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How Lightstream Makes Live Streaming Production Work in the Cloud

Lightstream's Stu Grubbs discusses Lightstream's cloud-native live video production architecture in this clip from Esports & Sports Streaming Summit at Streaming Media West 2019.

Learn more about cloud live production at Streaming Media's next event.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Stu Grubbs: What Lightstream is is an entirely cloud-native live video production studio, and architecture. So, it is essentially on one end, a browser-based production studio where you can go in, drag and drop, go live, and you don't need to understand everything that everyone in this room understands about how to make video on the internet to start creating content, but then we make that entire architecture available via an API, so that advanced producers, other companies like LiveU can extend their platform with our cloud compositing services. I think that's the big difference between us and other things is that we don't simply route video we receive, you're actually able to manipulate that in the cloud, and, instead of bringing it back down to make any changes that you might need. So, I can stop there for any questions but I have some examples of how that gets used too.

[Audience Member] Yeah, yeah, and I understand one of your examples is outside sports world, right, you've done a lot with music production.

Stu Grubbs: Yeah, a little bit. In Chicago, we had a couple music venues approach us thinking we were a production company, not a software and technology company, but I thought the problem set was interesting and so I offered to do it in my spare time, and so what we ended up doing was setting up live streaming for some of these venues where they would live stream the opening acts of an event that evening, in an attempt to stream that to Facebook to see, on their page, for the venue, say hey, this is what's happening tonight, here's a little taster of what's going on, and then they would say hey, the stream's gonna cut off at 9:00 p.m. If you wanna see the headliners, you should make your way into the venue. The first time we did that, we went in, the venue made all sorts of promises, and as soon as we went live, people couldn't process credit cards faster than four or five minutes, turns out they had the entire POS system on the same network that we were live streaming on, so we brought down, we literally brought down the house. So that, so that was when I threw up my phone as our first cellular streaming experience, was me throwing up a hotspot and blowing through my data plan. We had a... really simple setup to be honest with you. What we do at Lightstream in general, we work with thousands of creators that are working on an individual basis. These are people streaming with a backpack. Everybody else up here does a far more advanced and higher production levels.

What we're trying to do is make it accessible for the individual creator that's doing this for a number of different reasons, and so my own setup was very simple for this. It was a very simple Canon camera with an XLR input off the soundboard, and I hooked that up through an Elgato Cam Link, into a small laptop that I had there, and I think at that time I decided to run OBS, because we thought we should just do it all local, so what we ended up doing, and where this advanced was, that first night I used my own phone as the hotspot, and that did not work out well for my bills, but, the next time was when I was introduced to some friends over at LiveU, and we ended up building what we are today, so, up and out of the venue, it was really the main goal on-premise. How do we get this camera feed and the sound at a high quality level, out of this challenging environment, and into the cloud? And then somebody, even me, even my phone, but we, I had somebody back at home, one of my co-founders, was able to log into our stuff, see my feed, add on all the alerts, overlays, and things that you would want to add, but he wasn't bringing my video feed down, he was sending those instructions into our cloud video engines, where those were composited on and then switching scenes.

One of the benefits of what we've built is that, I would lose signal from time to time just because, if any of you have ever been to Chicago, most of the venues are these really old buildings that, even the cellular bonding has a hard time getting through, but when I would go down we actually keep, our cloud video engines actually keep the stream live, waiting for a reconnection from me, and so we were able to actually produce, but our number one goal is always, especially for individual creators, I think you guys, I don't know if you've met DasValdez?

Das uses our stuff from time to time. He does this thing called Space Kerbal Academy, where he does live streams of a lot of the rocket launches, and he's live on site and he's kind of, it's almost an educational stream on Twitch, if that makes sense, and so he's doing tours all around the venue and, we were working with him on the USS Midway, and he wandered inside of the ship, and of course, as a big steel ship does, cut off all signal, but his stream was able to stay live, still communicate to his audience, didn't go away, the channel didn't go down, and as soon as he walked back out of the ship, there was Das again re-explaining it, and so that's, but yeah, as small streamers, our number one goal is get, get the video, get the content, up and out of wherever you are that's challenging, and try to keep the production in the cloud, and don't bring it down again.