One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to improve the quality of the Chandler WordPress meetup live streams. Previously, we simply attached a webcam to a computer running a Google+ Hangout On Air.
Improving the live stream quality
My primary goal was to improve the readability of the presenter’s slides by taking a feed directly from his or her computer. Secondly, I wanted to live switch between the presenter and slide show.
After researched our options, I decided to recreate the set-up described by Jason Tucker in his 2013 WordCamp Phoenix presentation, How to Stream a Meetup or Live Event.
Gear and signal flow
With help from Rockit Bootcamp, one of our meetup sponsors, I acquired the following gear:
- BoinxTV, live-production software for video podcasters
- Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
- Epiphan Systems VGA2USB Adapter
- VGA Y-splitter (one source to two displays)
- VGA cables
Here is the slide show signal flow:
I also connect the Logitech webcam via USB to the live streaming computer.
Setting up BoinxTV
In BoinxTV, I created a document with five video layers. From top to bottom, they are:
- Picture in picture (displays slide show full screen with presenter camera in lower right)
- Presenter camera
- Slide show
- Placeholder – speaker(s)
- Placeholder – sponsors
Here is a screenshot (click to enlarge):
The highest active layer is outputted. I usually start the broadcast with the sponsor placeholder, transition to the speaker placeholder when the speaker is being introduced, switch between the presenter camera, slide show and picture in picture option during the presentation, and end by returning to the sponsor placeholder.
Setting up a Google+ Hangout On Air
Here is the process for setting up a Google+ Hangout On Air and routing the video feed from BoinxTV:
- Log in to your Google+ account.
2. Select Hangouts from the dropdown list in the upper left.
3. On the resulting page, select Hangouts On Air from the top menu and then click the Create a Hangout On Air button.
4. Give your Hangout On Air a name and description, set the time, choose an audience and click Share.
5. Click Start to open the Hangout On Air.
6. Open BoinxTV, select the previously created document, and verify the slide show and video camera inputs are properly routed and working.
7. To route the video to the Google+ Hangout On Air, first select the Open Output in Extra Window icon in the upper right corner of BoinxTV.
8. Then select that window as your source via the Screenshare icon at the top of the Google Hangout On Air’s left menu.
9. For audio, I use the Logitech webcam’s microphone, which I select in the Google+ Hangout On Air settings area (via the gear icon).
10. Finally, click Start broadcast to begin live streaming!
Live stream example
Here is the most recent meetup live stream using this setup.
View more videos at the Arizona WordPress Meetup’s YouTube Channel.
Next on my wish list is a webcam-ready video camera with iris and zoom controls and a wireless lavalier microphone to improve the audio quality.
If you’re live streaming your meetups (or other events), I’d love to hear about your process and any questions, feedback and/or suggestions you may have.