Multicamera Streaming Solution
Now before I step on toes, I looked through the forums and I haven't really been able to find an answer to my questions, so I figured it'd be best if I started my own post. I'm currently working a long side someone who hopes to stream a racing event over Livestream using cameras with firewire ports. The problem is that all of the cameras will have to work wirelessly, and transmit data somehow to the main computer controlling the stream. So there, in some form, is my first question: what is the best wireless transmission solution for low-end prosumer/high-end consumer video cameras. Secondly, I've heard that there are software solutions for using streaming sites that give you a lot more control... I believe the program is called CutFour or something, but before I ramble, has anyone used this software, and touching back to my first question, is there a solution entailing all of this. Let me know what the deal is... ready to bump heads to get a solution.
[Andrew Hamilton] "what is the best wireless transmission solution for low-end prosumer/high-end consumer video cameras."
Given that you're asking about low end and consumer grade cameras I would assume that you want a low budget solution as well. For wireless transmission it simply does not exist. RF wireless systems are very expensive.
Livestream is a great (albeit expensive) service. A good complimentary software that I have been using with it is Wirecast (There is a good forum for it here on the Cow). You can use it on your host computer for streaming, graphics, and roll-ins. It also is a little pricey at $500, but well worth it.
Now for your bigger issue. Forget wireless, not going to happen, and you don’t need it. There is no reason why with proper camera placement, long fire wire cables (and maybe boosters) you might be able to pull off a two or three camera stream. If the distances are too great, you may consider using coax, switching on an inexpensive switcher, then use a box to convert the switcher outputs to a fire wire signal for the computer.
That’s the good and the bad news, I explored streaming racing for a while, we worked through the technology hurdles, it was the money aspect that killed the project.
Wireless WILL be expensive. Not a real way around it.
I am working with a client who wants to do motorcycle races - and wants to do the same thing.
Best solution was hardwired cameras to a NewTek TriCaster unit (various SD & HD flavors) with a wireless card, pushing to ustream.tv. Ustream.tv is not very expensive...they will pout ads on the stream (lower third) until you devise a way to monetize it and pay to remove the lower thirds or move to a different provider.
The Tricaster excels at taking baseband feeds (Composite, Component, SVideo, SDI) and doing real time fade, wipes, dissolves, lower thirds, chromkeying, audio mixing, titling AND streaming. It's portable, too. I have no found a better all in one solution that is as reliable.
The benefit of a lightly higher end (quality) solution is that you not only can stream the event, but you can save it, and produce downloadable content or discs of the event and sell them after the fact.
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Michael makes another good point. If you make this a strictly computer based streaming production, you will have a tough time making a high quality recording for rebroadcast & DVD sales.
ustream & livestream both have the free ad supported channel option. The free Livestream has some quality/viewer limitations I believe, that’s something else you will want to research when choosing a streaming provider.
Thank you very much guys. The TriCaster technology was something I had come across before and was thinking of mentioning to the gentleman but wanted to see what other solutions there were out there. In terms of price, I believe that price is slowly becoming less of an issue, the figures just can't be astronomical. From what I've gathered, the client is using the premium service on Livestream and I've teetered around with it. It'll definately need a program to couple with it to really be effective. The project is strictly for streaming and internet replay it seems, but having something to use for production of an edited version of the stream later does sound like nothing but a bonus.
I'll be looking into all of this over the next couple days, so if anyone else has anything else to add, I always appreciate it. Thank you for all the help guys.
So I've looked through what I've been told but I'm back with a couple more questions... well they're problems not questions but anyways. The Tricaster seems like a good way to go, or even just some sort of video routing option (which would save a lot), coupled with wirecast, and through live stream. The problems that I'm facing at the moment are still hardware based unfortunately. I know I was told wired would be the way to go but honestly I don't think it's an option at this point. I was looking at solutions like the IDX Cam wave, but my bubble was broken quickly by the 150 ft limitation the hardware has. Some of the tracks we deal with are like 2 miles, maybe even 3 miles long. The straight away itself is about 1500 feet from the media center. I've been reading about WiMax which seems to be the best sort of network for long range video streaming. It needs a liscense but apparently that wouldn't be an issue. Any suggestions? Has anyone tried WiMax, and if so, was it to their liking? Or is there another solution I should look into.
Now you see why racing is the most expensive sport to produce! Here’s my advice… Your Tricaster/Wirecast is a good way to go (although I think the Tricaster may eliminate the need for Wirecast to stream?)
Here’s what you need to figure out. There is not going to be some cheap solution at Radio Shack to solve your distance problem, you are going to either spend a ton of money and go full fiber/wireless or come up with some creative solutions. For wireless CamWave won’t cut it. Another company to check out is Trango. They have different antenna/hardware options that may work for you.
I still think you need to research the fiber route. You can get cube, rattler, or FiDo, along with some tactical fiber. That’s the only way you are going to get a camera 1/2 mile away and not have to deal with and interference, hum, etc… That much fiber is going to expensive, but that’s just the price of business.
[Andrew Hamilton] "I'm currently working a long side someone who hopes to stream a racing event over Livestream using cameras with firewire ports. The problem is that all of the cameras will have to work wirelessly, and transmit data somehow to the main computer controlling the stream. So there, in some form, is my first question: what is the best wireless transmission solution for low-end prosumer/high-end consumer video cameras."
As others have mentioned, fiber is the best way to accommodate your cabling requirements, and it will be expensive.
I'll take it a step further and suggest that "low-end prosumer / high-end consumer video cameras" are not well suited for live production of anything, let alone a challenging sporting event like a race. They have poor imagers, poor optics, poor irises, slow zoom motors, short zoom lenses, no professional outputs, no remote CCU control, etc. Even if you can somehow get decent shots and transmit the signals from these cameras to a switcher, I think you'll have a very difficult time matching these cameras well enough to intercut.
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I have used cut4 both for streaming and for live to tape broadcast content. It works great you can insert video clips, titles and graphics. I use firewire extenders up to 150 feet for up to 4 cameras.
I heard of some wireless adapters (5k each) but they do not work more (depending on your cameras,i use sony z1 and hd1000) than 200 feet and are very unreliable. Your best bet is cat5 wire and firewire extenders. There are issues with jvc cameras on cut4 because of the way the use firewire. best bet are sony and panny's
I heard that there is a new cut4 version comming out soon.Good luck