More Livestreaming Questions...
I asked a little about this before, but it now warrants a follow-up...
A very quick re-cap... a couple of times a year we shoot a multi-camera event for a multi-national corporation that is headquartered in our city, sort of a Town Hall type of thing. In the past we've always shot it with multiple cameras, and brought it back in-house and edited it into the final presentation.
For the latest event we were asked about the possibility of streaming it live to their global employees.
We said "sure," that we could do it on our end, and provide the company with a signal to stream, and from that point in the pipe on, it would be up to the company to distribute it. Well corporate gears move slowly, and you'd have thought we would have asked their main IT guy to build a nuclear reactor overnight in his basement... they gave the impression that would be a monumental task (which obviously, it isn't, people do this everyday).
Well we did this event this week... we didn't stream it, but instead of building it in post we switched it live on location and recorded the stream, an effort to do everything on our end as if if were live, as a trial run.
It seemed to work without a hitch, recording and mixing four cameras and a Powerpoint presentation (using the Livestream Studio HD550 4K switcher). And as another test, back in our office we pumped out the signal to Livestream (via a freebie trial account with them) to make sure we could easily see things on a remote computer, which worked fine.
At this point I'm trying to take some of the work off the company's IT department and at least give them some suggestions as to how to handle the stream after it leaves our box.
This particular switcher will pretty much automatically stream to just about anything... YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and of course Livestream's own streaming service.
I think we are going to run into a security issue, in that the company is going to want plenty of privacy and security with little-to-no chance that the stream can be viewed by anyone other than their own employees around the world. That would seem to suggest that Livestream's own service would be best, as they offer lots of privacy and security options. The issue is... it's expensive. Livestream's services at that level are $12,000 a year, and you can ONLY buy a year's worth of service, even though we might only need it once or twice. There are no weekly, monthly, or "per event" options, or anything like that.
So... just wondering if anyone had thoughts on the best way to distribute this?
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Give me a call next Monday or Wednesday about this. I am in central time zone.
Hi Todd -
I think Chuck's solution for you is to hire Big Bad Wolf in Ft. Worth Texas, to do this for you, so you don't have to worry about any of this.
Rescue 1, Inc.
We have live streamed events. Our vendor would switch using multiple AJA SDI input dongles with Wirecast. They streamed to a CDN with the stream behind a pay wall on a private website. The issue with Livestream, Youtube, etc is they are designed to be public. If the client wants to control access then you need a somewhat custom solution.
You could of course also use a traditional switcher and send a single signal to your live streaming encoder, and also record to a ninja or whatever tech you prefer, but you still need a way to keep the content private.
We recently started using Zoom for a replacement for Webex. It seems pretty reliable and they have a webinar platform with some 3rd party pay wall options, but a lot of attendees can get expensive.
The other big issue can be getting adequate internet bandwidth and firewall access in the event venue, be it a hotel, conference center or corporate offices. That aspect can take the most time to plan, but being on a private website can help get buy-in.
Chuck... we'll give you a call next week.
Bob... I have no idea what you mean (I'm betting Bob has heard that before, though).
Mike... good things to think about. Livestream says though (and we talked with one of their reps for a very long time) that they can be public OR very private, with tons of privacy and security options, so I think they are used to that. Really the ONLY problem with them is the cost... they are very expensive. Well, the service would actually be fairly reasonably-priced if we were doing live events every day, or every week, or even every month... but this is only once or twice a year. And since they have nothing except an annual plan (which seems asinine to me, but hey it's their business), that doesn't make one-off events very cost effective. Fortunately this event is always at the corporate headquarters, so hopefully dedicated bandwidth won't be an issue... we can put the onus on our client for that...no dealing with the IT guy at the Radison to make sure there's adequate service in the Magnolia Ballroom.
I DO really like the Livestream switcher, though, because it is so all-in-one and pick-it-up-and-go. It's one black box, with a handle, that is everything... switcher, encoder, five SDI inputs, five HDMI inputs, audio XLR inputs, and screen. It's only about the size of a very (well, very very) large laptop, if you stood it up on edge. All we had to do is plug our cameras into the side (well, and a keyboard and mouse). We did add one external screen just to solo monitor the program signal, but didn't have to. Internally it will record the program stream, the clean program stream sans graphics, and any or all of the cameras as iso streams. We just recorded the program, but could have recorded them all. It's pretty sweet. Not dirt cheap, but not wildly expensive either (the box is about $10K), but we rented it for only about 800 bucks for a whole week.
Appreciate the input.....
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Isn't this what NewTek TriCaster is all about? You can rent one and have it shipped pre-configured for under $200/day.
Not to derail this thread, but I do wonder more broadly -- does TriCaster figure into anyone's live streaming workflows?
Seems to me like you need to shop around for the CDN that can handle your security and capacity issues for cheap. Ah, the magic triangle strikes again!
Does Amazon or Akamai offer anything you could use?
Well, that is certainly one option! 😉
I was going to see what his goals are in terms of target audience size, consider his CDN options and how many days he is going to stream. I could make some CDN suggestions at that point.
There's a lot of moving parts in the world of live streaming - equipment is so good and easy to use now that my only advantages are that I have been doing this for a long-time, know how to fix problems and know how to talk to IT departments/internet service departments.
My favorite troubleshooting story:
Was doing a live stream for a member of a past presidential administration at a local college here. The day before we tested everything and it was all good to go. Left everything on overnight for the morning show at 9am.
Did another test at 8:30am that day - everything fine. Show starts at 9am. Killed stream after test. Now this particular CDN gives 1GB of bandwidth for testing and I called and talked to my rep to make sure the testing button was turned off. He said it was so I was to get my full amount of bandwidth. Well, at 8:45started my stream again and about 5-minutes into it, it failed. Chatted with the tech on duty, he said the demo button was not on. Said he say my incoming stream. Still nothing. Chatted again and asked to be transferred to another tech. Tech checked, demo button still active - turn it off! Everything back up 5-min before stream. White house called, State department called, client going nuts - just gotta be calm and cool and think your way through!
I agree with comment'Bob Zelin