Tutorial: Streaming Video Conferences with Telestream Wirecast Rendezvous
Few things seem easier on the TV news than side-by-side displays of two or more talking heads, but achieving this effect has been a huge hassle for live streaming producers without the budget for extra hardware. In early 2017, vMix added a video conferencing feature named vMix Call to version 19, and now Telestream has done the same with Rendezvous in Wirecast 8. In this article, I’ll detail how to use Rendezvous in Wirecast 8.
First, some product-related details. There are two versions of Wirecast, Studio ($695) and Pro ($995). Studio can support up to two guests plus the host, while Pro can accept seven guests plus the host, bandwidth and CPU permitting in both cases. That is, add 4 Mbps of upload/download bandwidth for Rendezvous in Studio, and 5 Mbps up and down in Pro. According to what we heard from Telestream, additional guests don’t boost bandwidth requirements, but may reduce video quality. The minimum recommended CPU for Studio is an i5 quad-core, while Pro requires an i7 quad-core.
Under the hood, Rendezvous works using WebRTC. You’ll send a link to your guests, which they must open in a WebRTC-compatible browser. Telestream recommends the latest version of either Chrome or Firefox.
I’ve used Rendezvous for two conferences now, one with Guido Meardi and Fabio Murra of V-Nova, and the other with Bitmovin’s Stefan Lederer, above. There are two basic tasks involved: connecting with your guests, and creating your shot. I’ll present both below.
By “shot,” I mean composing the side-by-side display that you’ll push out to your streaming target or targets. As you’ll see, Telestream has enhanced the shot making process with title templates that are perfect for two-person conferencing.
If you’re an experienced Wirecast user, you’ll find both tasks simple, and should be able to skip the second section. If you’re new to Wirecast, you’ll also find the connection side simple, but creating the shot, which is critical for presentation, is more challenging. Count on at least 30 minutes’ setup time to understand Wirecast’s operation and how to create shots.
From a workflow perspective, you should create your shot first, since this is the time-consuming step you can perform before you invite your guest. Then, invite your guest(s), make the connection, drop their videos into the shot, and go live.
Through its Rendezvous feature, Telestream's Wirecast was one of the first video mixers to enable completely customizable multiple-party conferencing in 2017. Telestream has upgraded the feature's functionality in several subtle but critical ways, which I'll discuss in this article.
Available at the end of this month, Wirecast 7 reduces CPU demands for live event encoding and distribution, and includes a redesigned user interface.
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