Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn

Review: Livestream Studio HD51

Livestream Studio HD51, the latest production switcher from Livestream, adds HDMI as an available input, and packs several key features recently added to Livestream's Studio software including PiP and the ability to input remote desktops from other Windows computers and live Livestream feeds as video sources.

Media Playback

One of the key features of any video switcher is the ability to play disk-based video files. When I last looked at Studio, I had issues importing H.264 files for playback in Studio’s media players. Livestream fixed the problem and expanded this functionality; basically, now any file that Media Player can play, Studio can import. Note that the program converts all files to Blackmagic Designs MJPEG for playback, which can take a few minutes for longer files. If you’ll be playing back long files during your production, you should definitely start importing them as soon as possible.

Figure 5 (below) shows one of the two Media Players used to play back disk-based files or a list of files. As you can see, you can select Autoplay, on the bottom left of player, to start playback as soon as you take Media Player goes live. The list immediately to the right of the Autoplay button triggers playlist playback, where all files play in sequence; otherwise, Studio plays only the selected file.

Figure 5. One of two Media Players with Autoplay, queuing and play list features. Click the image to see it at full size.

Ad Insertion

Another new feature is advertising insertion. If you have a Livestream Enterprise plan, you can insert your Google DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) ID and trigger a mid-roll advertisement at the appropriate points in your event. Figure 6 (below) shows the configuration screen for the advertisements. You can set them automatically as shown, or manually trigger them via an Insert Advertising button beneath the T-bar on the upper right of the Studio interface.

Figure 6. Here’s where you control mid-roll advertisements.

Instant Replay During the Event

One of the coolest new features in Studio is the ability to carve out chunks of video that you’re recording and play them back during the event; a make-shift instant replay. Here’s how this works.

Studio has the ability to record up to four isolated recording, or ISO streams, as shown in Figure 7 (below). The Program stream (dirty) shown on the bottom is the final mixed feed with all graphics and overlays; the Program stream (clean) is the same mixed feed without the overlay graphics-like bugs, which is useful when you want a pristine version of the mix for later editing. You can also record up to two camera inputs in their original form.

Figure 7. Choosing the ISO streams to record.

Once you start recording, the streams appear in Media Player, which is shown in Figure 8 (below)--the ISO recording is the bottom feed on the left with the red recording light. During the recording, you can use the player controls shown on the bottom of the frame on the right to select in and out points in the clip. Then you queue the selected clip into the mix as you would any disc-based file. Livestream could certainly add some interface controls to make an instant replay feature simpler to implement, and probably will, but the functionality is already there.

Figure 8. Choosing a clip to replay. I know, I know, rule of thirds positioning is off, and the scene is backlit. I’ll do it better next time. Click the image to see it at full size.

Related Articles
With the introduction of its Studio software, Livestream set out to compete with more established live switchers like NewTek's TriCaster 40. So how does the newcomer stack up against the old pro?
How the Canon XA25 and Livestream Broadcaster proved a straightforward and effective no muss, no fuss solution for live streaming of a series of trade conference with little ramp-up time or gear-up budget.
This tutorial provides a quick overview of how to mix multiple cameras, graphic overlays, and other media in the new version of Livestream Studio, as well as how to record isolated video program feeds, and configure your stream and send it out via Livestream or other RTMP-compatible streaming providers.