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#1 Ken White

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 03:53 PM

Tomorrow I'm going to be talking on the phone with the manager of client services at DaCast, who we will hopefully be using for our live component.

 

My email to him was:

 

I run a good-sized machinima community, and we already have a video sharing script for our movies. But I’d like to add a live component to the mix, for premieres, director retrospectives, etc.

 

I have a pretty good grasp of what will be involved to stream live from my computer to your servers and on to the viewers, and will probably end up using Wirecast for those broadcasts that I’m controlling. I have the power and bandwidth to do that.

 

Others may also be running broadcasts as well, and that’s where it becomes problematic. They may not have computers able to handle the encoding and bandwidth to get their stream to your servers for rebroadcast.

 

I know you have storage available with your packages, and the size, even on the starter plan (which we’d probably go with in the beginning, based on your calculator) is more than adequate for an hour or so of video that might be part of one broadcast.

 

My question is this – if other broadcasters in the community upload the videos that will be part of their broadcast, is there any kind of control panel that will allow them either a) Make a playlist of all the content needed for the broadcast and launch it manually at the appointed time or b ) do the same, but just schedule it to start at a specific time? Manually launching it would be the ideal solution, in case there’s a need to delay the broadcast briefly, but a schedule would also be acceptable.

 

Which is something I've already discussed here - I can run a "live" live broadcast from my own computer - I have the processor power, the bandwidth, and the software. But I don't want to be the ONLY person who can do a live event.

 

His response was "I dont have a simple answer for this but I am happy to discuss the project." So tomorrow I'll give him a call and we'll discuss it.

 

Stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm also looking at alternate ways of doing the live thing, just in case. As they say, where there's a will, there's a way.


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#2 Ken White

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:47 PM

Lest anyone think I'm just lounging around, reading and watching movies, I'm actually working on the TMU Live component. Well, in addition to the aforementioned lounging around...

 

This week I would really like to see if Dacast is going to meet our needs. I've got a test account, which doesn't have a lot of storage or bandwidth, but enough to see if I can:

 

a) Broadcast live. This is probably going to be the easiest thing I can do. I'm going to first try it with Open Broadcaster Software, It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of something like Wirecast (which I have), but it's free vs. hundreds of bucks. Ben Tuttle and I were talking about it a little after the iClone Film School show Saturday, and he's also going to be playing with it for his tutorial shows. So we'll see. It looks fairly simple, but if it can push an RMTP feed to Dacast, it will do the job.

 

b ) Broadcast on a schedule. As I've mentioned, I don't want to be the only show in town when it comes to doing live broadcasts. I don't mind doing them, and most of the time it will be fine, but I don't want our ability to push live programming to be solely dependent on me. But not everybody has the processor/internet upload speed to broadcast live (well, not if you want a nice 720p result instead of the 320x254 TMO sized picture). The alternative is to be able to upload the programming, then kick it off, either manually or at a scheduled time.

 

This is not exactly the way Dacast is set up. You can upload media to their servers. They have video on demand. Unfortunately, that means that viewers can watch it when they want - not at a specific time. Which kind of ruins the whole movie night thing. (I don't have an issue with on-demand stuff - after the "live" premiere, of course.)

 

However...

 

They do have "subscriptions" for live events (which can be live broadcasts or stored video broadcasts). The trick with that will be to wrangle it somehow so that people can "subscribe" without paying anything. What I'd really like to see is the ability to "sell" a free year subscription - then you just go, sign in, and watch whatever we're pumping out live.

 

How this would work I have no clue. And the whole subscription thing is a pain in the ass, I know. But the price of Dacast vs. everybody else in this business is so good, I'd really like to be able to do it on the cheap.

 

I plan to talk to my account representative today (too much phone tag with the manager of client services), and see what I can figure out.


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#3 Johnny Ex

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 03:51 PM

Wow how cool would that be if we could just go ahead and do our own shows without hassling you?


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#4 Ken White

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 04:49 PM

That's the idea, Mr. Ex...


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#5 TehPoptartKid

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 03:35 AM

So what you're saying is that we can start podcasts on our own? That's awesome.



#6 Ken White

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 02:57 PM

So what you're saying is that we can start podcasts on our own? That's awesome.

Yeah, when we're not running community events, anybody who has the ability to stream video to the dacast server will be welcome to do their own live programming.

 

And, of course, anybody who wants to do a live audio show is welcome to when we're not doing regularly scheduled TMOA shows (none at the moment other than Ben's show, which may be moving to video apparently, but they will be coming in time).

 

In the case of live video, Open Broadcaster Software which Ben is using seems to work well (at least from a viewer perspective). I have no clue how much processor and upstream bandwidth it needs - Ben has a fairly powerful computer, but I don't know how his internet upstream is - but I guess if you meet the requirements, it's definitely a viable alternative.

 

As for broadcasting audio, VirtualDJ is free for non-commercial use - the interface seems busy and confusing to me (probably because I'm mostly a radio guy, not a DJ, though I have done that too), but it seems you can broadcast to a shoutcast server like TMOA's and have it sent to the world. Of course, a basic setup is not going to let you have skype callers, or hosts in different places, but for a simple, one person audio show, it probably is more than enough.


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#7 Ken White

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 04:54 PM

An update:

 

Talked to the account exec - it's going to be difficult, apparently, to launch "live" events from stored video on their servers. Which is a crushing blow, or would be if I hadn't checked and seen that the upstream requirements for 720p video isn't as huge as I thought.

 

Doing a live "live" show might be within the bounds of almost anyone with a high speed internet connection - and if you're broadcasting something that doesn't require it be be encoded while broadcasting, it should be quite feasible. The idea would be that whoever is doing the broadcast takes the parts of the broadcast - say a premiere and a couple of shorts for a Premiere night, or a 4-5 films for a Director Retrospective night - adds them to one video file in whatever you use to make your films - Magix, Premiere,. Final Cut, Windows Media Maker, whatever - then broadcasts THAT file. Dacast will do the encoding for the various devices (computer, mobile device, whatever) and stream it out to the player.

 

It seems workable. I'm going to need some community members to test it once I'm done testing, and see what kind of issues we might encounter - I'm obviously interested in the whole bandwidth thing - but if that goes well, then we'll be up and running with the live component before or when I get back from my Florida roadtrip in early November.


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#8 Ken White

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 07:16 PM

Another even better update:

 

I just finished some testing, and it seems to be working pretty damn well.

 

I used Open Broadcaster, under the assumption that's what most people might want to use if they want to do live video broadcasting. Was pumping it out at 1200 bps, which isn't the highest quality, but a good starting place. I was pumping it into a 640x360 player (16x9) and it looked good in the player - not so much in full screen, thanks to the lower bitrate. Also looked and sounded fine on my tablet, and probably would on my phone as well if I had tried it.

 

Bandwidth was modest going out - about 1.3mbit/s, which means at this bitrate, almost anybody with DSL or better (cable, fiber, etc.) should be able to broadcast. That DSL Lite shit some providers have, probably not so much since the upstream is usually 768k with that.  It needs to be a wired connection (as you already know, wi-fi is inconsistent).

 

I still want to do some more testing, changing the bitrate and player size, and seeing what the bandwidth looks like (as well as the video in the player and full screen).

 

Setup wasn't that bad on the dacast.com side - and we can have multiple stream setups with different size players and different bitrates, Open Broadcaster was a little wonkier. You need a plugin to play a file from the computer rather than broadcast a screen picture or webcam or whatever, but it seems to work fine. You also need to modify a hidden ini file to put in the username and password to connect to the stream (everything else is done in Open Broadcaster).

 

When my part of testing is complete, I'll put together a pdf with step by step instruction on how to get setup in Open Broadcaster and stream to dacast. Then we'll see how other people are able to do it (as I said, volunteers will be welcome).

 

Right now I have a page set up here in the forums - will add it to the Nav Bar shortly - till then, it's at http://forum.tmunder.../page/live.html- whether we stick with a forum page, as we've done with the TMOA Radio player, or go to a separate page at live.tmunderground.com is yet to be determined. The biggest problem at the moment for me is getting a chatroom plugin on the page that doesn't take over the whole frigging page on a mobile device, as it did with the mobile radio page initially.

 

Still need to work that out.

 

But otherwise, we're real close to being able to do live events. I may set up a test live event tomorrow evening. Watch this space.


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#9 kkffoo

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 07:24 PM

We could have a quiz night :D


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PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#10 Ken White

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 06:21 PM

I think I'm going to wait till Friday or Saturday for my test project - I'd like to see if I can do something with the chat before we try it out, and I haven't come up with something I really want to do other than just stream some movies....

 

Watch for an announcement when I have something.


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#11 Ken White

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 04:16 PM

Our first big live video community test will be after I get back from my Florida roadtrip. I have some ideas, but really don't want to quickly throw something together when I'm essentially scrambling to get other stuff out of the way.

 

I'd still like to switch back to AddonChat - The 123Flashchat we have is okay, but I haven't managed to get around it taking over the whole screen on mobile devices, and since I really don't want to limit the live streaming video (or anything for that matter) to computer-only, it's not perfect. I do believe, because of the nature of AddonChat, that I can indeed embed that in a page with a streaming video player (either here on the forum site, or as a separate subdomain site), which will solve all the problems.

 

And their webpage now says:

 

Use Link Code Parameters to automatically sign users in using the same username and ID they use on your own web site, forum, blog, or CMS software. Link Codes are explained in detail in your Settings Panel, and make it a breeze to give your users a seamless, SSO (Single Sign-on) experience!
 
Take it to the next level with SSAX Single Site Authentication. SSAX works by calling a simple script that resides on your own server and calls your own database when a user signs-in to AddonChat. Your server then decides whether or not the calling user is permitted access and to which privilege level that user is assigned. A detailed example can be found in your Settings Panel.
 
so it may be possible to integrate it with the forums without waiting for direct IPBoard integration.
 
I think I'll drop them an email and see if we CAN integrate it through either of mechanisms - if so. it'll be number one on my list when I get back (or number two if we have the new video script by then).

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