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Best Practices: 4K Capture to HD Streaming

Two of the most innovative streaming producers in the business--LiveSports' Jef Kethley and LiveX's Corey Behnke--discuss their workflows and kits for live streaming production and explain why they do it the way they do and use what they use in this clip from Streaming Media West Connect 2021.

Learn more about live streaming production at Streaming Media East 2022.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Shawn Lam: Jef, you talked about, you start with 4K 'cause that's your camera. But then down the line this signal gets processed and you're streaming probably not at 4K, but at something else. What does that signal flow look like? And what hardware is stepping down and doing format conversion? Are you using NDI, format converters, is that all within the switcher?

Jef Kethley: We're pretty much a TriCaster and Viz Vectar house for our switching solutions. Our encoding is actually going through Livestream Studios, which is a requirement from our client, because they have specific needs that Livestream Studio handles with Zixi software encoding, which is one of the things they use in their engine for final distribution. But we're 4K to the switcher. We're going over NDI. We convert out of the camera because the camera doesn't have 4K out. None of the cameras nowadays short of the BirdDogs, but we don't use those, but with any of the Panasonic cameras, we have to convert it out. So we use different NDI converters--Magewells is where we're landing on; we have a lot of NewTek converters, of course. And then we convert it to NDI. The NDI goes into our switcher, out of our switcher it's going to Livestream Studio, which is actually doing the encoding. That encoding is less than 4K, but the client wants 4K until that point. And so that's what they get when they pay for it.

So that's our workflow. And since we have that workflow in place, it helps us to be able to stream. It's not a matter of, "Can we do 4K?" It's just a matter of turning on the right profile when we're streaming out if we want to do 4K, and having, of course, the appropriate bandwidth and everything like that too. But we stay in the NDI world for the most part of it.

Shawn Lam: Okay. Corey, what about you? How does your workflow compare to that?

Corey Behnke: In our studio we have the new Kairos SMPTE 2110 switcher with the UE150 and the Techopoint system. And so that's our innovation switcher when it's like, "Hey, we want to do something 2110, because we just want to spend a lot of money and it's awesome." And it is awesome and it's cool, but primarily we have a vMix workflow with Blackmagic gear. And I think we're going to go through cameras later, but I can go through our whole camera chain line.

But we have gone to more of what I call a ""-type workflow. We are not using We're using our Virtual Video Control Room, but so much of what we do now is, we take the program, we encode it. We'll either use a Haivision encoder, a Videon encoder, or a ClearCaster encoder, or vMix. One of those four things, primarily. Sometimes Livestream Studios, full disclosure--Jef loves it when I say this--I developed Livestream Studio. So, a little shout-out to an end-of-life product that's still getting used in today's age. I think that's awesome.

And so a lot of what we're doing is distribution in the cloud. We're doing encoding, transcoding, transmixing in the cloud. What that allows us to do is have remote encoding monitors and encoding engineers. For New Year's, for instance, we send our program into Virtual Video Control Room into AWS, and then we send it out to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, all destinations, the original live stream, et cetera.

We're going more to that workflow because SRT does allow us to have the reliability of that. Everybody talks about SRT as remote contribution, but one of the things I love about SRT and I've fallen in love with for the last three or four years is its transmission over IP capabilities specifically for distribution. Primarily, we are using a primary backup encoder, SRT to the cloud, and then out to destinations for most of our shows.


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