Cheesehead TV Streams to Fans Live From Packers Training Camp
To load graphics into Live:Air, we downloaded images from Google Drive to the iPad’s “Photos” app, from which we could add to Live:Air. Though Live:Air’s font choices are somewhat limited, we found one close to our standard show font. We used some of Live:Air’s attractive switcher features, such as picture-in-picture and multiview for our two-box and quad-box looks.
For our training camp coverage, we used audio from the Sony PMW-300 and set it up so I could control it manually. We set this in the “Audio” section of Live:Air by turning off the audio from the other cameras.
Finally, we set the output to stream to our Livestream event. When logged into our Livestream account, Live:Air loaded the available events in our account. For the encoder settings, I went with manual (the preset options are 1080p, 720p, 480p, 240p, and Manual). Because of the sub-3Mbps upload speed of our 4G card, I chose these settings:
- Resolution: 540p
- Frame rate: 30 fps
- Video Bitrate: 1000Kbps
- Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps
- Encoder Profile: Baseline
- Keyframe interval: 2 seconds
- Enable Adaptive Bitrate: Yes
In our preproduction battery of tests, all units lasted approximately 2 hours. Since all our gear had been set up for the tests, it took less than 15 minutes to start up the devices and get them dialed in and ready to stream. Because of the Live:Air’s graphics capabilities, we could go live with a slate as we walked to the practice field. While I covered practice with the Sony PMW-300 as the feature camera, Micozzi could be up to 100 feet away switching video from my camera, the iPad camera, and his head-mounted GoPro. Our viewers were blown away. For many Packers fans around the world, this kind of access was the next best thing to being there.
LiveX’s live coverage workflow
The first day we streamed, we had five dropouts of the stream that I attribute to the 4G card. In each case, we recovered within seconds. Live:Air alerts you when the stream goes down, and it is as easy as pressing the “Go Live” button on the screen’s top right to restore. The second day, we streamed for almost 2 hours with only three drops. The longest uninterrupted stream time was more than an hour.
In terms of coverage, our goals were for our viewers to experience a taste of what it’s like to be a fan at training camp and also enable them to simultaneously see reactions of experts giving quick takes on the day’s practice. We used our two-box multiview extensively, showing Packers players riding the kids’ bikes to the stadium in one box, side-by-side with Nagler conducting one-question interviews of Packers beat reporters in the other box. To end each stream, we featured an exclusive in-depth interview with a reporter for a longer discussion on team developments.
Live X’s coverage team in action. (Note the six antennas on the wireless router.)
The reaction from our audience was tremendously positive. Responses on social media and on our live blog reached their highest levels of engagement.
Despite the fact that we did not extensively promote our live coverage in advance, our traffic increased 75 percent over last year, with thousands of satisfied Packers fans getting more immediate and rewarding coverage of their favorite NFL team throughout several critical, season-predicting days.
Tips and Takeaways
We had fun trying this setup, and I would definitely use it again, especially with tight coverage windows, events on the run, or when looking to add value to current coverage.
An interesting takeaway was that the live show in the brewery required more than six large pelican cases of equipment, while the Teradek Live:Air system took only a backpack and one pelican case for the PMW-300 camera (and it’s easy enough to replace the PMW-300 with a much smaller camera or even an iPhone with a mic accessory). The ability to be portable and still be live, and be able to switch multiple cameras with graphics, picture-in-picture, multiview, and on-the-fly lower-thirds elevates the coverage and changes the definition of what it means to cover live events.
This is clearly only the beginning of where wireless iPad streaming can and will go.
A two-box multiview in Livestream Studio (left) & Teradek Live:Air (right) allowed us to maintain a consistent look.
QUICK TIPS FOR WIRELESS MULTICAMERA SWITCHING AND STREAMING:
- Configure your router with the 4G card ahead of time.
- Bring many USB power packs to support the VidiUs, GoPro, etc., as they will allow longer life.
- Wear earbuds to monitor audio while switching on iPad.
- Note that dense Wi-Fi environments could present a challenge.
For more information, including all of our coverage and how-to videos, visit livex.tv/ipadstreaming.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Streaming Media magazine as “Live From Packers Training Camp.”
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