Pastor Daughter’s Research: Live Streaming, Simulcasting and Encoders

I will start off by saying, this is a bunch of jotted down notes and I will come back and edit it something is wrong or what not. I may even need to blueprint it better, we will see. Suggestions are always welcomed, but I am not the best of the best to ask this stuff. This isn’t even my job. I teach Chinese kids online, so I’m learning, you’re learning, let’s be friends. Shall we?

Questions To Ask Yourself:

Who do you want to broadcast too?

Why do you want to live stream, specifically?

How many platforms do you want to use?

Are you realizing you may have to provide a better laptop to run streaming software and what not to broadcast to minimize CPU usage, stream buffer issues, etc?

How many cameras do you want to eventually use? Two? Okay, one camera capture card per camera.

How much are you willing to spend?

What quality 1080p or 4k?

Who is going to run OBS and continue to update themselves on the software and live streaming world?

What internet speed does your audience have?

Consider our demographics, church size, and church potential. We are rural, 250 congregations and still not fully contemporary. Virtually, you could be more contemporary and grow online, which is where mega-churches grow a lot. Physically, we are small compared to churches who invest big money into this kind of stuff. 


Clint understands the camera controls don’t make smooth transitions, so buying a smoother control for the camera could knock out needed multi-camera hardware.He doesn’t understand the Instagram thing and I don’t either. If people can get on our website, they can watch it. People are just wanting more convenience and being lazy to go to places. You can link the website to Instagram, Facebook, etc. It’s an unnecessary addition that costs MORE money like $600 a year more. Spend money where it’s needed like proper software or hardware.


Jim Caywood even likes the idea of a push of a button and so does Clint. So does the tech team, I’d say. You can look into the Pearl Mini ($3500 – don’t think this is too expensive because you need to look at the overall cost of other options) from Epiphan here. It’s 1 video output, 2 source inputs, 2 audio inputs, 1 audio output, switch video sources live, can use browser-based Epiphan live, text overlay, 1080 video recording, etc. Check the link
Go higher in price and you have the 

Pearl 2 ($6500). Ouch. 4k recording, chroma key which is like green screen (can come in handy), more outputs/inputs, of course, ONE START TOUCH, Epiphan Live and API which is the OBS part, secure live streaming (this is important), frame drops are lower, no computer needed unless you want to do something with OBS. There is a lot more detail to this one. Again, check the link.


Now, my part. I have sent you many emails and the last email I sent gave me a good perspective. The guys from Epiphan broke down the lives streaming world in a non-chaotic vocal speed and showed examples. Here is that video again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMyzCOFTrBE&feature=youtu.be
Yes, the cost seems higher for the hardware coders, but you really need to understand what all goes on the other side for cost. I’m not vocalizing which one I agree with because you need to answer the questions I put in the beginning first.


On the other end of the spectrum is the software. This goes with the questions who you want to broadcast to (demographic wise), platforms you want to use and that WILL WORK like Facebook Live and Youtube Live with the website figured into by using something that allows us to not have to keep going back and encoding into the website every time. Maybe using YOUTUBE!!! or Twitch. Facebook, no. It’s not as efficient to continue to going back and inserting the iframe code. It’s counterproductive. The guys in Epiphan used Youtube to stream. Yes, daughter, I finally see your Jedi light.


Now, here’s what I have learned from the software side.
You must take into consideration bandwidth, computer CPU capacity, overheating computer, cost of camera capture cards, gaming system computer needed to run Pro Presenter, OBS and whatever else. You need to consider buffering of Facebook, buffering due to sound/video output quality as well as buffering due to your software chosen because your fans and your people will overheat. You also need to consider security and viruses that can come from users/software/etc. The passwords exchanged. Please start using the Trinity Profile I created instead of yours. You are putting your personal page out there on a computer you are using as public. CHANGE THAT. Use the profile I created to go live SUNDAY to login to use the page to go LIVE. You need to be signed out of YOU completely. It’s not about where you stream from, it’s about how you login into using Facebook. Private messages are vulnerable and you are at-risk for hacking. Not by daughters who know passwords to places like Gmail, Flocknote, etc. It’s a security measure you need to take from people you can’t see on the internet, not your tech team.

OBS is free, great. It’s open-sourced. There is a lot of potentials there and you’ve heard about it. You can read why or why not OBS streams well with multi-platforms here. Also, some comments to consider from 2019:


“Restream.io will let you use one instance of OBS to stream to multiple platforms. You can install NGINX with the RTMP module and configure that to send streams to multiple platforms. https://obsproject.com/forum/resources/how-to-set-up-your-own-private-rtmp-server-using-nginx.50/ It is worth noting, however, that Facebook prohibits this practice in their terms of service, FYI.”
“Also, while you can possibly stream to YouTube in 1080p, you cannot to Facebook, it only supports 720, and limited upload bitrate, think it’s 4000, Facebook is a terrible system to stream to, I tried it for 3 weeks, and gave up, quality is awful, and I stream to Twitch in 1080 60fps, FB can’t handle that, so my streams looked real poor quality, even tho they are not.”

OBS you cannot “within a single instance of OBS itself without additional methods or platforms”. I like the idea of OBS because it’s free and affordable but you can run into problems as well just like anything else that you have to spend money to resolve like capture cards. You’ll probably have a 5-10 second behind time. Remember, one capture card per video source. 


Webcaster X2 is a good start. Yes, it is discontinued and you can’t use OBS with it, but you can multi-stream platforms, but as Andrew texted me “your multiple streams will have to happen off of your single upload stream because of limited bandwidth issues”. So if we are already having some buffering or we are doing good now, adding another platform stream can cause more headaches and twitching to happen. They mentioned webcaster at 33 minutes into the video link I first gave you. Please watch the whole 45-minute video. I will quiz you.


Software Encoders:


XSpilt BroadcasterKey Points from the website:

Price:

  • 3-month license: $25
  • 12-month license: $60
  • 36-month license: $150
  • Lifetime: $200 (most popular)

Professional Production Features

  • Stream and Record in 4k60fps and beyond 
    • XSplit provides the best video quality possible.
  • Unlimited Scenes and Sources
    • Unleash your creativity with the tools to create the perfect broadcast.
  • Projector Mode
    • Display various scenes to any device connected to your PC’s GPU.
  • Broadcast to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, Restream.io, etc, not Instagram
  • Scene & Source Transitions
    • Preloaded with a variety of transition styles and add custom stinger transitions.
  • Scene Preview Editor
    • Edit scenes before pushing live with the Preview Editor.
  • Macros Extension
    • Allows you to script virtually any action or series of actions in XSplit.
  • Robust Text Source
    • Supports custom scripts.
  • NVIDIA NVENC
    • Optimized with additional NVENC options that enable users to customize their settings to achieve optimal performance and quality.
  • Video Production Features:
    • Drag and drop various media files directly into the mixer.
    • Support for all popular capture cards and webcams: Logitech, Elgato, AVerMedia, Razer and more!
    • Express Video EditorEdit together multiple video files and upload directly to YouTube in just minutes!
    • Chroma key support for background removal.
  • Powerful Engagement Tools
    • YouTube Super Chat and Twitch Cheers Alerts.
    • Facebook Chat, Mixer Chat, Twitch Chat, and YouTube Chat Widgets.
    • Supports all web-based alerts and widgets.
    • Simultaneous broadcasting to multiple stream services.

Streamlabs OBS (free) – a lot like OBS, but it’s own thing.
Key Points:

  • free and open-sourced, takes donations
  • claims: “customizable alerts, beautiful themes, engaging widgets, integrated chat, selective recording, low CPU Usage”
  • “integrated alerts, cloud backups”
  • Streamlabs Prime ($12/month) “which overlay, widget and site themes, custom domain + website, all apps free, stream on mobile, instant gold status”. This is more for the professional content creators like the church should probably be placed under this category. 
  • Broadcast to Facebook Live, Youtube, Twitch, and Mixer. Not Instagram TV

Wirecast

There is so much going on here, I would suggest looking it over. There is a lot of stuff here, but seems to be overloaded.

  • Vantage Cloud – look it up
  • Wirecast Studio under Desktop is $600 for “enhanced live streaming and production”
    • Includes features such as:Unlimited Capture
      • Unlimited inputs
      • 2 remote guests via Wirecast Rendezvous conferencing
      Enhanced ProductionUnlimited Destination Outputs
      • Unlimited output destinations + multiple simultaneous record-to-disks
      • Virtual camera and microphone output
      • 1-4 slot multi-viewer output
      SupportFree Email Support & upgrades for a year with
      Standard Support.
  • Wirecast Pro is $800.

Compare the two plans here.

Castr.io

Price For Simulcasting (Multi) Only: https://castr.io/#simulcasting

  • Broadcast: $10/month
    • 1 encoder input
    • 5 destinations
    • 1 FB Page/Profile or 1 Custom RTMP
    • Multiple Ingests
    • No Facebook Integration
    • IP Camera Restreaming
    • No Cloud Recorder
    • No Scheduling
  • Broadcast X2 – $15/month
    • 2 Encoder Inputs
    • 10 Destinations 
    • Facebook Integration  
    • Multiple Ingests
    • 2 FB Pages/Profiles or 2 Custom RTMP
    • Unlimited Cloud Recording
    • 2GB Max Video File Size
  • Broadcast Infinity – $40
    • 5 Encoder Inputs
    • 15 Destinations
    • Multiple Ingests
    • 5 Facebook Pages or Custom RTMP
    • Unlimited Cloud Recording
    • Facebook Integration
    • 4GB Max Video File Size

Price for LiveStreaming (Annual Billing 20% off)

https://castr.io/#livestreaming

  • 1TB Plan – $100/month
    • Montly Bandwidth 1TB
    • 5 encoders
  • 2TB Plan – $150/month
  • 5TB Plan – $320/month

Features:

  • Multi-streaming: Facebook, Youtube, etc.
  • Live Streaming CDN
  • IP Camera Streaming
  • Video Hosting

Grow your Church:

  • Extend Your Reach by streaming to multiple social media profiles and engage more audiences who use different social media platforms.
  • Stream to your Church Website easily using a fully white-label customizable embeddable Player.
  • Record Your Streams in the cloud to keep an archive of your live streams so members can download the previous streams and watch any time.
  • Stream Pre-recorded videos live to keep your followers engaged between sermons. Upload recorded videos and schedule or run videos in a loop.
  • Multistream your Sermons on all platforms – Expand your church’s reach beyond one social platform. Grow your followers by multi-streaming your sermons to Facebook, Youtube and other websites simultaneously.

Multi-Streaming Software

ReStream.io 
Here are some key points they claim on their website. 

  • “Fallback to backup your streams. Amplifier to stream reliably to faraway platforms outside your region. Monitor to track your bitrate, FPS, and frame drops.”
  • “30+ social platforms, from giants to local gems. Multiple channels on a single platform.Your server or platforms not on our list.”

Basically for the church, you’d have to do one of the plans from the company plans, not an individual (personal content). The individual plans are cheaper. But for the sake of doing what’s right, the company plans are what you need to do. If you sign up yearly, you can save 17%, but your ballpark numbers are $100 – $300. 

No Bitrate limits, 2 free months for an annual subscription, I have an account so you can log in to this one and see it. St. Luke UMC uses realstream.io. You actually have to upgrade to do Facebook public pages or groups. Facebook personal profile is free. For the church, it would be an upgrade requirement.You can stream to Facebook, Youtube, Periscope (Twitter), Linkedin, etc. Not Instagram TV. There is a way to connect ReStream and OBS. HERE

  • Premium-$99/month – Restream Live Studio Pro (Streaming from your browser)
    • 10 Extra destinations
    • Ability to remove Restream’s branding
    • 5 RTMP pull links
    • more features 
  • Business – $299/month – Restream Live Studio Pro (Streaming from your browser)
  •  20 Extra destinations
  •  10 RTMP pull links
  •  Ability to remove Restream’s branding
  •  more features 

Other information:https://www.churchproduction.com/education/live-streaming-goes-social/

Switchboard Live:

  • Features
  • Pricing ($35 – $350/month)
  • works with encoders like OBS
  • works with platforms like Facebook Live, Youtube, etc.

Indie is $35 which has 2.5 Mbps (max) 720p, Stream to 3+ destinations, Stream to 3+ destinations, Up to 25 hours of streaming/month, 1 encoder workflow input

Pro Plan is $100 which has 5 Mbps (max) 1080p, 50hrs of streaming, watermarking, stream to 5 destinations, 3 team members, 1 encoder workflow input

Business is $350 and you can check here about that sucker.

LiveStream:

Features:

  • Password Protection
  • Player Embed Restrictions
  • Private Link Sharing
  • Unlimited Streaming Analytics
  • Stream to Facebook Live or YouTube
  • Cloud Transcoding & RTMP Input
  • Embeddable Player
  • Player Customization
  • White Labeling & Brand Control
  • Ad Free
  • Live Overlay Graphics
  • Live Q&A and Polls
  • Audience Chat
  • Lead Generation Tools

Switcher Studio

  • Live-Editing iOS App
  • Screensharing iOS, Mac, PC
  • 2 Guests Video Chat
  • 100 Assets Cloud Storage
  • Go Live RTMP, Crossposting

$40 for Essentials, $75/monthly for Standard and $350+ for Plus. Compare the plans here. The essential plan doesn’t have Remotely add/edit RTMP, crossposting, or scheduling posts.


Instagram TV Research – an app separate from the original Instagram app

https://www.churchtrainingacademy.com/igtv-for-churches/

  • IGTV videos are vertical 9:16 format, up to an hour-long, and easier to curate with your channel.   
    1. A new platform with a potential new audience for your message.
    2. Reach your Instagram followers with longer videos up to an hour.
    3. The 9:16 vertical aspect makes it more natural for your church members to collect and shoot video on their phones for you.
    4. It’s a young platform, but as it matures we expect unique features to rollout that you won’t get anywhere else.
    “I recommend that you post unique content on IGTV. This isn’t where you’ll be streaming live church services. Many content creators are recycling old content, which is really just reruns. If you want more people connecting with your church on IGTV, here are a few unique ideas you can post to your channel:
    1. Monday Morning With Pastor: Have the pastor share their thoughts on Sunday, recap service, and inform people what’s coming this week at the church.
    2. Behind-the-scenes: Show setup, planning, and other happenings going on around an event.
    3. Church Member Vlog: Allow your church members to vlog about what they’re reading, learning, tell stories, and share everyday life in a church member.”

Facebook seems to have recently linked their Facebook Creator Studio to Instagram accounts. Which means their expose a official RTMP stream URL to stream both on Facebook and IG. But it seems like this feature is available only to Business and Creators Instagram accounts. I will try this feature soon and will update here if that worked.

  • Yellow Duck a little startup has released a tool which also expose a non-official RTMP URL. But it is unclear of how that works on their side. If mgp25 private API has blocked by Facebook , it is likely that this tool will suffer the same fate.
  • OBS Virtual Cam plugin still has issues working with Android emulators (this issue, and this one), but the developer is aware of the problem and said that it will eventually resolve it.

Will it work with OBS or Live Streaming? What, huh, eh, maybe.

From OBS Jim Creator: “Unfortunately, I don’t want to fool users in to thinking instagram is actually available as a streaming service, only to find that the only way to do it is via some third-party web page that uses one of instagram’s hidden APIs. Until it’s more publically available, I would prefer it if people who used this method just used the custom server section instead.”  

Other Third-Party Integrations

Loola.tv
Premium: $20

Pro: $40

  • Connects through Youtube Account
  • Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Twitch, Tik Tok, etc. 
  • RTMP: stream code to go into encoding software (OBS). Here is the link
  • doesn’t look as professional as the others, probably in a different category because of “.tv”

Yellowduck.tv

  • Just for Instagram
  • Streams Instagram
  • can go with OBS, Wirecast, Restream, Streamlabs, many RTMP 
  • free
  • ” Yellow Duck is not an official way of going live with Instagram. They are also using the private API. Under no circumstances should you ever give your Facebook or Instagram username/password to a third party.” (source)doesn’t look as professional as the others, probably in a different category because of “.tv”

Future Services to Research

Because I’m giving birth within the week, I will leave this here for the incomplete part of my research:

https://video.ibm.com/

Closing Remarks:

We aren’t a megachurch, physically. Is that a goal virtually? Why not? Church is the not a building, it’s the people that make up the church.

The budget isn’t as big as a mega church so you have to consider your spending requirements.

I’m still adding onto my knowledge so yes I will edit and add or blog again. Feel free to leave your researched thoughts with sources so I can look into. Uneducated opinions, meh. Educated opinions, yassss. Silly comments, keep em’. I’ll go all prego on you. Don’t mess with a pastor’s kids. Rawr. Kidding. You’re welcome to communicate with me!

References:

https://restream.io/blog/how-to-begin-streaming-live-church-services/

https://restream.io/blog/what-is-simulcasting-and-how-it-works/

Epiphan Video Blog – Multistreaming: how to live stream to multiple destinations

DaCast Team Blog – Best Live Stream Encoding Software Options [Updated for 2020]

https://livestream.com/blog/simulcast-stream-multiple-destinations

Epiphan Youtube Video – Hardware vs. Software Encoders

Zoom & Facebook Live Video

https://obsproject.com/forum/threads/livestream-setup-recommendations.116681/

https://restream.io/blog/how-to-use-restream-scheduler-for-worship-live-streaming/

https://restream.io/blog/why-streaming-live-church-services-is-a-must/

Published by Jules

Staying informed is a need. Sharing mindful thoughts is a want.

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