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Video: How to Gear Up for Live 360/VR Streaming

Wowza Media System Senior Solutions Engineer Tim Doughertly identifies the necessary gear and outlines the key components of an effective VR/360 live streaming workflow, from capture to stitching to ingest to encoding to delivery, with an emphasis on the bandwidth required to make it happen.

Learn more about VR/360 live streaming at Streaming Media West.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Tim: Diving right in: This is a typical workflow for virtual reality and 360 streaming. On the left, you have something that looks like it's out of a science fiction movie. That's actually a 360 camera diagram, and it's going into a video stitcher, so you have the camera with the sensors that shoots out the signal. It can be over HDMI. It can be over SDI. It could probably be even over wireless. And it goes into what's called a video stitcher, and that's where the computation takes place. That takes all of the images that are coming in, and it's amazing how they get stitched together, and it's getting better, and better, and better. When I bring up the little aura ... Excuse me, the Insta360, it's just tremendous how well the stitching works in such a small device.

So the video stitching in this place, you'll see this computer up here. It's actually kind of hard to see. It's about the size of one of those small Intel desktop computers. It's like a little, tiny, mini pizza box, personal pizza box. It's doing a ton of computation, and that thing gets hot. So the video stitcher takes care of making that 360 degree globe that you're inside, and then you push that into a streaming environment. We've got two diagrams here. One is Wowza Streaming Engine, which some of you may be familiar with. I've got that running up here, and then we also have Wowza Streaming Cloud, which functionally does the same thing, except instead of pushing it over the LAN to a computer, it's going up through the internet to someone else's computer in Amazon, or Google, or wherever your cloud transcoder's located.

So there's the processing and delivery, and what that does is it creates the distribution to scale. So once you get this gigantic pipe of bandwidth configured, and you've got this big stream going up to Wowza Streaming Engine or Wowza Streaming Cloud, you're ready to distribute it. Now I'll be honest with you, I was fooling around with this getting ready earlier, and I have a cradle point with a cellular data connection, and I was pushing it out to YouTube, and I'm going to get to that if we have time in this session. It takes an incredible amount of bandwidth to facilitate these 360 streams.

And I'm not even joking. I'm talking about insane. Well, you can set them however you want. You can set it at like 7,500 k, or 7.5 megabits. You can crank it probably up to around 12, 13, 14, but it takes a ton. I mean, it really is using that much, and so if you're a system integrator, or you're an event streamer, and somebody says, "Oh, yeah, get a 360. We'll have it out on the field." No. That's the easy part. The hard part is the bandwidth, and you've got to have plenty of it. You might be able to bond a bunch of cards together, use a live view, have some ... There's all kinds of different ways to do it, but that's one of the caveats that I would seriously offer you on this.

And then of course, you can get it out to regular desktop, you know, Chrome, Firefox, if you have a player that renders it, and then using a technology like Nex360, and that one's kind of rudimentary. And then the headset, which you've got one to take home with you today, and people will always ask you, "What is that?" It's a strange little contraption that does some pretty amazing stuff. So that's the general workflow.

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