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Live Video for Newscast

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Tyler Ries
Live Video for Newscast
on Oct 29, 2008 at 5:24:02 pm

I work for a college television station and we do live, local newscasts. Over the past few years we have been toying with the best way to do a live report from the field to use during the newscast. The closest that we have come to accomplishing this it to use two laptops and a video chat over the Internet. So far, this system has shown some results, but nothing worthy of going to air. The quality of the streaming video and audio is poor and drops out very often.

We are trying to come up with some other ideas on a way to get a live video signal out to air. Our station does broadcast the schools football games live, using a fiber system with a dedicated home run. These are the only live remotes that we are able to do and they must be done from that location. That being said, we do have fiber transmission equipment that could be utilized. A microwave transmission system is a bit beyond our budget at this time, so it would be a while before a system like that could be used.

I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas about how to accomplish this. We would like to have a true live situation, but a delay could be dealt with. Thanks for your help!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Live Video for Newscast
on Oct 29, 2008 at 8:21:46 pm

Not true "live", but, if you have a laptop already, you could do a "look live" at the scene for free by shooting your footage, saving or compressing it, and doing a file transfer FTP to the home base rather than trying to live stream it. Maybe go firewire into the laptop, convert to h.264, then FTP that file. The quality will look clean as a microwave hop. Time factor? Depends on the codecs and if you're on dial-up or something faster. Figure 2-3 times real time to compress and feed the clip, so you can't do this too last-minute and hope to make air with it.

The other downside is, it's not live and you can't do the silly banter back and forth with the anchors or that stuff. But if you self-contain the reporting into a self-standing package, you can do a complete stand-up VOSOT with b-roll and all, FTP it, and have them roll the clip. It's free to try, anyway.

For sport or a happening like a rally, shoot everything like b-roll, ftp it up, then do voiceover audio by cel phone over the top of it, and then the anchors can talk to you and ask questions while the b-roll is playing over you. Cable news places do this kin dof thing all the time, for far-flung locations where they can't use a fly-away satelite uplink.

Back on the streaming side, read up on "mesh networks" and how to cobble together your own wi-fi repeaters to feed a stream back from places where you don't have fiber.

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