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Ustream and LiveU Explain How to Live Stream on a Budget

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At the recent Streaming Media East show in New York City, representatives from Ustream, LiveU, Northeastern University, and Quality Tech told the audience that live streaming an event is surprisingly affordable. In fact, pricing starts around $500 or less.

The panel offered specifics on how to set up a live event, presenting a range of options. Alden Fertig, product manager of broadcasting for Ustream, went in-depth on encoding the video for distribution and where to allocate that limited budget.

"There's nuances between when someone might go to a hardware encoder and whey they may go to a more expensive software encoder, but there's a lot of people that use Flash Media Encoder. A lot of people run it command line. It's very capable software so you definitely do not have to spend a lot of money to encode a good quality stream," said Fertig. "Where you end up having to spend more money is more on your front end: cameras, capture, switching, because it's a little bit harder to do that on the cheap, I guess. Also, you want to spend money on -- this may seem like a no-brainer but spend money of capable producers. Spend money on guys that know how to shoot and know how to get great shots."

Fertig also talked about how encoding can easily become a bottleneck for live events.

"Video encoding is very CPU-intensive, so if you're using an older computer, you're definitely going to have to be very conservative with your bit rates and your frame sizes. Very conservative. I have a reasonably good Mac, I use this for all of my work stuff. It's totally fine. But, even for encoding, I can't do very much with this at all," said Fertig. "The less money you get, you have to be really conservative about trying to do HD out of the box."

For a longer look at live streaming on a budget, watch the full panel discussion below.

Down and Dirty: Live Streaming on a Budget

This panel explores the tools and techniques for streaming live on a small budget. This session discusses the entire webcasting workflow, including how to get the video signal from the site to end user; how to build an audience; when to use multi-bitrate streaming; strategies to consider for reaching mobile devices; and how to leverage social media platforms.

Moderator: Alden Fertig, Product Manager, Broadcasting, Ustream
Speaker: Imry Halevi, Video Production Manager, Athletics Department, Northeastern University
Speaker: Ken Zamkow, Director, Sales and Marketing, LiveU
Speaker: Chris Kelly, Director, Media Services, Quality Tech

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