Portable gear for live video mixing and encoding

Carles Galan Encoding

There are many options for audio and video encoding for live streaming of events, webinars or lectures. In this post I will recommend a few portable solutions in the lower price range. Before giving any specific recommendation, let me provide some guidelines: Nowadays Full-HD video sources are widely available and provide a significantly better quality, even for low bit-rate streams, than older analog SD signals. Webinars usually start with a looping recorded video, a countdown video or simply with a still image along with some (rights-free) music. Speakers also tend to bring along prerecorded videos and presentations that have to be included in the live webinar. With these considerations in mind, I recommend two basic configurations to make up a good portable mixer/encoder for a few video sources and RTMP encoding. Portable System 1 ASUS Laptop NJ750J RAM 8-16MB, SSD: 256GB+ HD: 750GB NVIDIA GEOFORCE GTX 850M 4 USB 3.0 in two different busses (very important) 2-4 MAGEWEL XI100SDI   SDI-USB-3.0 capture cards Either, 2 cards that work with 2 FullHD sources -one connected at each side (bus) of the computer-, or 4 cards that work with 4 HD sources (720p) for instance. DATAVIDEO DAC-70  is an all in one, very efficient up/down/cross converter we use it to embed analog audio source to an SDI or HDMI video signal, or to convert HDMI to SDI, or to convert VGA to SDI or HDMI VMIX HD video mixing software Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (free software) Even though VMIX can itself do the encoding, based on the AFMLE classes, we recommend using this encoding option, which will capture the live video and audio feed from by VMIX. All this plus a few cables and converters will make up a reliable solution at a very good price. My 3 most valuable suggestions for managing systems like this are: Carefully set-up your computer turning off any automatic update setting the system might come with. Use the computer only for this purpose Have a backup of every piece of the gear (computer, magewel and DAC70) Portable System 2 Asus ROG G750JT, JY, JX – GTX 7xxM, 8xxM 1 Thunderbolt input AJA Io® 4K 4K and HD I/O for Thunderbolt™ 2 capable for up to 4 FullHD / 4K inputs/outputs DATAVIDEO DAC-70  is an all in one, very efficient up/down/cross converter we use it to embed analog audio source to an SDI or HDMI video signal, …

Webcasting to tablets and phones

Frank Carmona Control-Room (Live Production), Encoding, HTTP Streaming, Mobile

webcaStudio HLS compatible webcasts   Summary WebcaStudio can stream live and on-demand presentations to PC, MAC, and Linux and now also to HLS compatible devices. HLS stands for Http Live Streaming, and is Apple’s proprietary version of a HTTP streaming protocol. HLS became a temporary de-facto standard whilst open initiatives for a standard HTTP protocol were still under development.  In future webcaStudio versions the video player will be compatible with different HTTP streaming protocols too. HLS compatible devices are iPAD and some Android devices. In the case of the latter ones the functionality is not always optimal for live events whilst they normally work fine with on-demand contents. In the case of iPhones the choice of the webcaStudio platform is to stream Audio and Slides.   Setting up your account for HLS In order to enable HLS streaming in webcaStudio you have to contact Vancast and we will upgrade your account and webcast templates for this purpose.   Operating HLS compatible events Once your account has been upgraded, you will notice several changes in the user interface: Event Management > Edit > Contents >   …. In this page you will find a new content item named “slideshowshtml5”. An explanation on how this works is decribed below in this document. When accessing the “ControlRoom” to manage a live event you will be asked whether you want your event to be compatible for iOS devices or not. In the case where you tick the checkbox you will be prompted to select two different bitrate qualities for your video and audio streams. Never use a higher bitrate than the one you will choose on the RTMP encoder later. On the main event management page you will find a new menu item called “transcoders”, where you can monitor your transcoders.   Managing Slides for HLS compatible devices CASE 1: Using JPEG files for the slides This case is compatible with HLS directly. CASE 2: Using SWF converted powerpoints In the case where you use powerpoints converted to SWF files using iSpring you must use the “slideshowshtml5” content item to upload a .jpg version of the slides suitable for HLS compatible devices. The procedure is: Upload an SWF file to the “slideshows” content tab, then a new folder with the exact same name of the uploaded file will be automatically created in the equivalent location under the “slideshowshtml5” contents tab.   Then, upload a jpg …

Skype participant mixed in your webcast encoded video: Problems you may face

Frank Carmona Control-Room (Live Production), Encoding Leave a Comment

My video quality isn’t great… The advice in the table below can help you to get the best possible video quality. You can also visit Skype’s forum dedicated to video issues or view their Webcam not working on Skype?troubleshooting video. Problem Resolution Poor quality webcam Webcams come in many different qualities and prices. Buying a good webcam will benefit the person you are talking to, but if the person you are talking to has a low quality webcam you will still see a low quality image.A good webcam is a prerequisite for good quality video calls. Buy a webcam that’s guaranteed to work seamlessly with Skype from the Skype shop. Slow or busy internet connection You or the person you are talking to may be experiencing problems with video due to a slow internet connection. You should both try closing applications that use the internet (especially those that might be playing music or video) and cancel any file downloads.Make sure that both you and the person you are talking to have theminimum bandwidth required to make a video call. Weak wireless signal If you are using a wireless internet connection, ensure that the network signal is strong. If it isn’t, it may be better to connect directly. Computer running slowly Do you or the person you are talking to have a lot of programs open? Try closing some of them and see if that makes a difference to your video.If you’re using a laptop, you may have problems with video calls when it’s in power saving mode. Change your computer to AC power or switch your computer to maximum performance.Make sure that both you and the person you are calling are using computers that have the minimum system requirements to run Skype. Bad lighting If the room you’re talking from is quite dark, you’re probably not sending great picture quality to the person you’re on a video call with. Try turning on more lights or opening the curtains. Also, try not to sit with your back to a sun-lit window or bright lamp. This will cause your face to be in shadow and result in a poor picture. For best results the light source should be shining on your face from behind the webcam. Too many USB devices plugged in You may not be sending great video because you’re using other USB devices. Try disconnecting them or try connecting your webcam to an alternative USB port. …

webcaStudio Compatible Mobile Devices

Frank Carmona Encoding, Mobile, V3.4

Applies to Version 3.4 and newer within Version3 End-user compatible devices iOS  iOs Version 3.0 and newer Safari Browser Android Android Version 3.0 and newer Chrome browser   Encoding or transcoding settings iOS recommended codecs and settings: Video: H264   baseline  (in a MPEG-2 transport stream)  Audio: AAC LC Click here for a complete reference Android recommended codecs and settings: Video: H264   baseline  (in a MPEG-2 transport stream)  Audio: AAC LC Click here for a complete reference