Canberra Players League’s All Star Game 2009

Posted by on August 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm.

This season’s CPL All Star game was a great opportunity to give Livestream.com a test run. I’d given live streaming a go with Ustream.tv a while back broadcasting Friday Night Live, but Livestream does a bunch of stuff on-site that I’d otherwise have to use CamTwist to do (multiple cams, on-screen graffics). Good news for windows users who don’t really have an affordable CamTwist-like tool.

As with any broadcast, upstream bandwith was an issue. I was using a Virgin Mobile 3G USB key, which at the AIS reported full-strength connection, but the video shows it wasn’t enough. (Updated to add: Poking around the control panel reveals a FPS setting I hadn’t discovered and will have to test next time)

Audio will also be a consideration next time too. I was just using the MBP’s inbuilt mic, but was getting too much of myself and those around me. A directional mic (for a start I’ll try using my Zoom H2) will be employed in future.

Vision was provided by a Logitech Quickcam Sphere. Using it on the mac was ok, but I suspect that using it with the more capable windows software (which I think enables pan & tilt control of the camera) might produce better results. Happy to see that the BT-1 is now shipping; may get a pair to test. I think that for sports capture/streaming, I might need to get a good video camera with fast zooming, focus and feed it to the mac via firewire. I’d wanted to do a multi-cam test with a second Sphere I have, but ran out of USB ports.

So the final product was pretty random, but it was a good learning experience. My checklist for next time will include:

  • Preparing title elements ahead of the event.
  • Setting up the fixed-shot cameras ahead of the event.
  • Consider BT-1 wireless cameras.
  • Test using Livestream via WinXP partition or VMware machine for Logitech cam control software
  • Having tripods for cameras that will need to pan, tilt & zoom
  • Use the Zoom H2 for better directional audio pickup, or radio mics
  • Extension power cables
  • Powerboard
  • Powered USB hub
  • Consider just recording events in the field and broadcasting later if live audience with interaction not a feature of the production

Livestream’s system also allows you to collaborate with others on the system.  They can contribute camera feeds or control titles or whatever.  Great potential for interviews instead of Skype, or a distributed panel-format show.  I’d be happy to share my limited experience and/or collaborate with others around Canberra on streaming shows, just drop me a comment/tweet.

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