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Danny Dodge
Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 12:45:40 am

I would like to be able to run a camera with mics, out in the field and be able to stream it live to my web site. Mobile is the word.... I will be going up and down mountains, etc. Any brilliant people out there with a solution?
Thanks,
Danny



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 1:06:02 am

Why you can just head on down the Cow path aways and mosey on over to
http://forums.creativecow.net/telestreamwirecast
It's cross platform (Mac/Windows).

Consider it a full production switcher and it'll run right from your laptop.
Make sure it's a fast laptop. I'm using MacBookPro CoreDuo 2.4GHz

Firewire port can take one DV camera.
Express firewire adaptor gives you a 2nd camera.
This laptop has built in WebCam and mic but you can certainly toss on more with the USB bus.

Mac version will stream Quicktime or Flash with H.264 codec.
Windows version adds Windows Media streaming as well.

You'll want at least 500kbps-768kbps up at least but you can get by with less if you don't mind a lower quality speed.

Test your upload speed here
http://www.speedtest.net/index.php
pick server targeting your server location.

If you really want down and dirty (no budget) you can use Quicktime Broadcaster (just camera and mic basically) to stream to a Quicktime or Darwin Streaming Server.
Unfortunately Adobe has not made Flash Media Encoder on the Mac side but it certainly works well if you're on a Windows computer and you can stream using either VP6 or H.264 to a Flash Streaming Server.

If you don't have a CDN or your own streaming server there's Livestream (was Mogulus until today)
http://www.livestream.com/
and
http://www.ustream.tv/
which you can setup free accounts with (with overlay ads but viewers can click them away periodically).
The both have "Pro" versions (LivestreamPro starts at $350/mo) (Watershed has pay as you go or starts at $49/mo).

That's a basic overview but I can give you details if you describe where your headed with this.
If you head in the direction of Wirecast as production switcher streaming software head over to that forum as other Wirecasters may chime in with additional suggestions.







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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 1:15:28 am

Thanks a ton for the information. I'm wanting to be able to film adventures in the wilderness and stream live. For that reason I will want to pack as little electronics as possible. One guess is that I might have to have a custom, ram only computer made with just the right ports to feed a signal from the camera, a wireless card or some way of getting the stream to a server, and a port I can hook to a basic lcd screen.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 1:41:12 am

[Danny Dodge] "a wireless card or some way of getting the stream to a server"
You'll need a wireless data plan which has coverage in the area you'll be at.

[Danny Dodge] "One guess is that I might have to have a custom, ram only computer"
Huh? Any good laptop will have USB and Firewire ports. You're going to need a good CPU (CoreDuo IMHO) in order to do the real time encode.

[Danny Dodge] "and a port I can hook to a basic lcd screen. "
Why? This makes no sense to me at all.

A 15" MacBookPro has built in webcam (in the front screen) and built in mic as well as firewire and USB in. That built in cam is low quality but if you really want to bring "nothing" that laptop itself has all the hardware you need including built in wireless (you just need an account in range).
You can certainly run Windows natively on it if you'd like so you're not limited to Mac OS at all.

You can't get a specific answer from general statements. You can absolutely use a MacBookPro as an all in one streaming box without any other hardware at all.

Please make NO ASSUMPTIONS about what you'll need. FIRST describe what you want to do IN DETAIL






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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:08:39 am

I've got a MacPro 2.5ghz core 2 duo laptop and I run my internet through AirPort.

Here's my scenario. I'm following a biologist through the woods, catching shots of wildlife. I'm going to be all across the country, and in Canada and Alaska (Alaska is another country, isn't it, LOL) To start out I will limit my excursions to areas with cel service. But I would expect that, in the future, I will want to expand this to step outside those areas. If we have to preset microwave repeaters to relay the signal, then that's not outside of the possibility. But ultimately, I will be shooting with a broadcast camera and wireless mics. That will be the content I want to deliver. Also, wether I have to use an intermediate service for serving the video or not, I want the streaming video to appear on our site with now outside ads or images influencing the look or function of the page.

I don't ask for much, do I :-)






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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:25:30 am

[Danny Dodge] "I've got a MacPro 2.5ghz core 2 duo laptop and I run my internet through AirPort. "

Good!

[Danny Dodge] "I'm going to be all across the country, and in Canada and Alaska (Alaska is another country, isn't it, LOL) To start out I will limit my excursions to areas with cel service. But I would expect that, in the future,"

Given where you'll likely be you're going to need cell service with data plan unless you expect free wifi in the woods. There are satellite providers in areas where nothing else exists but that's going to be expensive and the upload speed might be very slow for live streaming.

[Danny Dodge] "If we have to preset microwave repeaters to relay the signal, then that's not outside of the possibility."
Double check to see if satellite is available and at what upload speed. If you have the budget for repeaters then certainly that's viable (but expensive). If it's a broadcast budget you might want to consider and off road worthy small satellite transmission vehicle. Then you'd only need to hit that and they'd take care of the uplink.

[Danny Dodge] "But ultimately, I will be shooting with a broadcast camera and wireless mics."
You could use a Sony EX1 and go firewire in HDV mode into the MacBookPro. With the 1920x1080 1/2" chip sensors it'll still be a good image even in HDV mode. If you can handle a bit more gear you could use a Matrox MXO2 (HD-SDI in to the box and has an Express Card adaptor for laptop use).

The tough part is going to be getting good upstream signal away from civilization.
You'll also need to think about CDN unless of course you work with a broadcast facility that has something like an Akamai or Limelight or equivalent CDN already.




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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:37:07 am

Assuming a CDN is too expensive.... (devils advocate) can a company set up its own CDN/server? Or is that simply tooooo expensive?



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:48:23 am

[Danny Dodge] "Assuming a CDN is too expensive.... (devils advocate) can a company set up its own CDN/server? Or is that simply tooooo expensive?
"


Livestream (Mogulus) and Ustream are free. If you don't want the ads consider Ustream/Watershed's $49/mo starter plan. If you find your viewership is climbing you can upgrade to a more expensive plan.

You can setup your own server for sure but you're still going to need the bandwidth for viewers and that's where the money comes in.

You can do a Darwin Streaming Server (Quicktime) or Red5 (Flash) for free (as far as the software is concerned). Wowza seems to be good too. It's not free but not as expensive as some other servers.





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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:56:01 am

Wow, you're an abundance of information! I guess I'll stop trying to stump you with questions :-) I really appreciate all the info. After reading your profile I realize I'm talking to the king of compression.

My one concern is heat, and the banging around of the laptop. At $3,500 it's not something I can easily replace. Oh the dilemma.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 5:30:57 am

[Danny Dodge] "After reading your profile I realize I'm talking to the king of compression. "

More like a prince. But I do watch the kings closely. Streaming ads a 'nother layer to the workflow and given the growth and anticipated growth in the streaming market, the smart compressionists are looking in that direction.

[Danny Dodge] "My one concern is heat, and the banging around of the laptop. At $3,500 it's not something I can easily replace. Oh the dilemma. "

You're not going to want to run the laptop from inside a bag. Certainly the northern climates aren't going to be as harsh as deserts. Keep in well ventilated and don't cook it in direct sunlight.




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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:39:32 am

By the way, I'm all about the EX. However, even though it's a bit more weight, I prefer it's big brother for balance, handling and lense. That will be a future purchase though.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 2:50:15 am

[Danny Dodge] "By the way, I'm all about the EX. However, even though it's a bit more weight, I prefer it's big brother for balance, handling and lense. That will be a future purchase though. "

Ahh, the EX3 for sure. I thought size might be an issue though. Are you actually going to be changing lenses in the woods? The stock lens is similar to the EX1 but the balance would be better. Key with both those is you're not going to find anything smaller with 1/2" chips as well as both HDV and HD-SDI out. You could look at the JVC HM700 for shoulder use but it is only 1/3" chips.




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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 3:02:39 am

The half in chip would be wonderful. I've got a Redrock 35mm lense adapter, and once you shoot with real 35mm depth of field it's hard to shoot anything else. But, I don't think folks will notice the difference on a quarter screen image. I just uploaded a commercial I shot with the Redrock and, although it's nice, consumers aren't going to know the difference.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 5:37:21 am

[Danny Dodge] "But, I don't think folks will notice the difference on a quarter screen image."

You can go larger than 320x240 but that depends on bandwidth. Certainly some will notice shallow depth of field. In some cases it can make the compression easier given the lack of detail in the background.

[Danny Dodge] "I just uploaded a commercial I shot with the Redrock and, although it's nice, consumers aren't going to know the difference. "

Sure they will. They may not be able to say why but actually Personally (subjectively) I think control of DOF is more important to "film look" than 24fos frame rate.

The question is do you want to deal with all this gear and setup in the woods. You're also going to have to deal with power issues. There are solar chargers as well as hydrogen "batteries" if you're away from power for any length of time.

If you're "day tripping" it's one thing but if you're going to be away from "civilization" for a week that's a different set of circumstances.

You have to decide whether your approach is Travel Channel or Survivor Man keeping in mind you really want to be live as much as possible to develop a regular following.





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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 1:37:42 pm

In Alaska I'll be shooting a lot of footage with suspended cable rigs, both vertical and horizontal... very similar to Planet Earth. But, the stuff we want to stream won't be the set-up shots.

I have to say, you are on the top of the food chain when it comes to both post and shooting. Thanks for all your help. I enjoyed talking to someone with real experience.
Danny



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Jeff Mack
Re: Live streaming video
on May 20, 2009 at 11:24:05 pm

Hey Danny,

Caught the tail end here but I read them all. I'm afraid as of this moment, there is no solution for uploading with a card. I have been trying this to no end and can't get any sustained upload speeds sufficient to get a good signal. What carriers do to mislead EVERYONE is keep preaching about the biggest and baddest 3g networks. That's for voice. Yeah, some are better than others for surfing but that's not what you want to do. You want to send a continuous stream up and my experience, you'll be lucky to get a 28K modem speed. Sorry - for now.

Jeff


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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 12:51:36 am

Thanks Jeff! When you say "card", do you mean a wireless card to use cel service?
Danny



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Jeff Mack
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 12:57:51 am

Yes,

To get sustainable upload speeds, you really need DSL for any serious footage, streaming let alone ftp.

Jeff


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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 1:17:00 am

So, let's step into the world of "wish I could". T1 lines, from what I understand, are simply multiple phone lines used to increase the bandwidth. So what if we used multiple cards? Probably the dumbest question I've ever ask, but someone will probably expand on this with something that just might work.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 1:21:42 am

Of course there are many factors including location but AT&T 3G claim upload speeds of between 500kbps and 1.2mbps.

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/why/technology/3g-umts.jsp

You need to go to a location and test with
http://www.speedtest.net/

One person's speed in one location may not be indicative of the speed in another location.



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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 1:28:21 am

Once again, you amaze me with your bag of tricks. I feel like I should be paying a hefty consult fee.



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Jeff Mack
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 1:33:08 am

Of course there are many factors including location but AT&T 3G claim upload speeds of between 500kbps and 1.2mbps

Craig,

This is what they want any average person to think. I have tried a lot of carriers and a lot of cards and it is unrealistic. Especially if you are truly mobile. Just like you say, locations vary greatly but I'll bet a steak dinner you won't get 500 for any time at all.

Don't mean to be a downer but it's true.

Jeff


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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 1:46:55 am

These are all streams from mobile phones.
http://qik.com/
So obviously some of the phone companies provide enough upload bandwidth.

At Streaming Media East the founder of the qik live streamed the session he was on with a Nokia 95 I believe ( I don't remember his service provider) and he said 640x480 at close to 30fps is possible.



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Jeff Mack
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 3:51:04 am

At Streaming Media East the founder of the qik live streamed the session he was on with a Nokia 95 I believe ( I don't remember his service provider) and he said 640x480 at close to 30fps is possible

Yeah, maybe so but they are not the ex1. Uploading off of a card is just not possible right now with the quality of a dsl line.

Jeff


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Craig Seeman
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 4:06:35 am

[Jeff Mack] "Yeah, maybe so but they are not the ex1."

The source encode is dependent on the computer's CPU and GPU. If the laptop (which has a far more powerful processor than a typical cell phone) can do a real time CBR encode of the source down to 300-500kbps then that's all the upload needs to be (plus some headroom).

I've tested the EX1 in HDV mode via firewire with a Core Duo 2.4GHz MacBookPro and the CPU can handle it. Use an outboard box like Matrox MXO2 or AJA IO and you further relieve the burden of the CPU.

Simply the Laptop has far better encoder power than a cell phone. Cell phone providers can handle reasonable video upload rates for video as verified by QIK.

It can be done. It has been done. Often.



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Jeff Mack
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 2:03:35 pm

Craig, I guess we should agree to disagree. The OP stated that he was going to use a broadcast quality cam to do live streaming in remote areas. The laptop I agree can do a nice encode (I use a MBP as well)but that has nothing to do in this case in delivering a broadcast quality image to the internet. It is a limitation of the card to sustain a suitable bandwidth for a sustained period of time. The Qik references that you cited are NOT broadcast quality. I realize that cellphone/smartphones can do this but it is highly compressed and looks like crap compared to what the OP is intending to send - they are certainly not broadcast quality. My original post was dissing the carriers for "tricking" people into thinking that 3G means 3G upload as well. AND, we're not even discussing the fact of the OP's remote locations.

Jeff


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Danny Dodge
Re: Live streaming video
on May 21, 2009 at 5:42:08 pm

Jeff,
I think I mislead you. I know there's no possibility to stream true broadcast quality, so I'm ok with the standard quarter screen that most consumers have come to accept. The day we get to the point that we can stream full screen video, we will be doing everything different.
Thanks for your input,
Danny



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Tom Adams
Re: Live streaming video
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:20:57 am

Craig,
Could you go into a slightly different aspect of this streaming video discussion? If you have the video in your machine, have a decent upstream path and have your own website, can you comment/educate me on what to do/ask for to show the video on a personal domain name/website? This is a real domain name I own and would like to be able to go to a page on my site and see a video I am sending up from home. My ISP help/support page talks about supported MIME formats. I haven't been able to tie the pieces together. Tom


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