Telestream’s Wirecast® is a cross-platform, all-in-one live streaming production software that enables capture, live production, and encoding of live streams for broadcast to multiple servers and platforms simultaneously.
Since all video content follows the same basic process to get from camera to viewer, whether it is a single input source or a multi-camera HD facility for quality recordings, the four steps in creating a live stream are the same: Capture, Encode, Distribute, and View.
To accomplish these steps a minimum of four basic components are required:
3. Streaming Server
This article will focus on Encoders with Telestream’s Wirecast® software as an example.
A Live Encoder is a hardware device or software application that captures live audio/video from camera and microphone and converts it into a format that can be streamed over the network, typically via streaming servers.
Depending upon the features required, you can either use Software or a Hardware type encoder for live events.
- Software Encoders: Software encoders provide great quality and the ability to control codec compression/decompression and provide the required bit-rate and quality, but hardware encoders take the edge when it comes to stream latency. A slight disadvantage of the Software encoders is that they take up quite a bit of resources to encode, straining the resources being used by other programs running on the server. Wirecast is one such popular Software Encoder.
- Hardware Encoders: Hardware encoders are specialized just for encoding, are dedicated hardware equipment to encode media into streamable content. This aspect alone gives them the advantage over software encoders. Unlike the Software encoders, continuous live events with high-quality streaming require hardware encoders because the hardware is built for that purpose.
Typically, all major encoders support pushing the live audio/video content to streaming servers via RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) over port 1935 so this port needs to be open between your encoder and streaming server. Note that VIDIZMO player pulls the live stream over port HTTP (Port 80) by default from the streaming server for playback, which is typically allowed and open on all public and private networks.
If you are looking for a product which is freely available for all to use and change under the GNU General Public License, you can use Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS). For more details on how OBS is used with VIDIZMO, click on How To Conduct Live Streams Using OBS.
Setting up Live Streaming using Wirecast Software
The steps shown below use the Wirecast Software to setup Live Streaming.
Telestream’s Wirecast® makes it easy to switch between multiple live camera feeds while dynamically mixing in prerecorded video, audio, graphics, and slides. You can also generate transitions, lower thirds, playlists, and other video effects for added polish. Wirecast then encodes the resulting file and sends a produced live stream to a server for distribution.
Wirecast is among the popularly known and preferred tools to use for live streaming and supports multiformat encoding while easily streaming to integrate streaming services and CDNs.
Note that VIDIZMO uses RTMP ingest to push stream from the encoder. To push live stream from the Wirecast, follow these steps:
1. Launch Telestream Wirecast® application.
2. From the top menu bar of the Wirecast application, click on the Output drop-down menu and select Output Settings.
3. A Select an Output Destination dialog box will appear:
i. Select RTMP Server as the Destination from the dropdown list.
The Destination dropdown lists many CDN’s and live streaming Websites. You need to have an account with the selected destination to use that service. The RTMP Flash Server is the default destination.
ii. Click OK to proceed.
4. The Output Settings window will open. Provide relevant information against each field:
i. Name: Enter a name or use the default settings.
ii. Destination: Selecting a Destination depends on the type of Stream you will use to push from Wirecast. For RTMP Type Servers, you do not need to change anything as Wirecast Output Settings open with RTMP Server selected by default.
If you change the preset to use another Encoder, the destination associated with it also changes as the destinations are tied to the type of codec being used.
iii. Encoding: Encoder presets enables you to select an encoder used for broadcast. If you change the preset to another encoder type, the list of destinations associated with it also change.The destinations are tied to the type of codec you are using.
Configuring Preset for Azure Media Services:
If you are using Azure Media Services, you need to create a new Preset in Wirecast. Here's how you can do it:
1. From the second drop-down field for Destination, select Azure Media Services
2. The Encoding profile Azure H.264 720p 16:9 (1280x720) is pre-selected.
Select New Preset from the gear icon to customize the settings:
3. Give the New Preset a name and configure it to use a different Encoder:
4. From the Encoder drop-down, select MainConcept H.264 as the encoder. You can leave the rest of the fields as the default settings:
v. Stream: Enter the Stream Name. Each Flash stream requires that you enter the name of the stream. This is generated automatically by the streaming source. For AMS, you have to provide the stream name.
vi. Set Credentials: Click on Set Credentials. If it is required to do so by your server, you must enter your credentials here. But if your server does not require authentication, there is no need to provide these credentials.
Wirecast can also load configuration files that have been created for Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE) using the Open FMLE XML File option. Wirecast reads the RTMP Address and Stream Name from this file, but it does not read any other configuration information from the FMLE XML file (bit rates, codec configuration, etc.).
User Agent: Although rare, some streaming services require that Wirecast presents itself as FMLE when broadcasting. By default, Wirecast correctly presents itself as Wirecast/FM 1.0.
5. Another dialog box will open prompting for the credentials to authenticate. Click on the OK button to continue. These Credentials are either generated or setup at the streaming server.
6. Once the Output Settings are complete, click OK to proceed.
- Open the Encoding settings dialog using the Settings icon and click on "View Details"
- In the Encoding Presets dialog, ensure that "Key frame every..... frames" field is set to "60", as this is the general standard for most streaming servers.
7. Back on the main Wirecast interface, from the bottom pane for adding videos, click on Add icon and select Add Video Shot option.
8. Once you have selected a video shot from local storage:
i. Click on the Go icon. This will take the contents of Preview (left screen) and make them Live using the current transition.
ii. Click on the Stream icon.
Live Streaming of the video starts. You can now make this Live Stream available to your viewers from the VIDIZMO Channel.
To learn more about how scheduling Live Webcasts work in VIDIZMO using various streaming formats, click here on How To Create Live Streams Using Wowza Streaming Cloud and How To Configure Live Streaming Using Multicast.
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