March 1, 2014

Live Video Streaming with Ustream and YouTube Live

I did use Ustream to broadcast this event.  Loved Ustream Producer software, possibility to integrate desktop streaming, ease of editing "shots" which allowed to mix multiple streams and create goodies such as on-screen logos.  A custom-built  PC with i5 CPU and two Blackmagicdesign DecLink Mini Recorders was used as a software switcher and encoder.
Now my customer wants to use YouTube Live and I am testing it!  It appears that both Ustream and YouTube use custom versions of Telecast Wirecast, thus all the mechanisms of creating the shots and actual streaming are the same!  Except not entirely.  Productization is a bit different.  Looks like you will need to pay more with YouTube to have possibility to edits shots.  Both however want $200 from you to not have their watermarks in your feed.

I started with a speed test.  The results are disappointing - you can NOT stream from such a slow connection.  These results determine the need to use lowest bandwidth option in Wirecast.  My goal is to test YouTube features, so I will proceed.

Here are some of my findings.  On a positive side:
  • Overall I've got impression that YouTube Live is a solid product based on a proven technology.  I am especially happy to see YouTube relying on existing encoders, e.g. Wirecast.
  • You can use alternative encoders, other than Wirecast.
  • You can use multiple IP streams and switch between those during the event.  Never tested this yet.
  • Telestream Wirecast is nice.  Totally usable.  Allows to save stream to a disk file.
  • YouTube Live did create event recording.  Its duration is surprisingly short - unclear why.  I think it was streaming more data.
  • Having live and recorded video integrated on one site is so nice!  YouTube Live event URL after the event completion contains a full recording of the event!  All the comments made during the event are preserved. Users will be very happy!
Somewhat of a set-back:
  • Failed to white balance my two Canon camcorders - G10 and S200.  Neither common presets nor custom white balance worked.  There is just a hint of purple tint I can't get rid off.  
  • YouTube Live Control room allows me to see the comments but not to comment myself.
  • Tried but failed to connect to a hangout.  Need to retry.
  • You need to constantly keep an eye on status in control room in order to restart ingestion in case network pipe gets stuck - probably caused by my low upload bandwidth.
  • Failed to find a way to lower video frame rate to better take advantage of a slow upload. 
Here is another review of YouTube Live and Wirecast for YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. It isn't clear where you were testing the speed. This is a DSL connection?
    Is the $200 a one-time fee, or does it recur per event, or per year?