Friday, 8 February 2013

Livestreaming Events


In early January of this year we (creative media team) were responsible for live streaming the winter graduations. We had already done this in the summer 2012 but it was the first time we attempted to stream in full HD. We used the same platform (livestream.com) to broadcast the event and ran this from the most powerful mac we have available to us (Intel i7 processor, with 16GB of ram). Even using this powerful computer we were unable to stream at the highest HD quality livestream.com offer. it is interesting to discover that livestream.com recommend only PC's when it comes to streaming in full HD. However, I know with a more powerful mac (tower) we can do it and for the processor to not have to work excessively.

So, for the winter graduations we started out streaming in the one below full HD settings and the first two ceremonies went without any technical issues. I was thrilled to be able to offer such crisp and clear images to all those who could not attend the event in person. By the third ceremony I started receiving lag reports and after consulting with livestream.com support discovered that we need amin of 6mbps throughput to New York City. The network here at the university can handle this demand, but depending on whats happening in the world (especially NYC) we cannot guarantee to avoid lag issues.

For each ceremony I reduced the quality settings as advised by the livestream.com technical support to resolve the lag issues. Unfortunately this did not resolve it but minimise the frequency of these issues.

My aim is to be able to provide stable and reliable full HD streams for all future events. To do this I discovered that the newlivestream.com offers this. Until now we have been using the old version and is no longer being developed, hence the issues we experienced are unlikely to be fixed.

The newlivestream.com product offers the ability to pause and rewind the stream. Like Sky +, this only affect this individual and not al those viewing the stream :)

I did look into using the new product for the winter graduations but it's currently missing a few key features.
  • Does not include a white label player
  • Cannot restrict channel so that general public can't view
  • Restricting the ability to embed to only us
These features hopefully will be in place before the summer graduation ceremonies. If they are not, we need to think if these pose issues and address the pros and cons to both newlivestream.com and livestream.com

All in all, the livestream for the winter graduation event worked very well. The lag issues were most probably not noticed by the majority of users as they may have thought it was due to their internet connectivity. We are going to continue to use livestream.com (hopefully the new product) and happy with our current set up for such lare events.

  • 3 x HD camcorders (1080i) 
  • 1 x vision mixer
  • 1 x capture device
  • 1 x powerful computer
  • connected to wired network
Chris



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