How To Broadcast Live Video Over The Internet
Live online video transmission
How can I send live videos over the Internet? Live video broadcasts are now available everywhere. In 2020, we have seen a huge increase in live transmissions as a result of KOVID-19’s quarantine period. It can be said, however, that the pandemic only speeds up the inevitable.
In 2019 and before the pandemic, live video streams had already increased by 93%, with an average viewing time of 26.4 minutes per second.
With the current high-speed bandwidth of the Internet, it is all too clear that live video content delivered over the Internet will be an important new event. As a result, more than 55% of the companies surveyed currently use live video transmissions for both internal communication and marketing purposes. It is expected that the volume of live video streams will be much larger in the coming years.
We will learn how to efficiently broadcast live video over the internet. Some do and some don’t, and how to get the most out of your live shows.
Let’s get going.
How does Live Internet Broadcasting work?
The concept of delivering live video over the internet or OTT can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know the technical knowledge.
However, setting up a live broadcast is actually quite simple. Once you get used to it, and there are only four main pillars to discuss, you can set up your live webcast. It’s true:
- Your video and audio sources: fully understandable. Video sources can be your cameras, video files from your computers and others. The sound sources will mainly be a microphone, but also background music, mixing channels and any type of sound played in your live broadcasts.
- Encoder: The encoder encodes (i.e. converts) video files from your camera into a user-friendly format. We will discuss this in more detail below.
- Streaming platform or video hosting: where your content is broadcast live. These can be social media platforms like YouTube Live, Twitch or Facebook Live, or you can broadcast your shows live to consumers via a live platform like Viloud.
- Internet connection : As you broadcast your content on the internet, a stable and sufficiently fast bandwidth is essential. In what follows we will examine the bandwidth requirements for live broadcasts.
1. Video and sound sources
Each video stream for your live broadcast is called a video source, and the same principle applies to audio sources.
The simplest live transmission can consist of a camera and a microphone as a video source. However, more complex systems use more than two combinations of video and audio sources. In live broadcasts, the various combinations of video and audio sources are called layouts or scenes. For example, we can use two cameras and create a picture-in-picture (PIP) or side-by-side scenes/plans.
Live, it could be a video source:
- Professional DSLR class or mirrorless camera
- Video camera
- Computer monitor (with screen capture software)
- The webcam on your computer
- The camera on your smartphone
Currently, cameras are available in different price categories, ranging from just under $500 to over $20,000. Surpluses are also very important for live broadcasts, so you may need a few cameras.
The cameras/video sources you should receive depend on the content you are about to send. For example, if you want to broadcast game content where your console/PC will be the main video source, you may not need a professional DSLR camera, but a decent webcam will do the trick.
Determine your needs based on the content and get the most affordable content that can meet those needs.
It is important to note that for most viewers the quality of the sound is actually more important than the quality of the video stream. So don’t underestimate the importance of high quality audio equipment that fits your budget.
The microphones will be your main sound source. Moreover, as with cameras, microphones are now available in a wide range of price and quality. Even the built-in microphones in your camera, laptop or smartphone are now decent enough, but there are now several affordable and decent quality USB microphones for less than $500 to choose from.
If you absolutely need sound quality (i.e. if you want to broadcast live concerts), you need to invest in high quality, professional XLR microphones. In addition, if necessary, you can purchase wireless microphones to optimize your installation.
How can I transfer video and audio sources?
The basic principle of live broadcasting is to first capture the signal from your audio/video sources, which is usually done by connecting your video/audio sources to your computer (if you use a software encoder) or to a physical encoder.
Most modern cameras have an HDMI or SDI output and you can simply connect the camera to your computer or encoder with an HDMI or SDI cable. However, depending on the settings, you may need a capture card if you are using a software encoder. The capture card is connected on one side to the camera and on the other side to the computer via USB. The capture card captures the camera data in real time so that you can broadcast it live.
If you are using a USB microphone for audio sources, you can simply connect the microphone to your computer or encoder via USB. However, you need a capture card or a special audio converter to connect the XLR microphone.
2. Rotary knob
Although the concept of coding, in short, can be quite difficult to explain. It doesn’t matter: Your camera does not save the video file itself, but a continuous stream of graphics files. The encoder encodes these series of images into one homogeneous video file so that they can be broadcast live.
Anyway, that’s why encoding your live video is very important:
- Reduce file size to ensure stable live transmission, reducing buffering during video streaming.
- Allows an adaptive resolution/visualization ratio depending on the available bandwidth and the viewer’s device.
- Change the format or sound quality in real time
- Conversion of a file to suitable formats (including conversion from outdated to newer formats)
- Ensure compatibility with specific devices or software
There are two types of encoders: Hardware and software:
- Hardware encoder : A special physical device that can be portable, small or large and durable. They can also be used as a capture card and manage different inputs (usually HDMI and SDI). Generally very reliable and durable, it can transmit linearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without slowing down or crashing. In general, a hardware encoder is more expensive than a software encoder, but it is much more robust and reliable.
- Encryption software: mainly software that runs on a computer (or smartphones/tablets) They are generally more affordable than hardware encoders, but you may not get the same delay as hardware encoders. There are even free encoding options such as OBS, which is quite reliable, making it a favorite among real-time startups.
You need to choose the right encoder based on your budget and your needs. In addition, you should pay particular attention to the content you are going to send. Here are some important factors to take into account when choosing between different encoders
- Frame speed : The frame rate (measured in frames per second or fps) is the number of frames displayed per second. The larger the number, the smoother the video will be in the eyes of the audience. The standard for digital video is between 24 and 30 frames per second, and anything below this standard is considered uncomfortable. Aim for 60 frames per second if you can create smooth, realistic videos.
- For example, technically the size of the video image is measured in pixels or simply in resolution p. 1080p, which corresponds to a resolution of 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels. Go for HD quality of at least 720p if you can, but 480p (858×480 pixels) is generally considered decent enough for mobile viewing.
- Bit rate: The amount of data you download per second is measured in Kb/s (kilobits per second) or Mb/s (megabits per second). The higher the number, the smoother your live broadcast (better quality). 1000 kbps is the net minimum for live broadcasts, but 3000 kbps-5000 kbps is the norm. The bit rate determines the refresh rate, but depends on your bandwidth (we will come back to this later).
It is important to maintain the right balance between bit rate, frame rate and resolution to ensure the quality of your live broadcast.
3. Direction of flow
The destination is where viewers can watch your live programmes. You can broadcast your videos on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitch and others, or you can broadcast your videos on your own website/application.
A better, more versatile approach is to use a video-hosting platform such as Viloud, where you can stream your videos simultaneously on all major platforms. You can also get embed code that can be placed in the HTML code of your website or web application to integrate your video player.
Generally speaking, there are three main factors to take into account when selecting different flow destinations:
- Security: You need to make sure that the platform is secure, so that your content and viewers/listeners are also secure.
- Your target audience: Clearly, you need to choose a platform where your ideal audience can be found.
- Monetization : Depending on how you want to monetize your content, one platform may be more suitable for you than another. For example, if you want to broadcast content for adults, YouTube may not be the right platform for you.
4. Reliable Internet connection
The importance of a stable, live Internet connection should not be underestimated. In fact, the hardest part of developing your live show is often getting a fairly fast and stable internet connection.
Find the most suitable internet provider in your region, based on your available budget. If you can, you will always get a dedicated wired Ethernet line instead of Wi-Fi or mobile internet. Wired internet will always be more reliable than wireless internet, and don’t forget that stability is very important when surfing the internet live.
How much speed do you need? The general rule of thumb is to look at the target bit rate. Your bandwidth must be at least 1.5 times the bit rate of the target stream. For example, if your target bit rate is 3 Mbps, you will need a bandwidth of at least 4.5 Mbps. If possible, aim for at least twice the target bit rate (6 Mbps bandwidth in the same example).
Once you’re done with the four aspects discussed above, streaming live video over the internet should be a breeze. The right equipment, the right video hosting service and a reliable internet connection are the key elements for high quality live broadcasts and keep viewers close.
Although live broadcasts really are a very broad topic, and your installation can be unique. This article should help you to develop your own live installation and get started as soon as possible. Understanding these fundamental principles would greatly contribute to the creation of more complex and sophisticated live broadcasting systems.
First published on www.Techcody.com.
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