Kitplus - The TV-Bay Magazine

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ENCODING In WireCast, we add the UltraStudio Mini Recorder as a camera feed; this supplies the output of the ATEM switcher to WireCast. In general, we stream 720p/29.97 fps H.264 video to the web with a compression bit rate of 1500 kbps; we have not found it cost-effective or necessary to stream at larger frame sizes. However, we can not stream directly to end- users from the WireCast. In testing, and during several live events, we realized that we did not have sufficient bandwidth to support live streaming direct to each user. NOTE: A rough way to calculate bandwidth is to take the bit rate of the stream you are sending to the world and multiply it times the number of users watching the stream. Using 100 users as an example, our feed is 1.5 mbps times 100 users requires a bandwidth of 1500 mbps. STREAMING To get that bandwidth requires a CDN (Content Distribution Network). The workflow is that we send the stream to a CDN and they use their far larger bandwidth to send it across the world to our viewers. At this point there were three directions we could have gone with this transition. 1. We could keep our current workflow (WireCast > Wowza hosted locally) and simply insert an outside CDN in between the local network and the viewer. Companies like Amazon Web Services, Akamai, Mirror Image Internet, Limelight and EdgeCast provide this services. 2. We could replace Wowza with a company that both streams and acts as a CDN; for example, LiveStream or uStream. However, they are pretty pricy and we are on a budget. 3. We could select a CDN only, as we were already providing a stream. This became our final choice and we selected FrontLayer.com. They act as a both a distribution streaming server and a CDN. During setup, Frontlayer gave us login credentials for the online manager, live stream credentials and the RTMP live publishing point. We entered this information into the Output Settings screen of WireCast and we were done. WireCast streams to FrontLayer, which distributes the stream to the world. FrontLayer has an online dashboard manager for each account. This helps us monitor the stream, monitor their VOD (video on demand) system and get reports. These reports help us keep track of how much bandwidth has been used within the current month, as well as how many viewers the stream has had. FrontLayer charges $70 a month for 250 GB of bandwidth each month. We can also purchase additional bandwidth for $0.20 / GB. This is great because we know that we will not run out of bandwidth, and we can budget for the additional bandwidth we need. NOTE: Bandwidth charges are based on the number of users times the number of minutes they view times the bandwidth we are using to stream to FrontLayer. Based on our experience over the last three months, we calculate that 1 viewer, watching one hour of material, consumes 1 GB of bandwidth. This makes it easy for us to control costs by controlling the number of viewers we allow to watch a live stream. FrontLayer has also proven to have fantastic customer support. They have been able to answer every question we have had in a very timely and helpful manner. The process of getting live streaming functional has been a daunting one. We still have things we will be tweaking, but all in all - we are LIVE and the pictures look great! KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 103 JULY 2015 | 39