I’ve gotten several question regarding how I broadcast the Unleash conference via Mogulus, so here you go:
We used a free Mogulus’ account to stream from. Using a free account meant we were able to save $350 and put that towards something else in our ministry.
Make sure that if you are planning on having more than 50 people that you have your channel verified. It seems to help if you have used your channel some for either live webcasting or at least have some YouTube videos as an on-demand loop.
In our main auditorium we have 4 cameras, 2 Thompson Grass Valley Turbo iDDRs and an iMac running ProPresenter fed into a Ross Synergy 100 switcher, the output of this is our program feed. It is used for IMAG in the Anderson and Greenville auditoriums and in-house broadcast to TVs along with the Web Campus. This program feed is input into the Panasonic MX70 switcher in our Web Campus A-control. I could have bypassed the MX70 since I was not using it to switch between Nick and the actual conference, but in order to eliminate having to rewire everything and worry about audio input levels I left the feed running through the MX70.
The program feed then ran into our 2 Dell XPS machines both running Flash Media Encoder (FME). FME can enocde the video on the fly to an .flv, stream it to a Flash Media Server or do both at the same time. One of these machines was connected to the internet via our Direct Internet Access (DIA) connection while the other was connected via a backup T1 connection. I streamed both feeds to Mogulus, using the T1 as the primary because I was the only one using that connection, whereas we had 3000 people on campus pulling data through the DIA. If we had a problem for any reason with the T1 connection I was ready to switch to the DIA feed.
I can’t emphasize enough the importancy of redundancy especially when it comes to live production! You have one chance to get it right, if you screw it up your sunk. If you are working for a church, that will leave a bad taste in a non-believer’s mouth and confirm the suspicion that the church is behind the times. If you don’t have tons of gear or money, do the best with what you have, and do it with excellence.
Mogulus has a streaming limit of 500 kbps when using a free account, so you have to find the right balance between your audio and video bitrates. For us we an amazing band and try to sell them short by using a lower audio bandwidth would cripple the viewer experience. Most viewers tend to put up with lower quality video (at least for now) in today’s “YouTube world”, but will quickly stop watching a video if the audio quality is horrible. This could be because they are not actually watching the video- just listening to the audio while working on something else in the foreground. So hence I ran the audio at, a fairly high in terms of streaming bitrates, 128 kbps with the video at a bitrate of 370 kbps. This enabled me to have a total bitrate of 498 coming in just under the 500 kbps limit. See the screenshot here for the Mogulus live streaming FME settings. Mogulus has a good write up here about how to setup your connection to the Flash Media Server here.
Warnings about Mogulus: It is available as a free streaming provider so despite the fact that it is packed with features they don’t always work perfectly. Here are a few of the various problems I’ve found:
- Streaming to it without FME directly from a camera via FireWire, you often cannot preview the audio before going live with the feed
- Having more than 3 FME streams in a single channel would lead to improper preview displays of 2 of the feeds
- The ticker at the bottom has to have an actual .rss feed- which Twitter does not provide for search terms such as #unleash like it does for individual users. I circumvented this by utilizing a Yahoo Pipes mashup to generate a true .rss feed.
You may also be interested in my detailed post on the Web Campus here.