Streaming 101 April 2015 Update

Hello and welcome to TruthCasting Streaming 101. We would like to share with you everything that you need to know in order to get your church up and streaming. If you have any questions after reading this, feel free to contact us to arrange a one-on-one walk through over the phone.

The information listed below is based on our personal experience and talking with other churches and ministries on what works best for them, every system is different but these recommendations are a great starting point.

To get started, here are the basic requirements:

Internet
Audio and Video Signal (Camera)
A way to get that signal up to TruthCasting (Encoder)

Internet
Most churches have an adequate internet connection for streaming without having to do any major upgrades.  We do recommend a wired line devoted solely for your stream, but any line will do. (Please note that the more devices you have on a network, the more your risk of issues increases.) A wifi network can be used but we do not recommend it.
* We do not recommend using an open network provided for congregation use, this can lead to inconsistent bandwidth and increase your likelihood of issues.
The main thing to look for is upload speed, the minimum recommended speed is 1Mbps, however we prefer between 3-5mbps. You can test your internet connection at speedtest.net

Audio and Video Signal

There are two main ways to get a video signal into a computer, a webcam and through a video capture device.

Webcam:
Using a webcam is a great way to get up and streaming for a low cost and with very little effort, plug the webcam into a computer and open up your streaming software (We will get to this below) and you are good to go.

Video Capture Device
The two things to consider when choosing a video capture device are; How are you going to connect to the camera? How are you going to connect to the computer? In our experience a usb is not fast enough to transfer video for streaming unless you are using a USB webcam, webcams transfer video at much lower bitrate which allows them to use a slower connection. Most consumer camcorders do not support video over USB and many of the consumer usb capture devices such as the Dazzle can be inconsistent. We recommend getting the signal into a computer by using either Thunderbolt, PCIe or if you are transferring SD video Firewire. These three connections seem to provide the most stability. When choosing a capture device please make sure it has the appropriate connections for both your camera output and your computer input.

Here are a few of the Capture Devices that have worked well in the past:

Intensity Pro:PCIe

Intensity Extreme: Thunderbolt

Mini Recorder: Thunderbolt

Canopus ADVC-110: FireWire

Using a Video Capture devices opens your options for camera choice to almost anything on the market from consumer to professional products. For those needing a recommendation we have listed a few cameras that we have worked with in the past:

Canon Vixia Camcorder: Basic Camcorder

Canon XA10: HD Camcorder with XLR Audio Inputs for added Control

XA25 : Similar to the XA10 with the added SDI connection for longer more reliable runs of the video signal.

For more professional options please fill out our contact form.

Computer Encoding Method

For Streaming with a computer you will install a software encoder on your machine and connect the cameras with one of the devices above. When choosing a Mac or Windows based computer we like to note that there are very few windows based laptops that support streaming due to connection issues. As connection compatibility improves this will improve but at the time of writing this, very few windows laptops work for streaming unless using the USB Webcam option. We generally recommend any Mac with a thunderbolt connection or any Windows (or Mac) with a PCIe connection. These two connections provide the most stability and universal solution. When choosing a computer we recommend looking at the system requirements for the software you would like to encode with. Minimum system requirements will work but for those looking to add anything special to a stream we recommend upgraded the system some. For questions on any custom setup, feel free to fill out our contact form.

There are many computer options out there that work, We generally recommend the Apple Mac mini for those who need help in choosing for the price, stability, and ease of setup.

Apple Mac Mini:

For Streaming with a computer you will need a encoding software, the three that we recommend are

Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder(Cross Platform): Free
Adobe FMLE is a great streaming encoder for those looking to get into Live Streaming for the first time. It is a free product that sends exactly what you put into it to our servers.

Vmix(Windows Only): Free-$1200 Depending on the config Options.
Vmix is a relatively new streaming encoder that is a great middle and advanced encoder for churches wanting to offer things like multiple cameras, lower thirds, and prerecorded content and graphics.

Telestreams Wirecast(Cross Platform): $499
Wirecast is another streaming software that allows multiple cameras, lower thirds, and prerecorded content and graphics. Wirecast is also cross platform and has added some really cool new features such as using iOS devices as camera sources and some great local recording options.

Hardware Encoding method:

There are many hardware encoders out on the market and these are a great option for those who want a simple and easy setup for volunteers or a very portable system. The one we recommend most is the Teradek VidiU, This devices comes in at around $700 and connects directly to your camera or production system. The way TruthCasting handles live streams means that you can set the VidiU and just hit start anytime you want to stream.

Video Media Server:

The video server is why you are here. TruthCasting.com handles all of the hosting aspects to your stream so that you dont have to worry about it. You send us your live stream and we will redistribute it to your viewers in the form of a video player. Embed this on your website for instant access to your stream.
Please fill out the form below to sign up for your free 15 day trial with TruthCasting
http://start.truthcasting.com/sign-up/

MultiCamera Option:

We are often asked how a church can add multiple cameras to their streaming production for a low cost, for this we recommend the BlackMagic ATEM switcher. There are better switchers on the market, however none that can compare in the cost, quality, and easy of setup of this one. It allows 4 HDMi inputs, 4SDI inputs and you can use 6 of those at any given time. The Switcher is controlled by a computer or you can but a custom switching interface for quick basic transitions.

 

Below we have listed out a few example setups for streaming:

Option 1 – Beginner / Low Cost

For this option we recommend a simple computer (laptop or Desktop) with the Logitech C920 Webcam. This webcam is great because it provides HD video and High Quality audio if needed though a USB port, most cameras cannot deliver a good signal though usb but this does. You would simply plug the Webcam into a computer and use the Encoder software to stream. This webcam can also be mounted on a tripod for better angles and movement. This setup can be extremely portable and if you are using the WireCast or Vmix encoding option you can switch between multiple cameras at once.

WebCam

Option 2
Camcorder and Computer

You will need a camcorder, a video capture device and a computer

Apple Option

You will need any apple based computer with a thunderbolt connection. You will plug the camera into the video capture device with an HDMI cable, then the capture device into the computer with the thunderbolt cable.

Apple Mac Mini:

Blackmagic Mini Recorder Video Capture Device:

Canon Vixia Camcorder:

 

Optional Camera Upgrade for added Audio Options
Canon XA10

Windows Option
You will need a Windows desktop PC with the option of adding a PCIe card to the back of the computer and someone who knows how to install these. You will install the capture card to the computer then plug the camera into the capture card with the HDMI cable. The installation is not too complicated but we recommend using someone with a little experience.

Blackmagic Intensity Pro Video Capture Card:

Canon Vixia Camcorder:

 

Optional Camera Upgrade for added Audio Options

Canon XA10

Option 3
Camcorder and Streaming Hardware

Canon Vixia Camcorder with HDMI output. Plug this camera into the Teradek VidiU. You will need a computer to setup the Teradek VidiU the first time but then will only need to press the start button for your streams after that.

Teradek VidiU Hardware encoder:

Canon Vixia Camcorder:

 

Optional Camera Upgrade for added Audio Options
Canon XA10

Posted in Uncategorized