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SMW '19: Peyote Perryman Talks Bonded Streaming and Bass Fishing

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media West 2019, I'm Tim Siglin, Contributing Editor with Streaming Media Magazine and the Founding Executive Director of the not-for-profit HelpMe! Stream. Today I've got with me Peyote Perryman, and Peyote, what's the name of your company?

Peyote Perryman: Digital P Media.

Tim: And what does the P stand for?

Peyote: Well, I like to say that it stands for Production or Post or Perfect, but really it stands for Peyote. It was like my nickname as a freelancer, people would shorten Peyote down to P--

Tim: To p, okay.

Peyote: And then they started saying, "Hey, what's up Digital P?"

Tim: Nice, nice--

Peyote: And so when I went to name the company, I'm like, I think I'll just go with Digital P.

Tim: All right, very good, and people in the industry who knew you prior to that, know what it means because that is your nickname. So what does Digital P do?

Peyote: Digital P, the primary core of what we do, is kinda we help broadcast partners. So we've been producing shows for NBC Sports, ESPN, Discovery, Outdoor Channel, WVN for a long time, but in the last four or five years we've started getting into streaming--

Tim: Okay.

Peyote: For our biggest partner which is FLW, which is Fishing League Worldwide.

Tim: Sure.

Peyote: Or Professional Bass Fishing. So for them we've been producing a TV show for 10 years, we were trying to find a way to really extend the work that we were already doing, we were already out on the boats with cameras bringing back lots of footage, if we could only figure out a way to stream that, then we could create more content for our partner at an incremental cost increase. And that was my pitch to them five years ago, I'm like we'll go from 12 hours of content a year to 134 hours of content in a year for a nominal increase in budget.

Tim: Interesting, so part of my background, back in the early 2000s worked with a streaming idea around NASCAR and fishing, I got to go to the Shot Show, I had never been there. And there's a guy named Bill Dance who was on the board, who's a fishing guy from Tennessee.

Peyote: A legend.

Tim: Yeah, where I live, so I would go around with him, and Ron Martin and some of these other guys would be there, and so I actually lived on one of the bass fishing lakes Tims Ford, which is in southern Tennessee. Obviously you've got a fairly wide area to cover if you're out on a boat trying to stream, so is it live streamed or is it recorded and then brought back and made available later?

Peyote: So we are able to livestream the show.

Tim: Okay.

Peyote: Using bonded cellular.

Tim: Yeah, bonded signal.

Peyote: But we were looking at a lot of different options for that bonded cellular knowing that, was what's going to work for us out on a boat. And we really wanted something that, wasn't gonna put a backpack on a camera guy's shoulder cause the guy's gonna be in the boat for eight hours. It starts at 6:30 in the morning and they don't come in until 3:30 in the afternoon.

Tim: For the weigh-ins and that.

Peyote: Yeah, for their weigh-ins. And so, we wanted to have a camera that could stream, have a built-in encoder, you know there's a couple of like, we wanna be a small footprint, we want to be reliable, we wanna be able to exist in any kind of weather condition because once these guys take off on the water they go 50 miles in any direction and 75 miles an hour to get to their fishing hole and our camera guys bouncing along with them, and then as soon as they stop to start making that first cast he's got to be up and live streaming--

Tim: Sure, ready to go, and he needs to be out of the way, as you said, small-footprint, that kind of thing.

Peyote: Right. You're living on a twenty-foot bass boat JVC had a couple different options for that, they had a camera that could that had a really good encoder system at a low bit rate, that would operate on just a single WiFi, like a little MiFi spot, and so for the first year that's what we did. But then we were like looking for something a little bit more robust because what would happen is we would be on a lake with good ATT service but not good Verizon service, so we would send the camera guys with two cards, we'd be like "okay, it's time to swap cards!"

Tim: Yeah, yeah right.

Peyote: So when we got the bonded cellular we could now have both networks covered and we could put in a high gain antenna and we could move it away from the camera guy's head.

Tim: Does the high-gain antenna actually attach to the boats, or temporarily attach to the boats so that you have a longer antenna by using a cable plus the high gain antenna itself?

Peyote: No, we've talked about that, but these guys are on their own boats so again, we have to be a completely portable package. So, camera guy walks up and the unit has a high gain antenna and he can just put that right behind the driver seat or right down on the floorboard. He turns it on, it's got a lithium-ion Anton/Bauer-style battery, it'll run all day. And then he can just hit "go live" on the camera, and then he never stops going live. At that point we stream five cameras, nine hours. The only time it stops is if there is sometime, they'll drive through a dead spot, and so then they'll have to...

Tim: I was thinking about the lake that I used to live on there were a couple dead spots, you know when we'd been going out. So does it also then record locally, so that if they do hit those dead spots you've still at least got the footage from that?

Peyote: We still can, we continue to make the TV show and we're using, basically if every camera's rolling it's kinda like our ISO feed. So the camera is rolling to an SD card at 1080p, 50 megabit while it's also streaming out to us, and then we're bringing that through a service called Zixi, they have cloud encoding forward error correction.

Tim: Right, forward error correction.

Peyote: That brings it to our server where we then, we've really built it around a lot of NewTek products and the TriCaster, they have it's called a Connect Pro and the Connect Pro can take just about any feed and convert that into an NDI signal. And then from there we send it to NewTek's 3Play Systems so that we've got replay capability or just any kind of a feed that we need to feed to those, and then we've also got the TriCaster. We use the TC1, for a couple of reasons... we started with an older one and we found that, it wasn't as robust on NDI but the TC1 handles the NDI--

Tim: And I think if I remember correctly they won a Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award this morning for the TC1.

Peyote: I would believe, yeah, we love the TC1. Our relationship with NewTek has been really solid, they've been good partners in trying to help us put together a system because our decision was once we go, if we're gonna get this camera signal and convert it, into an IP stream we're gonna try to stay IP all the way throughout.

Tim: All the way, yeah.

Peyote: And not convert it back to an SDI signal unless we have to.

Tim: Now clearly what's coming off the boat though, isn't at the high-data rate NDI, so as you said you're bringing it in as a stream, and then converting it into an NDI endpoint.

Peyote: Yeah, right, the Zixi stream, we vary our... The portable bridge that we use which is really a Peplink product that JDC uses, that can handle up to 10 megabits, so we actually have the camera guy connect his phone wirelessly to the hotspot and we use Discord app as our way of communication, so we have two-way comm with all the camera guys, with the drone operator, with the field producer, but then we have the camera set at usually anywhere from one-and-a-half to three-megabit and so we can do, we usually try to keep it at a 720p stream, we found that that signal is pretty solid, the picture's really good, we've experimented with 1080.

Tim: The problem is, you get toward the upper end of what it's capable of handling if there's any variation on the data network itself,

Peyote: Exactly.

Tim: you start losing part of the signal.

Peyote: And where we go tests the limits of cell service in America.

Tim: Yep, trust me, I still live in those areas. I tried to explain to my clients in Silicon Valley that 10 minutes outside my door I'm not gonna get cell service for 15 minutes 'cause I'm going through the mountains, and they're like, "Is that really a thing in America still?" I'm like, "it is very much a thing for a lot." So, one other quick question on that, you talk about the package that you put on the boat there's obviously a lot of telemetry involved on the boats themselves, you know, depth finders that kind of thing, is there a future model that says you could tie that data in to send it through on the stream so that if you wanted then to present to somebody who's watching it on a stream you know, that data going along with it to help them, on their fishing experience, that might come into play?

Peyote: That's an interesting question. It's one that we, it's at the heart of professional bass fishing, which is how much information is too much information? Because these guys, if you think about a professional bass fisherman, he's competing based on his knowledge and skill and his ability to read the conditions. And we're broadcasting it live. And so there's some fishermen that don't think that we should show the map location of where they are.

Tim: Because they don't want somebody else coming in.

Peyote: Much less show the contour of the lake or the e exact, you know, water temperature that they're looking for. It's a struggle. We try to balance it. We try to say here's what the viewer wants to see and here's what we need to preserve for your competitive advantage--

Tim: Yet if you think about it, there was a presentation this morning where one of the guys from NASCAR was on there, and he talked about the fact that fans for 20 years have rented the radio headset to listen to the pit crew captain, the driver, the spotter, you know that every other racer out there, has somebody probably listening in on the major competitors and yet the racing continues. Though, I understand it's definitely a balance.

Peyote: I try to explain that same kind of thing to these professional anglers and I'll tell them, I'm like, "Look, you could tell me every single thing that you're doing, give me your bait, give me everything, I'm gonna go out on the water, I'm not gonna have the same success because I don't have the... I don't compete at the same level you do."

Tim: Sure, and this is what I'm wondering, is if almost is an after the fact, help me if I'm a fisherman, not during the tournament, but to have that telemetry to understand where to go if I'm going as an amateur fisherman rather than a professional, you know a couple weeks later or something.

Peyote: We make every livestream, we livestream across a couple different platforms we're on flwfishing.com which is like the main home base of the feed, but we also multicast to YouTube and Facebook Live. The YouTube one is archived and then, so people can go back and watch. And they can kinda really start to break down an area and listen and look at what a guy does, and we've seen is when another major tournament is getting ready to happen on that same body of water, all of a sudden people are watching that stream or watching our ... we also put our TV show on there on YouTube as well. All of a sudden that TV show where we do because the TV show comes out like five weeks later, it gives us more time to build some more of that detail and we give more details about the style of baits and all that. There's always a spike in viewership right about two weeks before a major tournament happens--

Tim: That's gonna happen at that particular time--

Peyote: So we know that people in the bass fishing world are using live streaming, they're using the Internet, they embrace technology as a competitive advantage.

Tim: Sure, got it, awesome.

Peyote: Well at least they think of it as a competitive advantage.

Tim: Right, well Peyote, thank you very much for your time here and we'll be right back with our next interview.

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