I’ve been playing around with some of my gear to see if I can create the “best” live streaming setup with the gear I have on hand, i.e., readily available. I’m just posting to let y’all know my process. BTW, this ISN’T an “I love BlackMagic Design” post. All items were purchased by me without any consideration given by BMD. Just saying…
The Gear in use…
I have access to a BlackMagic Design ATEM Production Studio 4K (BMD PS4K) unit, recently upgraded to the 7.0 firmware. It can accept 4 HDMI inputs, 4 SDI inputs, 2 still stores, 2 color outputs, and 1 color bars. It can mix, wipe, cut, and key between all of these sources and output a finished mixed program. (BMD Production Studio 4K)
I use three Sony PXW-X70 camcorders with SDI outputs as my three main cameras, 2 Panasonic Lumix GH4’s as additional cameras via 2 of the HDMI inputs, and a laptop (via another HDMI input) to display webpages, video clip playback, etc. The laptop has Photoshop installed which allows me to create and upload graphics to the PS4K still stores.
Program output is sent to my BlackMagic Design Video Assist 4K (BMD VA4K) recorder/monitor (BMD VideoAssist 4K) via HDMI with looping output to a USB3 version of the BMD Intensity Shuttle. The shuttle is then connected to my desktop computer (Windows 10) via USB3 and captured by the Open Broadcaster Studio application (free!!). Once setup up, OBS connects to YouTube on the same computer to live stream.
Putting Theory into Practice…
To test out the system, I connected a couple of X70 cameras, and the laptop into the PS4K. There’s network/IP connections to worry about but I won’t go into that on this post. One thing I DO have to consider is that ALL inputs MUST be the same size and frame rate! I selected 1080p60 because of the laptop’s limited output options.
The HDMI program output went into the VA4K which, miraculously, adjusted itself to the frame rate coming from the PS4K! I didn’t record this time, I just wanted to test the system. Another HDMI cable from the loop out on the VA4K and into the Intensity Shuttle. I used BMD’s included software (Media Express) to check the signal coming into my desktop. I immediately saw no image! Sh*t… Something was wrong! I could see a signal coming out of the monitor, but nothing on the Media Express software. After double checking connections, I swapped out one HDMI cable and, viola! I have a signal! The HDMI cable I was suing to connect to the Shuttle was bad… so I tossed it!
***NOTE: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR CABLES!!!***
Now that I had a signal, I started the OBS Studio, selected the Intensity Shuttle as my source and opened a browser window with YouTube. I clicked “Start Streaming” and… nothing.
***NOTE: ALWAYS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!***
Now came the major consternation time. What was wrong? I looked at OBS and could see nothing wrong. I was getting a signal. I finally looked at YouTube and saw that I needed to get a livestream key and put in into OBS. Sh*t…
Copy and Paste is your friend! I copied the key, and placed it into the settings area of OBS after selecting YouTube/YouTube Gaming as my streaming platform and tried again. This time it worked! I was Livestreaming… but without sound! I had overlooked the audio process. Within OBS I could add another source for my desktop audio interface (where my mic is located) and record audio from there. But I’m savng that for another day (tonight?)
Conclusions, for now…
This setup, once all the settings and cabling are correct, will work to produce a nice multi-camera livestreaming experience… with a few caveats.
- This setup isn’t really designed for a “one-man band” style broadcast. In addition to the on camera talent, I would need, at a minimum, a Technical Director (TD) to switch the show live. This is assuming all cameras are locked down and unmanned. It would be nice to also have a “Producer” who is managing live questions from the livestream audience via YouTube and maybe even handling graphics?
- Audio issues (maybe?) If I use my desktop audio interface, will there be a sync or delay issue with the cameras coming from the BMD PS4K? Probably. I could use the dual XLR inputs on the X70 cameras for audio, making sure that “audio-follows-video (AFV)” is turned off in the PS4K. I’ll have to test this out.
- I need to streamline the process a bit if I want to take this show on the road. What bits are truly necessary? What can I leave off?
- I am streaming now using my home network connection. How will this work, what settings should I use to make it work on location using wifi or other method? Can I ever connect using Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube via my phone? If so, how?
Rest assured that I’ll be delving into those issues as well to come up with a viable solution, if it is at all possible. Stay tuned!