of bringing together various bits of cobbled together gear, or of course spending out a lot of money for more professional equipment. We are talking here of going from sophisticated larger sensor video cameras, back to lower level consumer tech that I am not comfortable with. However, I can see taking a similar route as you just to test the market for something completely different and just see what happens :-)

Roger
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Old January 13th, 2017, 06:21 AM   #19
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Roger

Yes you are right with webcams ..like Mevo they die a sad death if you put them at the back as they have no optical zoom ( The PZT pro models are good but cost $1800 so might as well use the cams we have plus a broadcaster) I have only worked with them close up .... I would have thought that with the tiny footprint (mine are on a lighting stand and would be easy to put on the side of the stage without becoming an obstacle to players or parents) but you know your layout and I accept that if you cannot put them up front then that is that and the only option would be a camera (like the FZ1000) that has good low light and an optical zoom.

If the market does exist then the easiest connection method really is a Broadcaster Pro but then you have to use Studio to mix ..I don't think vMix will find the Broadcaster's wireless signal BUT I might be wrong!!!

I really don't mind spending money IF I'm going to get a return but ATM you are just playing with ideas so your hesitation is justified. I have 6 brides so far that have booked a live wedding so at least I know my investment is covered!!

Do you have the trial vMix or the free one? The trial one is a full blown version, does HD but expires in 60 days (that's what I'm using) The free version doesn't expire ever but will only stream SD video.

Good luck on your investigations and keep us updated!!
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Old January 13th, 2017, 11:59 AM   #20
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Chris,

I'm using the trial version of Vmix and learning a lot from it. One of the things that I have enjoyed is playing with the virtual studios and that has opened up some ideas to follow. I experimented today with making my own virtual studios and scenarios using photographs in Photoshop. I found that I could cut out parts of a photo like a desk then saving it as a seperate pic. That can then be loaded into my video timeline, and some green screen footage chroma keyed and scaled behind the dropped in desk. I then saved it to MP4 and putting it back onto the timeline allowed the whole moving footage to be zoomed and panned. I was so pleased with the results that I am now experimenting with building something more sophisticated in Google Sketchup.

The idea is that with a saved virtual studio or scene, it would make a great starting point for a live broadcast or interview scenario. It also opens up new possibilities for different marketing directions.

Roger
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Old January 13th, 2017, 06:36 PM   #21
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Brilliant!! Just remember the trial version is the full version with all the bells and whistles so just be careful you are not disappointed if you switch to the $66 version if you decided to use the software and a lot of stuff is missing.

Yeah the virtual studios are awesome .... I had a whole bunch of virtual studios a few years ago so I must really look for them (must be on a DVD somewhere) Happy to share if I find them.... the nice thing about sets is that you can turn your office into a plush studio and have a video shot that suggests the talent is elsewhere. Might be a market in doing virtual presentations live ..who knows?
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Old January 14th, 2017, 04:03 AM   #22
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Chris,

I realize that the $66 dollar version of VMix will be severely cut down, but playing with the trial version gives me a better overall idea of what I would like to be able do before making any decisions. lIt has at least taught me that I don't need Vmix to create virtual studios, being able to do it all separately and importing later. Of course the other side of the coin is that the more expensive versions of Vmix are actually a lot more flexible than the equivalently priced hardware switchers, so could be a good investment if we expand the direct recording side.

We try to do a regular wedding blog on our FB page,, so a video blog from a virtual studio could be a good way of keeping it interesting and up to date. I've also only done very basic head shot chroma keying in the past, so I am finding more detailed green screen work fascinating. If you find your virtual studio DVD anywhere, I would love to have a play around with them. Maybe they could be put on Dropbox or Wetransfer.

Interesting times :-)

Roger
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Old January 14th, 2017, 06:00 AM   #23
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

I''ll look for the DVD Roger ..if I find it I'll make sure you get a copy of the backdrops! Yeah ...it goes well past just weddings. You could do your video blog from your very own plus studio so it's exciting stuff!!

While you are investigating vMix see if you can find a way to use just one graphic (like a lower third) and then have a data list so you can drop different names and titles into the same graphic as new talent arrives on set?? vMix also have quite an informative forum!! I can use it to stream to LiveStream but it does require me to use Livestream producer software (free) to actually import the vMix output so it can be sent to the correct event on my LS account.


I found them BUT they are sd so 720x576 ..the image cropped and resized to 1920 x 1080 looks pretty good I have emailed you one so you can try it but you will have to resize them all to use them ..it was a while back!!!

BTW The guys on the forum that I talk to found this in the UK http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/112253113381

Last edited by Chris Harding; January 14th, 2017 at 06:53 AM.
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Old January 15th, 2017, 06:27 AM   #24
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Chris,

Didn't see your post yesterday, had a day off!

Thanks for digging out the dvd, I'll dowload and give it a try and I'll put the ebay livestream pro on watch. Haven't really played around with the Vmix graphics overlay but wil try more during the week.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; January 15th, 2017 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old January 16th, 2017, 04:39 AM   #25
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Following Chris's last post, I played with Vmix last night for a couple of hours and although I have been in email communication with him, thought that others would be interested.

You can use one of the available inputs out of the four available on the cheapest $66 version, to use bottom third graphics overlay. Chris was querying whether each graphic requires a seperate input, but it just requires one, with the facility to change the text live while you are broadcasting, by simply typing in the new text then clicking on it to add it to the transmission. You can also set up a list of different participants or titles in advance and again just click on each one in the list to bring it up.

I have also been playing with the included virtual studios which also require one input, but have different zoom levels available on the one input, which you can swap between. You can chroma key talent into the studio either live from a green/coloured background or from pre recorded video. I have also found that you can import the virtual studio files into Photoshop for a certain ammount of editing with your logo etc and possibly more detailed editing with a bit of thought.

As regards cost, I have been looking at replacing my analogue SD switcher with a digital one, but the most basic 4 input HD switchers are costing upwards of £700 to £Ks. That makes the Vmix HD switcher at $350 start to look very attractive, with 1000 inputs available, plus countless other invaluable processing, inputting and outputting facilities. Of course you need a fast computer but the licence covers you for two computers so could be a tower and a laptop for live work. With the Vmix you can also output to your chosen CDN rather than being limited. There are other software switchers available, but so far I have found cheaper but far less flexible. Xsplit looked OK, but after a bit of playing I deleted it as it was not in the same league as Vmix. Livestream I keep trying but seems very basic with even the more expensive versions not able to offer what I want.

You will also need to be able to output from your cameras to the computer input, so probably HDMI-USB boxes at £100-150 from various suppliers. You can also use good quality webcams straight into USB. The other alternative is wireless from the camera with a unit such as Chris's Livestream Broadcaster Pro, or possibly a decent video sender for short range.

Still open minded to alternatives but with a 60 day free trial on Vmix, I seem to be feeling that I will likely find it difficult to beat in the price range. I forgot to mention that there is also a 4K version available for $750 for those interested.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; January 16th, 2017 at 04:41 AM. Reason: missed characters
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Old January 16th, 2017, 05:46 AM   #26
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Thanks Roger

You didn't mention the cost of other switchers and Livestream Studio is a whopping $799 which is pricey of course. The only reason at the moment where Studio is paying dividends is that my "main camera" has a Broadcaster on it which connects wirelessly to Studio without any HDMI>USB adapters or cables .. and I don't think that vMix can import the video signal from a Broadcaster (according to the forum anyway) but I might play with it this week and see anyway. One thing that you might need to be careful about with the $66 option is with the input restriction to 4 inputs you cannot have any level control on camera audio as that uses up an extra input per camera. However I do tend to not use the camera audio at all and rather have an analogue mixer going into my computer via USB ..(I have a simple 12 channel Behringer which works well so being live there are no sync problems)

We have a LiveStream account so to pull the mixed vision from vMix you do need the Livestream Producer software but it free so no problem there.

Just as a comparison Livestream have a free version of Studio restricted to 2 wired camera inputs and 1 remote input (I use my broadcaster for that) ...you can only stream to their CDN (no issue for me) but one might want to stream elsewhere like Facebook or YouTube. The other thing I haven't tested is the CPU usage of vMix compared to Studio ...Studio is really CPU hungry and I need an i7 2600 to stream anything over a 2000kbps bitrate and it runs at 50%-60% CPU ..I need to try vMix and see if it's less hungry than Studio ..if it is then it could mean the added convenience of streaming with an i5 laptop which is a lot less hassle to carry around compared to my HP SFM desktop machine.

I'm sure we will have more to follow??
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Old January 16th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #27
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

I think that being early days for multi camera budget streaming, there is a lot still to learn, especially with getting remote footage into the system.

Having played with Vmix and some of the other software switchers, I really like the ability to record directly to MP4 without even needing to broadcast. If I can effectively get 3 or 4 wired camera inputs, then I can see me going back to direct mixing of school performances initially, then streaming the results the next day. That would save a lot of work. That would then perhaps lead to live streaming for schools and other events as experience is gained.

Roger
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Old January 16th, 2017, 04:40 PM   #28
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Admittedly my initial reason for looking at this kind of setup was to enable wedding ceremonies to be made instantly available to overseas family. We have a larger number of UK people down here as well as an equally large number of people from New Zealand. However after doing a few multicamera shoots I realised that eliminating post production work was just as large an asset even if one didn't actually stream the footage but just did the mix live and recorded to HDD. We still do single camera live broadcasts in parks and beaches for couples wanting just a simple wedding ceremony but doing live mixing and multicamera events is an exciting option and it's amazing how many markets open up and you find yourself saying "I can live broadcast that"
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Old January 17th, 2017, 03:51 AM   #29
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

For me, a live mix and recording would always have to have cameras that can also record at the same time, as I have has a number of experiences in the past where the main feed went down or the computer locked up. There has to be some sort of backup otherwise the whole programme could be lost. That is probably my biggest worry with live mixing.

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Old January 17th, 2017, 04:22 AM   #30
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Re: Basic Equipment for Live Streaming

Hi Roger

Yes I do see your concern...With the FZ1000 I used to send the HDMI out to Studio (as you are aware the FZ1000 can either send out HDMI OR record to card but not both) and then have the 2nd FZ1000 just recording the same frame to card. The FZ2500 on the other hand can do both so I send HDMI to the switcher and also at the same time I'm recording to card so that's the backup

Yes a computer can easily freeze up or the 4G signal can die so I lose my DVR recording on Livestream so we have already had a poor signal at a wedding in the middle of nowhere where we had to abandon the live broadcast and do a delayed stream once we got back into a decent reception area.

Then again do you tandem shoot at weddings? I don't and have just a main cam on the couple with all the audio and then a cutaway camera handheld. If the main cam failed I could take over I guess with the 2nd cam but I would lose some audio in the process ..You actually have a better fail safe with live edits as the camera is recording, the computer is recording and the CDN is recording all at the same time. The chances of all 3 recordings failing is not ever worth mentioning ..one will always be there!! I feel it's a safer system unless you have 4 cameras all recording and pointing in the same direction.

It's fair to say that if the computer or stream died you would lose you multicam mix but then again if the camera at a wedding carrying you audio died you would lose the main audio too. I think one has to decide where to draw the line at how many video recordings you really can do and how many audio recordings you can do too before it gets crazy!!
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