Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

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Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Mike Stranks »

It may be that in the near future I'll have to take responsibility for a weekly livestream from a building with a decent Internet connection.

They're currently using Zoom, but as it's not interactive and the current set-up is not without issues, I'm thinking a switch to YouTube 'Live' is probably the way to go.

I'm aware of the various ways of getting content onto YouTube for live work, but am undecided about whether to go the software route (eg OBS) or the hardware route (eg ATEM Mini)... I have used OBS in a modest way and understand about production HDMI video switchers

Any direct experience of doing this and, from those who have, did you go software or hardware - and why?

Thanks!

(No 'video' section, but this is probably the closest we've got... Well, it is about 'Live'! :) )
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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Luke W »

We've been doing a fair bit of this at work this year as an alternative to having live audiences in for shows. I've mostly worked alongside it rather than operating it myself, but the most popular route has been the first way you mention, using OBS and streaming to YouTube or Twitch. The main reason for going for the software approach have been cost as it mostly involves kit that was already here, and for what we've been doing (2/3 cameras at most) it performs rather well.

There's also a larger setup based around a Black Magic vision mixer, but I've had less to do with that as the nature of the shows it used on means I'm usually doing something a bit more involved with audio/lighting and so I'm a bit further removed from it. It's a bit more involved regarding setup time, so that's worth considering if it's going up and down all the time. If it's a fixed install then probably not as much of a concern.

I'm happy to ask a few of the people here who are more clued up than myself for some input if needed. :thumbup:
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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by PaulB »

Hi Mike,
I've done about a dozen streams over the last year with a basic OBS system now running very nicely on an M1 Mac Mini. We went OBS rather than hardware for cost reasons, since we needed a basic video edit suite as well.

As I learned how to tweak things it has now evolved to have several inputs:
  • Panasonic Lumix G80 over SDI/Blackmagic Ultrastudio Recorder 3G
  • up to 3 iPhones in gimbals running NDI HXcamera software over wifi
  • Video projector output mirrored over NDI HX over wired network
  • Spare Behringer P16M shared with the stage foldback system to provide a basic audio mix over USB into the M1 - not at all ideal, but the best I could do :)
I've found you really have to keep the wifi as clear of traffic as possible to minimise audio sync problems, and even then it can be a little bit variable (the SDI camera is rock solid though). Having more routers around might also help. If I could cable everything I would!

Regards,
- Paul

We stream to YouTube, which has been fine but I recall it helped the fluidity of the stream back at the beginning once I created a custom profile for the stream rather than using one of their defaults.
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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Mike Stranks »

Good stuff so far! Thanks

Keep it coming folks! :)

M
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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Humf »

Hi Mike.

I’ve gone down the hardware route, using BMD’s ATEM extreme for video switching. Like most things I guess it’s about your application as to what’s best. In my case I’m streaming in churches and suchlike and only get one hit at it. So stability and reliability the key factor for me, combined with long cable runs to remote cams and in almost all cases, no fixed internet connection. I realise that last point is not relevant to your situation but I cannot praise LiveU highly enough for their bonded encoders and LRT service. Their unit I use is not cheap but I just know I’m in safe hands.

Someone above mentioned SDI and that’s the route I’ve gone down. The peace of mind a cable gives is worth it imo. Also, although I’ll use mirrorless cams for recorded work, I’ve gone down the camcorder route for streaming. Ok - I don’t I have interchangeable lenses so you’re never gonna get the ‘cinematic’ look from ‘lower end’ professional camcorders - but they’re great at what they do and mine have SDI outs so less conversion required. I know others use fibre to run super long lengths but that seemed out of my budget. Instead I have a reliable setup, capable of the lengths I need and without the mini or micro hdmi outs you find on many dslr or mirrorless cams. I’ve had too much trouble with those to ever trust them again! Full sized hdmi seems better though.

I would’ve liked to get a switcher with sdi inputs and could’ve gone for a BMD Television studio which would give that. But the newer ‘mini’ switchers offer a whole load more functionality, so I do have to use converters at the switcher end to get to hdmi ins. Prefer not have to but so far the little micro converters have been good. Apart from one which shipped dead, which isn’t unheard of with BMD gear apparently. There’s some talk I think of the more professional BMD switchers being revamped but I couldn’t wait around.. and the second hand market for tv studios seemed a bit scarce.

Oh and the other thing I don’t like about the atem minis is no xlr inputs. So audio is sent in via 3.5mm socket. That feels crap but my cams do have a pair of xlr sockets so I could sync to video that way if I have a main cam next to my desk. Haven’t tried that yet.

Going back to original question, I might be old school, but it just doesn’t feel safe to me running a software switcher. My MacBook is reliable and I use it to mix on the x32 rack (plus to dig deeper inside the atem switcher). But if it went down for any reason mid-stream, I’d be screwed if that’s all I had. I just feel more secure with a dedicated hardware device. Same with audio.. if laptop goes, then I can still use the front panel of the x32 to make basic adjustments.

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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Mike Stranks »

Thanks Humf!

I must be getting 'into' this video stuff... I understood all of that! It sound like you have a nice set-up. I agree about the 3.5mm audio inputs, but maybe the major players are assuming that if you're serious about sound you'll be mixing that elsewhere.

Must admit, I am veering more to hardware... much as I like OBS and the way it works...
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Re: Livestreaming... anyone doing it? If so, how?

Post by Humf »

Yes - I take your point about mixing outside the ATEM and that’s exactly how I work. For portability I’m getting on very well with the x32 rack. As you’d expect the preamps are not wonderful on the ATEM ... but even a locking 3.5mm would’ve been better.

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