With some difficult times ahead and the need for most of us to minimise contact with others there has never been a greater need for streaming and online video services that now.
I’m setting up some streaming gear in my home office so that I can do some presentations and online workshops over the coming weeks.
I am not an expert on this and although I did recently buy a hardware RTMP streaming encoder, like many of us I didn’t have a good setup for live feeds and streaming.
So like so many people I tried to buy a Blackmagic Design Atem, which is a low cost all in one switcher and streaming device. But guess what? They are out of stock everywhere with no word on when more will become available. So I have had to look at other options.
The good news is that there are many options. There is always your mobile phone, but I want to be able to feed several sources including camera feeds, the feed from my laptop and the video output from a video card.
OBS to the rescue!
The good news is that there is a great piece of open source software called OBS – Open Broadcast System and the Open Broadcast Studio streaming software.
OBS is s great piece of software that can convert almost any video source connected to a computer into a live stream that can be sent to most platforms including Facebook and YouTube etc. If the computer is powerful enough it can switch between different camera sources and audio sources. If you follow the tutorials on the OBS website it’s pretty quick and easy to get it up and running.
So how am I getting video into the laptop that’s running OBS? I already had a Blackmagic Mini Recorder which is an HDMI and SDI to thunderbolt input adapter and I shall be using this to feed the computer. There are many other options but the BM Mini Recorders are really cheap and most dealers stock them as well as Amazon. it’s HD only but for this I really don’t need 4K or UHD.
Taking things a step further I also have both an Atomos Sumo and an Atomos Shogun 7. Both of these monitor/recorders have the ability to act as a 4 channel vision switcher. The great thing about these compared to the Blackmagic Atem is that you can see all your sources on a single screen and you simply touch on the source that you wish to go live. A red box appears around that source and it’s output from the device.
So now I have the ability to stream a feed via OBS from the SDI or HDMI input on the Blackmagic Mini Recorder, fed from one of 4 sources switched by the Atomos Sumo or Shogun 7. A nice little micro studio setup. My sources will be my FS5 and FX9. I can use my Shogun as a video player. For workflow demos I will use another laptop or my main edit machine feeding the video output from DaVinci Resolve via a Blackmagic Mini Monitor which is similar to the mini recorder but the mini monitor is an output device with SDI and HDMI outputs. The final source will be the HDMI output of the edit computer so you can see the desktop.
Don’t forget audio. You can probably get away with very low quality video to get many messages across. But if the audio is hard to hear or difficult to understand then people won’t want to watch your stream. I’m going to be feeding a lavalier (tie clip) mic directly into the computer and OBS.
I think really my main reason for writing this was really to show that many of us probably already have most of the tools needed to put together a small streaming package. Perhaps you can offer this as a service to clients that need to now think about online training or meetings. I was lucky enough to have already had all the items listed in this article, the only extras I have had to but are an extra thunderbolt cable as I only had one. But even if you don’t have a Sumo or Shogun 7 you can still use OBS to switch between the camera on your laptop and any other external inputs. The OBS software is free and very powerful and this really is the keystone to making this all work.
I will be starting a number of online seminars and sessions in the coming weeks. I do have some tutorial videos that I need to finish editing first, but once that’s done expect to see lots of interesting online content from me. Do let me know what topics you would like to see covered and subject to a little bit of sponsorship I’ll see what I can do.
Stay well people. This will pass and then we can all get back on with life again.
I’ll be running a couple of FX9 workshops in Denmark. The first in Copenhagen on March 3rd and the second in Viborg on April 2nd.
Really excited about this PXW-FX9 event in Dubai on the 14th of January at 5pm. Garage Studios are building us 3 amazing film sets full of props, great actors with great period costumes. This won’t be a PowerPoint presentation, we will shoot a short film, grade the material, showing all the FX9’s key features. It will challenge the camera. It will probably challenge me! It will be fun, you will be surprised. I’m not going to reveal the film subject yet, so come join us if you can.
For a little insight into what we are planning – it won’t be this but it’s similar – Here’s a video of a previous Sony event at Garage Studio: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=716820215493428
Want to know more about the PXW-FX9? Why not come to one of the half day sessions I will be presenting at in London on October 16th. We will have a camera and there will be sessions on what’s new, plus your chance to see the beautiful images this camera produces.
For a place in the morning session CLICK HERE.
For a place in the afternoon session CLICK HERE.
I will be in Stockholm on October the 9th to demonstrate the new PXW-FX9 as part of Sony’s FX9 roadshow. There is a morning and an afternoon session. For more information and to book a place on the morning session please CLICK HERE.
I will be showing the FX9 at further events in Sweden, Holland and Norway in October so keep an eye out for the info on these. I will also be in Canada at the end of November for workshops in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Last week I did an almost 2 hour long Webinar with Visual Impact on Gamma and gamma curves. The webinar was recorded and you can view the full session by following the link below.
Tomorrow (December 12th) I am doing an online webinar in association with Sony and Visual Impact on gamma curves, what they do, which to use etc. So if you want to know more follow the link below to sign up for this free online interactive session.
I will be doing a couple of free interactive Webinars with Visual Impact in July. The first is on ProRes Raw looking at what it is, the equipment you will need and how to shoot with it.
The second is about my practical experiences shooting with a Sony Venice using the version 2 firmware.
Both webinars will feature a Q&A session where you will be able to ask questions online. You will find the full details about both webinars by following the links above, including how to register. The webinars are free but registration is required to obtain the login details for the events.
There are still spaces at the Interfoto Video Camp in Oslo next week. I will be there on Wednesday to give a presentation on how I use various Sony cameras including the A7s, PXW-Z90 and PXW-FS5 and FS7. In addition I will be talking a bit about HDR and how I shoot the Northern Lights. In the evening I’m going to give a talk on my career, how I got started, some of the things that help me get to where I am today and where I plan on going from here.
As well as myself there are many other speakers with presentations on all kinds of topics from video production and sound to streaming and gimbals. For more details please click here.