Corner Geeks 9: Live Streaming setup for Ran8adidas

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Show Notes

What we wanted

  • Live streaming of the event
  • Video
    • multiple cameras if possible
    • perhaps one overview shot
    • one on-the-go camera following events like the Twitter hunt. Follow contestants around “Amazing Race” style
  • Sound
    • clean sound from the mixer for opening ceremony / speeches
    • also want to capture atmosphere/sound around the camera
  • Internet
    • need for streaming
    • simplest of them all. 3G dongle
  • Master control at the laptop controllilng the stream / switching audio and video accordingly

Mobile video

  • DSLR / camcorder approach:
    • Possible but need wireless transmitters making it cumbersome
    • DSLR sensor limited time
  • Keep-it-Simple-Stupid approach:
    • Use smartphones with Wifi and cameras
    • Small, simple, only need wireless access point if needed
    • Possible to attach external microphone to device for interviews
    • Advantages
      • Can move around freely
      • Requires no additional hardware for video capture hardware on computer.
      • Fairly cheap and easy to setup if you already have the devices (more people have smartphones now)
    • Disadvantages
      • Latency
      • Lower quality?
      • Potentially unreliable connection vs wires? Wireless inteference. Network going down?
      • No zoom!
    • Mobile Video apps

      • IP Webcam
        • Android
        • Free
        • Starts a webserver on camera device. Accessible from any computer on the network. View and listen in a browser
      • PocketCam (Desktop software)

        • iOS / Android
        • US$4.99 / BND$6
        • Windows or OS X software to be installed on the host
        • Creates video and audio device driver on host. Once connected access like a webcamera and USB mircophone
        • Audio lag!
      • WebCamera
        • iOS / Blackbery / WinMo / Symbian
        • US$2.99 / US$19.95 / US$19.95 / US$9.95
        • Works similar to PocketCam: Windows or OS X software to be installed on the host
        • Used iOS version that can take video and photo from camera and it will send it to host computer
      • There are other apps for Android and iOS but many do not provide audio which is what we wanted
    • Multiple Camera feasibility study
      • IP Camera: separate VLC instance for each video and each audio for each camera. Gets complicated very fast
      • Pocket Camera / WebCamera: only one PocketCamera / Webcamera host software allowed to run at one time on one machine
      • Not possible to use multiple cameras using only one app. Mixer and match is possible
      • Needed proper communication between in-the-field camera user and master control

Sound

  • Input from mixer via line-in on laptop (not don’t have get a USB sound card)
  • LadioCast for audio mixing and piping of audio. Can even monitor sound without sending it to live stream

Internet

  • Needed wireless coverage
  • Used iPod Touch as a WiFi signal monitor. Activated voice control, tap the wireless signal to hear the strength level (probably there is an app for this but did not explore)
  • To forgoe a 3G router: OS X Internet sharing (Connetify.me for Windows)

Other things we used

  • Phone holder to tripod mount
  • Tripod: can place camera in certain places. Can extend tripod to get different angles
  • Charging cables! Must remember to charge mobile devices. iPod Touch 4G lasted about 2 hours of streaming

Final Setup

  • iOS Webcamera easiest to work with
  • CamTwist to add overlays
  • Ladiocast to pipe audio. Connected to mixer when needed. Add microphone from the mobile cameras when interviewing / asking questions
  • Tripod to place camera so no need to be there
  • uStream to send out stream and record it

Other Considerations

  • Phone upgrades:
  • Have a sign that says, “we’re streaming live”. While recording I was thinking of the implications of this for privacy
  • Have a dedicated chat room to interact with the viewers. At least had a screen of some hashtag that we could sometimes show on twitter.
  • Get better upstream for better video and audio
  • Have a dedicated screen / projector / laptop on our booth showing what’s streaming.

Corner Geeks 7: Live Streaming – Part 2

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We get back into podcast producing and we resume our topic on “Live Streaming” (part 1 here) giving details of how to set up a more advanced live streaming system. Some related links on the topics we covered are listed below. Feel free to add your own links in the comments with regards to tools you use for live streaming

Live Streaming Services

  • uStream (Free): has co-hosting, recording features and mobile client (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Justin.tv (Free): has desktop and mobile clients(iOS, Android)
  • Livestream (Free)
  • Stickam (Free): co-hosting and mobile clients (iOS, Android, J2ME)
  • Vokle (Free): new and modern with good co-hosting feature and recording. Latency was an issue when we used it. No mobile client
  • Google Plus (Free): not really live streaming but can have up to 10 people video chat but latency was good
  • Vidyo (commercial)
  • Bitgravity (commercial)
  • Wowza: set up your own streaming server (i.e. make your own uStream.tv)

Live Streaming Utilities

Video Effects

  • uStream Producer (Free: OS X, Windows): easy transitions and allows output of webcam/pictures/movies/screen/music and also has PIP support. No text overlays
  • CamTwist (Free: OS X): powerful with many video effects. can do screen casting, slideshows, movie playback, changing of video sources, text and image overlays and so much more
  • ManyCam (Free: OS X, Windows): easier than CamTwist to use, has screen casting, displaying of images (slideshow), movies, text overlays
  • Webcam Studio for Linux (Free: Linux): seems like a CamTwist for Linux which advance functionality

Other Hardware

  • Eye-Fi: an SD card with wireless capabilities for wireless transfer from camera to computer
  • Zoom H1: used as a line-in recorder

Video Switching

  • BoinxTV (Commercial, Software): software is to be installed on a Mac to provide TV studio like functionality. Check out Daniel’s video of how it used it for the Making of Gear 65 #28
  • Tricaster (Commercial, Software & Hardware)
  • Sony Anycast (Commercial, Software & Hardware)

Audio Effects

  • Line-in (Free, OS X): simple tool that sends audio from one sound device to another
  • LadioCast (Free, OS X): an Icecast client but has the ability to do audio mixer and piping
  • Soundflower (Free, OS X): creates 2 sound devices which can be used as streams to pipe audio from one app to another
  • JACK (Free, Linux, OS X): Jack OS X – similar to Soundflower
  • VACard (Free, Windows)

Live Stream Setup for Ran8adidas

So a couple of weeks back we had the honour of live streaming of Ran8adidas (the 8th year anniversary celebrations of Ranoadidas.com) at the International Convention Center (ICC). We share with you how we managed to get mobile video in the field with the ability to add overlays and mix the audio source with any audio source while at the same time live streaming and recording it.


(Watch on YouTube)

Watch the recorded video from this setup at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ran8adidas

Our Setup:

  1. WebCamera for iOS (US$2.99) running on an iPod Touch or iPhone to act as video and audio sources out in the field
  2. Mobiola WebCamera (free) on the streaming computer to retrieve video and audio from the iOS device (they show up as webcam video and microphone audio devices)
  3. 3G modem used as an Internet connection
  4. OS X’s Internet sharing to ensure the iOS device and the computer are on the same network
  5. CamTwist (free) to add overlays and text
  6. MacBook Pro line-in port to receive sound from the mixer
  7. A USB sound card to be used as audio out for monitoring
  8. Soundflower was used as extra audio devices to aid the transfer of audio from audio sources to audio outputs
  9. LadioCast (free) for audio mixer/switching between mixer and iOS device audio
  10. uStream.tv (free) to stream and record the live video and audio

Other notes:

  • The video quality wasn’t great and it was a trade-off between faster frame rates vs better image quality and resolution which were limited factors of the WebCamera application (192×144 vs 480×360, but I’m not sure to measure the frame rate). We decided on better image quality as it would be made worse by the spotty 3G connection
  • We tried using uStream Producer (free) but it was inconsistent as it dropped after 30 seconds. I wonder if this could be due to the 3G reception.
  • If you have an Android device you can use IP WebCam (free) to stream the video and audio from the device to a computer. I used 2 different instances of VLC (free) to play the video and audio. The video could then be captured using CamTwist and the audio controlled with LadioCast
  • We experimented with PocketCam for iOS ($4.99) paried together with the PocketControl (free) client software but the delay in video and audio was too great, ~10 seconds.
  • Alternatives to CamTwist (OSX) are ManyCam (Windows / OSX) and WebCam Studio for GNU/Linux (Linux) but CamTwist has quite a few nifty features and would recommend it