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Review: Epiphan Pearl Production Switcher

Here's a look at how the Epiphan Pearl Production Switcher performed under pressure on live-switched keynotes at the Computers in Libraries 2016 conference in Washington, DC.

Setting up the Stream

Setting up your stream involves adding a Channel, which will include all the sources of your program, as well as configurations for encoding, streaming, and recording it. Once you’ve added a channel, click Sources in the left-hand nav bar to bring up the screen shown in Figure 4 (below). Here you’ll create one or more Layouts. In the streams I did, “Layout” was synonymous with Sources, but if you want to create a composited layout with multiple sources arranged on-screen (to show, say, the presenter and the PowerPoint at the same time), you can have multiple sources in a single layout, arranged by dragging the edges of a bounding box (again, see Jan Ozer’s tutorial for more detail).

Figure 4. Add your sources here. Click the image to see it at full size.

The Channel you see in Figure 4 is one I created in my home office for demonstration purposes, but it’s nearly identical to the one I created at the conference: one layout for each of two cameras, plus a third for the PPT, plus an opening screen to show from the time the stream goes live until the presentation begins. You can also associate one or more audio sources with each layout. Since my XLR feed was connected to my speaker MCU cam, which was connected to the Pearl via its SDI-B input, I chose SDI-B as the audio source for all of my video sources. Naturally, you’ll want to choose an audio source for each of your feeds if you want to keep the audio stream going each time you switch.

Next you set your encoding parameters (Figure 5, below). As with any live stream, you’ll probably want to do an online speed test to see what your connection can handle. I chose to encode at 720p30 at 1.5Mbps, which worked smoothly throughout the streams I did at the conference.

Figure 5. Set encoding parameters here. Click the image to see it at full size.

Next, you set up your stream (Figure 6, below). I was streaming the sessions using a Ustream channel I set up before the show, so I chose RTMP push, and pasted in settings I pulled from my Ustream Dashboard Broadcast Settings.

Figure 6. Set up your stream here.

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