Live streaming has seen a huge uptick in popularity in recent years, but it’s still a relatively new form of media. As it continues to evolve, what is live streaming and what are its benefits? Lynn Elliott, Senior Product Manager of Wirecast, is here to discuss.
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Mason Paine: It’s no secret that live streaming has exploded in popularity in recent years, but it’s also important to remember that it’s still a relatively new form of media as such. It has evolved rapidly and changed a lot over the past decade while senior product manager of Wirecast Lynn Elliott joins me to speak about all things stream.
Mason Paine: Thanks for joining me, Lynn.
Lynn Elliott: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Mason Paine: Can you explain to me how streaming works and try to use the layman’s terms?
Lynn Elliott: Yes. Sure. So live streaming is really, or the term streaming means the continuous transmission of video or audio from a host to a client. So this kind of works by breaking up the data into little bits, known as packets.
Lynn Elliott: you transmit those packets across the internet. So each packet is independently addressed and traveled separately. So imagine like, if you were trying to send a textbook to a friend, you would take out a page and send it and take out another page and send it. And these all might arrive at different times, but when it comes to streaming over the internet, Users or viewers like you, and I would use a player to kind of assemble all of those pages together in the right order, and then be able to watch that, or in this case in test textbook, read that, as a continuous piece of media.
Lynn Elliott: And so the internet has made this all possible, by the bandwidth that we have today is greatly improved over the past, you know, 20 years. And so you’re able to send more and more higher and higher quality, bits of data over the internet. So then you can, watch that, as it, as it’s live.
Lynn Elliott: So then there’s, You know, the differentiation between watching something like on from Netflix that is, you’re technically you’re streaming something it’s typically not live. It’s something that’s stored on a server somewhere. And you’re getting those bits across the internet, in their packets and watching that stored media on your player, which happens to be your TV or your iPad or wherever you watch it.
Lynn Elliott: And then as compared to what we call live streaming, which is a live event. That’s being streamed as it’s happening. Live. The streaming is technically happening in the same way it’s being encoded and sent as bits across the internet so that a player on the other end can, assemble those bits, and you can watch.
Mason Paine: Now I wanted to focus on the live streaming portion of this., what is a proper setup for that? I mean, could you just use your cell?
Lynn Elliott: Oh, yeah, sure. Lots of people use their cell phones and you can, you know, use an app like Facebook and Facebook has a feature called Facebook live. You can, you can click on that and that gives you everything you need to stream live to Facebook.
Lynn Elliott: So typically what you need is a camera and audio, and then you need internet. Of course. And then you need some sort of encoding software to take that camera and audio data, encode it into these packet. And send it across the internet to a place where somebody else can watch it. And so, yeah, you can, you can use something like that.
Lynn Elliott: The Facebook app, which has everything included, it accesses your phone, camera, microphone. It’s got the encoding software built into it, which encodes and sends to Facebook., but if you wanted something more than that, you, you would then need to kind of stumble those bits together. So you’d need to have a camera and a microphone of your own that you would need to pull into a computer.
Lynn Elliott: Usually. You can. You know, use a laptop or whatever kind of computer you have. And then you’d need some sort of encoding software to be able to take that data from your camera and microphone assemble that and encode it out. Just like the Facebook app does to your destination of choice, whether that be Facebook or some other live streaming service.
Lynn Elliott: So it’s kind of, it runs the gamut. You can really go very simple with just your phone and stream live to, you know, Facebook or YouTube, or you can, get more professional. Looking and, you know, add in other production features, which that Facebook app might not allow you to do by assembling something yourself and doing it on a computer.
Mason Paine: Now, when it comes to internet speed. Does it really matter for streaming? I know when you use your cell phone, you’re just kind of using whatever service you have, but does it matter?
Lynn Elliott: Yeah, it definitely matters. And so when it comes to internet, Two parts to it. So when you’re watching something, if I’m watching a net, you know, Netflix over my internet, that is I’m taking bits and I’m bringing them down the internet and I’m watching, I’m consuming them.
Lynn Elliott: And that’s considered your download rate when you want to create something and share. Over the internet, then what matters in that case is called upload rate. So you want to, if you’re looking at what your internet speed is, and you want to stream, you wanna pay close attention to what your upload speed is because that’s, what’s gonna matter the most when it comes to streaming.
Lynn Elliott: And so depending on. The quality of what you wanna stream the resolution and what you’re streaming. You know, if, if it’s high action, you might want, more data than if it’s just a two person interview with not a lot of movement in your video, you might not need as much data. depending on that is going to determine what the upload speed that you need.
Lynn Elliott: So I can give an example. If you wanted to stream say a, you know, 1920 by 10 80 resolution, , which is typically considered high definition at this point, interview say at 30 frames per second, then YouTube would recommend that you have 4.5 megabits per. Data rate for that. So your data rate for that video or for that stream would be 4.5 megabits megabits per second.
Lynn Elliott: But when you’re considering your upload speed, that you need to be able to transmit that 4.5, you have to account for some fluctuations. So it’s not that data rate is not gonna stay constant. Generally, and you need to account for some spikes. And so you wanna have at least 50%, if not double the amount of, upload bit rate, upload rate that you would want for your, or that you would need for, your.
Lynn Elliott: Your video for your stream. So in this example, the YouTube recommends 4.5 megabits per second. So you’d probably want around seven to nine megabits per second, upload speed for your internet to be able to handle that.
Mason Paine: So that’s where all the jokes where you’ll say like, mom, get off the internet. yeah, I need more. I need more speed.
Lynn Elliott: Yeah, exactly. there’s a lot of things you can do to, To help increase your upload speed or, or reduce the load on your internet. Like you probably don’t wanna use a wireless connection if you’re streaming, just because that can fluctuate a lot. So you’d probably wanna wire your connection.
Lynn Elliott: Yeah. And if you have a bunch of different devices on your network, you you’d probably wanna take those off if you, if you wanna stream, if you wanna, increase your upload speed or increase your, your bandwidth, So, yeah. And close access programs, let, don’t let people, you know, be, playing games on the same network that you’re trying to stream on.
Mason Paine: Now I, I know a lot of people who post on TikTok, Instagram, and it’s it’s for a lot of like, I call it the, the, for the ego. But what are the perks for live streaming content? If you’re a business?
Lynn Elliott: One of the things that came out in the pandemic, you know, is that, suddenly people couldn’t attend live events, and so corporations and companies had to find ways to connect with people in, you know, over the internet or, or remotely. And so. And I think one of the things that has come from that, even though we’re starting to open up now is people realize, wow, I can reach a much, much larger audience if I don’t have to have them physically in house, you know, or, or on the premises, through live streaming.
Lynn Elliott: Live streaming to me, has become very important for a lot of houses of worship and churches for this very reason is suddenly they can expand their potential audience, across the entire nation instead of just in their little town, and they’re finding new ways of reaching people.
Lynn Elliott: And the same thing with corporations you can, and companies, you can, do some marketing events and reach people in new ways that you were never able to do before. And also, our company is an example of this is we do a monthly live streamed meeting across our entire company. It’s an internally focused meeting, but it’s live streamed and we’re able to bring in questions from all over.
Lynn Elliott: The company and, you know, this is something that had we not had live streaming. We’ve not been able to do.
Mason Paine: Now when it comes to streaming, most people lean towards zoom or Google meet. Why do you think they would, they should use your product instead.
Lynn Elliott: So the difference between Google and zoom and Wirecast is one of, kind of production value.
Lynn Elliott: So Google and zoom are great for conferences, you know, bring in 20, 30, a hundred people into a conference and you can see people, you can ask questions, there’s lots of interaction. That’s what those programs are made for. Zoom, you know, in the case of zoom, you can also live stream that, but the live stream is going to be a live streaming of that meeting.
Lynn Elliott: Whereas Wirecast. Is a live streaming production tool. So if you wanted to make a production, look like a CNN broadcast, for example, or you know, something that you would see on TV, where you have the lower third titles, you might be switching between different camera angles. Maybe you have a, a roll in video at the beginning that kind of introduces your show.
Lynn Elliott: You might wanna play media. In the middle or, you know, do some chroma keying out of a certain guest. That’s where wirecast would come in because you’ve got these production tools built in and when you’re ready to stream, you can stream to multiple destinations at the same time. So I could go to from wire cast, I can go to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter if I wanted to.
Lynn Elliott: And I can record at the same time and I can also record isolated feeds. So if I had a camera coming in, I can record that. As a feed, as a clean feed. So no, whether that’s live or not in my show so that after the fact I can take those isolated feeds and use them in my post. Production workflow. I can create a video and maybe cut some extra clips from it that weren’t on my live show.
Lynn Elliott: So there’s a lot of different kind of production and post production elements to wire casts that you don’t get. If you’re just using a zoom call, for example,
Mason Paine: Now going to the individual, most people who livestream, I wanna say they use their cell phones. It’s just more accessible. It’s readily. The next group of people would be gamers and not just gamers, maybe like, even like the vloggers. But they would use Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and most of the time they use, OBS it’s free. Why do you think that some people should give up on OBS and go to Wirecast instead?
Lynn Elliott: Well, I mean, OBS is a. Open source software. And there are a lot of people who that’s a perfectly great solution for.
Lynn Elliott: Some people don’t want a don’t want to, use open source. There’s there’s some risk to that. We have a professional support team that you can call or email and get answers to your questions. So, a lot of people who are making money from their videos, they don’t want to rely on, you know, forums or, you know, open source software .
Lynn Elliott: They want to be able to get on the phone or get on the email and contact somebody if they have questions. So that’s one big perk of using something like Wirecast, where you have a company that backs up their product and, and is available to help. There’s also an element of, ease of use and kind of, user interface.
Lynn Elliott: I’m gonna back up for a second. There, there’s also an element of ease of use with Wirecast that. I have heard from many users is not available on OBS. OBS exposes a lot of settings and a lot of, technical details about live streaming in their software, which is great. However, if you don’t know much about video or streaming, That can be overwhelming.
Lynn Elliott: What we try to do with wire cast is we put a lot of that technical detail under the hood so that when you hook up your cameras, when you hook up things and, and fire up wire cast, you’re not having to set every little thing we make. We make choices for you based on best practices for live streaming, so that, you don’t have to be a live streaming engineer to be able to set up everything.
Lynn Elliott: We’re very intentional about our, keeping that easy to use for users. So there’s also that element of ease of use and kind being able to kind of. Get going quickly with Wirecast that, may not be there with something like OBS
Mason Paine: now recently Wirecast 15 was released. Could you tell me some of the updates that we’ll see.
Lynn Elliott: Yeah, sure. Yeah, we released Wirecast 15 about a month ago. We’re really excited. It was one of our largest, most comprehensive releases ever. So there were hundreds and hundreds of improvements and fixes in there. So one of the things that we did was we did a whole performance suite with Wirecast 15. So we went in and made lots of little teeny fixes here and there that improved the efficiency of the software on your hardware.
Lynn Elliott: So whether you’re using Mac or PC or windows, you’ll see. Market improvement in performance on your hardware with Wirecast team over previous versions and over the competition. In my opinion, we also added. Social media comment moderation. So one of the greatest things about live streaming is that you get to interact, live with an audience that is watching you live.
Lynn Elliott: And so over Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, you can now pull in those comments. That people are making on your live broadcast really easily into one moderation window, and then display those live on your live stream so that you can interact with them during your live stream and display their comments. We also added, and improved our 4k support.
Lynn Elliott: So as we get more and more 4k cameras out in the market, it became more important for us to be able to deal with that in a really efficient way. So the performance improvements that I talked about earlier that contributed to this, and we also made some improvements to the way we handle 4k media being played in Wirecast.
Lynn Elliott: And so we’re ready for any, you know, for the improvements of 4k to be streamed out as well. Another example of new feature that we added was something, what we call music mode, which is in our Renez VU conferencing system. So we have a built in conferencing system in WCA called Renez VU, and we’ve added a music mode.
Lynn Elliott: Which enables guests on a Rhonda call to play musical instruments and it removes all the noise cancellation and processing. It improves the quality of the audio and makes it stereo. So that musical instruments sound really crystal clear and this is great for any sort of performance or music performances that you wanna have with a remote guests.
Lynn Elliott: In addition to that, we, like I said, we’ve made hundreds of other fixes and improvements. This is just an example of four, the big ones that are, people are really excited about.
Mason Paine: Well, Lynn, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate you being here. And for those listening, where can they find more information about Wirecast?
Lynn Elliott: You can go to WWW.Telestream Dot Net. And slash Wirecast, Wirecast live streaming software is a product of Telestream. And, you can go to our website and download a free trial. It’s fully functional. It has watermark on it, but it’s fully functional and test out and see how it looks for you.
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