Research best practice for live video broadcasting community meetings
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I want to do regular live broadcasts covering new developments and community updates. The TV "show" should be interactive so that viewers from the community can actively contribute to what is being explained/discussed by sending messages and commenting on what is happening.

The studio/encoding side is pretty well defined already as I have used an Open Source Broadcast ( setup with multiple cameras, etc. successfully a number of times already but we used youtube for live broadcast which is not an option for us as it automatically adds a 30-60 seconds delay. ustream is commercial only now and requires a monthly fee, twitch is only for gaming, are there any free alternatives available?

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does it need to be free? can't we put some money for this? It's usually not that expensive

True, we could afford it now, but I want to first see what is available and what has the best value in case we decide to get a paid service. 1000$ live switcher for up to 6 SDI/HDMI live sources.
Requires external monitor and computer with control software. Probably the cheapest available solution currently available.
Also does h264 encoding to connected computer for live broadcast.

Does only 1080i50 or 720p50

720p might be more than enough for internet broadcast though.

It depends on the number of cameras you connect, but let's say you only have 2 or 3, you can do it with a simpler solution : some capture card (sdi or hdmi input), then use the broadcaser software to live switch between the cameras.

More cameras would mean more people operating.

As for using youtube, is the delay really a problem? Let's say viewers are on the irc channel, they can post questions, and the show will at some point look at the irc channel and pick a few interesting questions. So a 30 seconds delay might not be a problem.

"some capture card" - please provide examples/links.

the cameras would all be configured once without an operator.

30 seconds is a long time when you do something "live".

In T6#104, @sebastian wrote:

"some capture card" - please provide examples/links.

Those come to mind :

But tbh I have no idea of the prices...

the cameras would all be configured once without an operator.

I see, different than what I had thought.

30 seconds is a long time when you do something "live".

For the delay it depends if it's done in a Q/A fashion, with feedback in both directions, then yes, delay is a problem. But if the idea is to collect some questions in the course of the show, and then give a reply, it might work.

In T6#105, @philippej wrote:
In T6#104, @sebastian wrote:

"some capture card" - please provide examples/links.

Those come to mind :

DeckLink Quad with 4 inputs is 1000$ - same as ATEM

But tbh I have no idea of the prices...

the cameras would all be configured once without an operator.

I see, different than what I had thought.

30 seconds is a long time when you do something "live".

For the delay it depends if it's done in a Q/A fashion, with feedback in both directions, then yes, delay is a problem. But if the idea is to collect some questions in the course of the show, and then give a reply, it might work.

We should find a solution that is least limiting to what we can do. What about adding people via skype/google hangout as live chat partners...

Didn't know it is so expensive...

All this being said, it would be cool to eat our own dogfood and use beta camera when possible. Because then it might be possible to stream something using ethernet. That doesn't help for today :-)

Ustream isn't commercial only. Paying for a Pro account removes advertising from the stream

30 second delay seems typical for these video services. It might not be a problem in practice if the questions are only going from the viewers to the broadcaster and not the other way round.

It should be possible to get fairly good 1280x720@25fps on a 1 or 2Mbit/sec uplink as long as the camera is fairly static.

Does Hangouts have a high quality option? The few times I've seen it running, it's been poor quality (~8fps and low res).

tested with and it worked very well, they allow embedding the live stream and the stream delay was around 3-4 seconds.

I was not able to find any info on viewer count limitations or anything else there...

Also tested which was a rather horrible experience.... could not get it to run and the website looks terrible

I participate in MusoTalk occasionally ( They have a multiple Skype-connection-setup and live editing is done with the ATEM, the model after the TV-Studio. I myself use the TV-Studio (in conjunction with several Canon DSLR's) for live edit jobs and it works fine.

@andrew: how do you set up the Canon DSLRs to output a cleanfeed via HDMI or which models did you choose?

@sebastian I use EOS 550D & 600D cameras running MagicLantern. The HDMI-output is scaled down from FullHD though, so there is a frame I have to get rid off in post, and it is 59.95i with a weird cadence. I am considering getting a Teranex converter that would allow me to up-scale in realtime and change the framerate to a clean 25p.

@ andrew: doesnt sound like a convenient live setup....

MagicLantern has the option to aliminate any overlays, but like I said the output is scaled down from 1920x1080 with black borders.

@sebastian I got started in the Canon world, added bodies and lenses, and ML enables me to have the cameras running and recording continuously. So this is where I'm at ;-)

@Bertl: interesting, but they don't talk about the camera to use for such setups, just a comment suggested to use something from a group called "apertus" :)

Regarding interactivity and "live" communication with the audience during a show, given the usual 30-60 second delay:

Red5 Studios, the makers of the game FireFall, have for the past year or so been doing a live TV broadcast each Friday for the community via Twitch. In this show they let the viewers participate in two ways:

  • Chatting through the Twitch service. Chat window lives to the right of the video player frame. Delay in relation to the video feed: 30-60 seconds.
  • Speaking with the show's hosts directly via TeamSpeak. Delay is neglible, but the flow of the show is still somewhat affected by stream delay.

Chat: throughout the show, the hosts have visual access to a screen dedicated to showing the chat. This allows them to comment on what viewers are writing or prompt viewers for input.
TeamSpeak: the broadcaster hosts a TeamSpeak server, and at the beginning of the show (or before the Q&A segment) urges viewers to log in to the server if they have questions or comments. In this channel, everyone is muted by default, but during the Q&A segment the hosts utilize an IOS app that controls certain aspects of TeamSpeak and unmutes the next person who is then allowed to ask his or her question. I assume that the process of getting the sound from the channel on air is simply that they hook a computer logged in to the server up as an audio source to the broadcasting hardware. This process allows the show's hosts to have realtime conversations with viewers, and also lets other viewers follow along nicely.

I haven't watched this show since I put gaming on the shelf, but a quick dive into their channel yielded a suitable example:
FireFall Live 2014-10-17

Jump to the 06:15 mark to see an example of the hosts using the chat. (product giveaway or something like that)
Jump to the 30:15 mark to see how the hosts use TeamSpeak to allow viewers to ask questions and carry out a live conversation (pay attention to the iPhone that the host is using).

Sidenote: If the problem with Twitch is that it is for gaming related content only, do we not encounter the same with It appears to be strictly geared towards eSports and the like.

tested today

terrible! not recommended.

people were not able to see video/ had no audio or stuttering one if they managed to get anything at all.

Their interface provides no tools to benchmark where the problem is, if its an uplink issue from open source broadcast or anything else.

Also everyone viewing the stream is asked to register to participate in chat which is a big nogo

davidak added a subscriber: davidak.Nov 1 2014, 3:22 AM
sebastian added a comment.EditedNov 13 2014, 10:51 AM

The simple camera variant
Start with single Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 at first. Add more cameras over time if we see its necessary.
Question of audio video delay from webcam needs to be tested.

Amazon EC2 (m3.large is suitable for around 300 stream viewers) plus wowza server license
15$ / month for wowza license
plus $0.40/hr (EC2 + wowza license) for actual events

wowza config:
adaptive bitrate
multiple devices (RTMP, RTSP)

test if open source broadcast can encode stream in several bitrates/resolutions at once

video player embed with (test if it supports live streams)
+ HD toggle plugin to switch between stream bitrates

Good price/quality lavaliers (audiotechnica, t-bone ~25€)
or Boundary Microphone

The pro audio variant would be: (or the much cheaper/worse

philippej added a comment.EditedNov 13 2014, 11:24 AM

I'm not sure setting it all ourselves is not overkill (or too time consuming).

Discovered some new services. Have you seen this for example :

Might be worth trying their free trial?
Some plans are approx the same price as wowza + ec2 prices, without the hassle. Been there done that, it's already hard enough to make a good livestream without the need to setup the server yourself.

For the EC2 setup I have a specialist at hand and it will take him no time to configure everything and prepare a ready-to-roll linux-image for us. He is very much looking forward to help us.

The advantage when using EC2 is that we can easily scale performance/viewer counts if we see we need more and we only pay for the EC2 hours that we actually use the server for broadcast. This specialist evaluated all existing services (free and paid) and even evaluated all self hosted streaming server solutions and deemed this the best and most reliable approach.

In this case, what can I add ;-)

Looking forward to see this working, very interesting stuff ! (I wrote a post years ago on my blog about live streaming, and I still get enquiries about it, although it's completely outdated :-) )

Oscar added a subscriber: Oscar.Dec 25 2014, 9:33 PM

This might be the ultimate solution :

@sebastian you may consider using 2 shotgun or super cardioid mics rather than lavs. can get boomed with tripods.

In high-end sound terms, a lavalier will always sound worse than a properly boomed directional mic, by its physical characteristics alone, featuring a much smaller diaphragm, at least when comparing a good and properly setup Lav with a good and properly boomed directional mic.

You could rant or lend some models and test. The last teamtalk has a lot echo!

Audio quality should have a high priority!

4nd1 added a subscriber: 4nd1.Oct 19 2016, 9:58 PM

Well - just demonstrating the new premises is also a good idea - not only by showing Pictures but by also giving sort of audible impression.

The properly adjusted super cardioid mics - preferably positioned as close as possible to the speaker - would mean that they kind of go out of focus when the speaker is moving. The talk would loose al lot of spontaneity if you have to sit ( or stand ) without any movement.
And the decision for high sound quality - was that ever made? Are there any linear sliders at the remote?