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Transcript: Digital Production Buzz – June 8, 2017

HOST
Larry Jordan

GUESTS
Scott Murray, Vice President of Marketing, Telestream
Benjamin Nowak, Founder/CEO, Cinamaker Inc.
Rony Sebok, VP Technology, 1 Beyond, Inc.
Claudia Barbiero, VP of Marketing, Americas, LiveU
George Hall, President, Video Streaming Services
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS

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Larry Jordan: Tonight, on the Buzz we are looking at the process and challenges of live video streaming.

Larry Jordan:  We start with Scott Murray.  He’s the vice president of marketing for Telestream.  He sets the scene on video streaming by explaining what it is, how it works, what you need for gear, and what to consider when feeding your programs to the web.

Larry Jordan:  Rony Sebok, vice president for 1 Beyond, describes the challenges of streaming, including inadequate bandwidth or insufficient gear.  Then Rony showcases the benefits of their new all in one StreamMachine.

Larry Jordan:  Claudia Barbiero, the VP of marketing for LiveU explains how they help distribute your program to broadcast for the web and why CDNs are necessary for the successful streaming of your event.

Larry Jordan:  George Hall, the president of Video Streaming Services joins us to talk about how to plan for streaming a live event, and how the typical three steps of a project, pre-production, production and post, now include a fourth.  Live distribution.

Larry Jordan:  Benjamin Nowak, the founder and CEO of Cinamaker has invented a new application which supports live multi-cam project switching, and streaming from mobile devices.  Their brand new app can replace a table full of desktop gear.

Larry Jordan:  All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update.  The Buzz starts now.

Announcer:  Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts – production – filmmakers – post production – and content creators around the planet – distribution.  From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.

Larry Jordan:  Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.

Larry Jordan:  Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.  Apple surprised many of us with the depth of their announcements this week at the Worldwide Developers Conference.  We were expecting announcements about operating systems, but most of the hardware announcements were a surprise.

Larry Jordan:  Also, you may have missed this news in the midst of everything else going on, but Apple also announced new upcoming versions of Final Cut Pro X, Compressor and Motion that will support H.265 compression, along with editing and titling 360 degree video files.

Larry Jordan:  Finally, Final Cut will be supporting some flavor of VR.  James DeRuvo and I will have more on key WWDC news in our DoddleNEWS segment coming up shortly.

Larry Jordan:   By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Every issue, every week gives you an inside look at the Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of interest to filmmakers.  Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.

Larry Jordan:  Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update, with James DeRuvo.  Hello James.

James DeRuvo:  Hi Larry, how are you?

Larry Jordan:  I tell you, I am drowning in news this week.  Let’s get right to it.

James DeRuvo:  You’re not kidding, it’s been blowing up since Monday.  Actually since Friday.

Larry Jordan:  Let’s hold on WWDC for just a bit.  What else is making news this week?

James DeRuvo:  Well last Thursday, Friday and Saturday was Cine Gear at Paramount here in Hollywood.  Panasonic finally lifted the veil off of that mysterious compact camera that they were talking about at NAB.  It’s called the Panasonic EVA1 and positioned to be somewhere between the Panasonic GH5 interchangeable lens camera, and the VariCam cinema cameras and the high level EVA150, right square in the middle. It shoots 4K RAW internally at 60 frames per second, but it’s going to get 5.7K RAW coming in a future firmware update.  Thanks to dual image ISO, it’ll have great low light performance.  Today, Atomos announced that they’re going to be supporting external recording in 4K RAW via 6G-SDI in the Shogun Inferno.  When Panasonic tempted us with …. mini camera at NAB, we couldn’t wait to get the details, and now that it’s here, it looks like the EVA1 won’t disappoint Larry.

Larry Jordan:  That is so cool.  It’s good for Panasonic to come out with a new camera and I’m looking to see what the images look like when they get this in production.  What else we got?

James DeRuvo:  Not to be outdone, Sony started saying, “Wait a minute, we’re going to have a camera too.”  Sony handed out a full frame CineAlta cinema camera coming as well during their presentation at Cine Gear.  They said it’s a new full frame camera and it’s going to be a next generation cinema camera and they’ve got a huge team of engineers designing a brand new sensor which promises a minimum of 4K and being that it’s full frame, I’m betting by the time it comes out, it’s going to be at least 6K and maybe even 8K.  It’s also going to be aspect ratio agnostic so it can handle 16-bit RAW color in full frame, super 35 4K, 4:3, anamorphic, 4K spherical, 17:9, the works.  We’re short on details, they didn’t say a lot other than that, but Sony promises that the new image processor will have exceptional picture quality, better dynamic range, and support HDR.  I’m betting this will be their next entry into 8K.

Larry Jordan:  We’ve got a new digital camera from Panasonic, a new digital camera from Sony.  Clearly, film is dead.

James DeRuvo:  No, not at all.  As a matter of fact, film is making an amazing comeback and Kodak is opening ten labs all across the country including reopening their old photo processing lab in Queens, New York.  What they realized was that all these filmmakers are starting to shoot on film again, and they were taking this gigantic leap of faith of shipping all their unexposed negatives to Los Angeles to FotoKem to have it processed, and they’re saying, “We need to open up some labs across the country.”  So they’re opening them up in ten cities, including Atlanta, Georgia where ‘The Walking Dead’ is filmed, and rebuilding the lab in Queens, New York.  They also signed a five year deal at Pinewood Studios in London for a central film processing lab that will also provide digital conversion services.  The idea is to make it closer for filmmakers to get a safer and faster turnaround, thereby making it more affordable and easier to shoot on film again.  It was only a few years ago that Kodak was in bankruptcy and having one fire sale after another on their assets.  Now they’re the only game in town providing film services to the industry and they show no signs of slowing down.

Larry Jordan:  I’m really pleased for their turnaround, it’s nice to have an alternative to digital and Kodak is a company that’s worked hard to get back into the game, so good for them.

James DeRuvo:  It’s very exciting.  Other stories include how you can use the DJI Mavic Pro drone as a handheld gimbal stabilizer, and there seems to be this little confab going on up in Cupertino.  Do you know anything about that Larry?

Larry Jordan:  James, you and I know that that little shindig was Apple’s WWDC that opened on Monday with a keynote which you live Tweeted.

James DeRuvo:  Indeed.  I live Tweeted on it @doddleme and Twitter, and it was very exciting.  A lot of really great products, the iMac, the MacBooks, new iPad Pro that’s going to be a little bit bigger.  I think it’s 10.5 inches.  Gosh, a lot of really cool stuff, and the software updates that support it, are really cool too.

Larry Jordan:  While there were a lot of high expectations, Apple managed to beat most of them.  We were expecting updates to all the various operating systems, but we weren’t expecting all the hardware announcements.

James DeRuvo: I didn’t think they were going to come out with the iMac Pro which is gorgeous.   Space gray finish.

Larry Jordan:  I was thinking about it.  As far as media creators are concerned, there were probably five announcements that we need to pay attention to.  There were relatively minor upgrades to the laptops, but major upgrades for the iMacs including, as you mentioned the new iMac Pro which is shipping in December.  But they also announced support for H.265 video compression, support for external GPUs via Thunderbolt 3, and support for the new Apple file system.  I was impressed with that.

James DeRuvo:  That external GPU thing is really an interesting development in computer processing.  It was originally driven by the gaming industry when gamers were starting to use laptops to play games, but GPUs and laptops are so poorly underpowered that they started cobbling together these kluges of high powered external video cards that they could run through Thunderbolt 3.  That created a new product, an external GPU that will handle all the offloaded high performance GPU work while the processor does everything else.  It was originally a Windows thing, but with the upcoming OS X High Sierra, Apple is going to be supporting it for the first time.

Larry Jordan:   We probably won’t have it released until spring of 2018, so the external GPU support won’t come in the fall, it’ll come next year.

James DeRuvo:   The iMac Pro isn’t going to be out until December, just in time for Christmas.

Larry Jordan:  I’ll buy you a couple of them and mail them to you.

James DeRuvo:   There you go.

Larry Jordan:   By the way when we talk to Rony Sebok a little bit later today, we’re going to also talk about the implications of the H.265 compression, so we’ll talk more about that in a minute.  James, for people that want more information, where can they go on the web?

James DeRuvo:  All these stories and more can be found at Doddlenews.com and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, at @doddleme.

Larry Jordan:  James DeRuvo is the senior writer at DoddleNEWS and joins us every week with the DoddleNEWS update.  James thanks for joining us, we’ll talk with you next week.

James DeRuvo:  Talk to you then.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Here’s another website I want to introduce you to.  Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries.  It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry.  DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production.  These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals.  DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed.  Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go.  Doddlenews.com.

Larry Jordan:  Scott Murray is the vice president for corporate marketing and desktop products within Telestream.    He’s been in marketing for over 30 years, with marketing management and executive positions at Grass Valley Group, Scitex Digital Video and Miranda Technologies.  Hello Scott, welcome.

Scott Murray:  Hi Larry, it’s great to be here.  Thanks for having me on your show.

Larry Jordan:  I’m looking forward to our conversation because in our show this week, we’re looking at video streaming and when I think of essential software for streaming, I think of Wirecast which is a Telestream product.  But before we talk about the software, I want to back up to set the scene.  What makes video streaming different from traditional video production?

Scott Murray:  Boy, that’s a pretty interesting question because it’s so deep, there’s so much to it.  I hate to go back to history, but you have to learn from history so you can figure out where you’re moving forward.  The history is I went to a college called Cal Poly on the Central Coast of California and I had never been able to get Cal Poly football games once I graduated.  The reason was the production costs were too high, but also there was no distribution medium.  So the way that you had to get broadcasted content was either have an affiliate connection with one of your local television stations, or you had to have a relationship with something like a Comcast or Direct TV to be able to actually get to your customers, the consumers at the end.  That was the way it used to be up until just a few years ago.

Scott Murray:  What’s happened with technology, it’s so fantastic is that the cost to produce the show has become reduced substantially, and the number of people that’s required to produce a show is really low.  But probably the biggest transition that’s occurred, is now companies like Cal Poly or Universities like Cal Poly and other companies, can distribute their content live OTT, over the top streaming, to the end destination, either through their own website with a CDN or to places like Facebook Live.  So the transition that’s occurred is enormous, so now everybody in the world is able to produce, broadcast and distribute content to viewers that have like-minded viewership around the world.  It doesn’t matter if you’re producing and distributing content from South Africa for the wildlife, and you want to produce a show that reaches out to the whole world.  You’re able to do that now by utilizing the streaming technology.  It has changed the world.

Larry Jordan:  But I would argue that video production is the same whether you’re going to broadcast or cable or YouTube or streaming, you still need lights, you still need cameras, you still need mics, and while there’s a variety of price points there, the process of production hasn’t changed.  What streaming affects is not production, but distribution.  Would you disagree?

Scott Murray:  I agree and disagree.  So the streaming part of it has substantially changed the ability to move content that you produce to the masses, OK?  No doubt that has substantially changed.  But if you look at the products that have been created to produce, what you needed ten years ago, was a truck or a fly pack that had a production switcher, a camera, titling to do graphics, an audio mixer.  You needed a lot of kit that was individual components.

Scott Murray:   With technology, what has happened is, equipment has now been consolidated to be able to have one product that supports multiple technology needs, and the user interfaces have been simplified such that now one operator can operate multiple pieces of equipment.  Obviously we promote that with Wirecast, but also if you take something like a NewTek Tricaster, and I’m real familiar with the NewTek guys who are great, ten plus years ago they were working towards consolidating a lot of the functionality to have a computer that was able to create a single production of live integrated content cameras, coupled with pre-produced content, coupled with graphics.  They all ran on one single computer to do live production.  You see what’s happened in the shift is that the content production capability has become integrated such that the price has gone down and it’s simplified to be able to allow less people to produce a show.

Larry Jordan:  What you’re saying is that while the process of video creation is the same, the tools that we use have become simplified and consolidated, which is the perfect lead in to Wirecast.  What is Wirecast?

Scott Murray:  Wirecast is a software product, and it runs on either a standard computer, a PC, or a Mac, and it allows you to produce and then distribute a show.  It brings in video sources from cameras, it allows you to create and distribute pre-produced content.  It provides graphics and titling and it also has audio mixing capability.  It’s an all in one video production package and then once you produce your show, then you distribute your show.  What’s interesting, is many people use Wirecast to do their live production.  Let’s say they have a two camera shoot with a remote interview with a customer, and then they want to record that and put that onto Facebook or YouTube and not do a live show.  A lot of customers will use it for that capability, just to produce a show, and record it and then distribute it as a video file, or on demand viewing.  That’s one function.

Scott Murray:  But then you add the streaming capability on the back end of Wirecast, and now you can go live, you can go live to churches.  We have a lot of churches that their output streams to a destination called churchstreaming.tv. And churchstreaming.tv will actually do the distribution off a church’s website.  They’ve got the player application that gets integrated into the website.  Or it goes to Facebook Live or Twitter, Periscope, YouTube Live, any of these destinations.  So it’s really a two stage component which Wirecast provides.

Larry Jordan:  Why would we use Wirecast and not NewTek?

Scott Murray:  They’re actually very complementary.  There is a little bit of overlap on the bottom end of the NewTek line, but as you move upmarket and many times you have more cameras, and that requires more input.  So Wirecast runs on a standard computer but we have a product called Wirecast Gear which is a single appliance.  Many of our customers ask “What capture card should I use for my computers, and what kind of computer should I use?”  So we created an appliance called Wirecast Gear.  That’s got four base band video inputs.  They’re either HDMI or SDI inputs.  If you look at what NewTek provides, NewTek kind of starts at that level and then moves up from there.  Where we cap out at the four inputs.  So they’re very complementary.

Scott Murray:   One of the things that we’ve recently just done as well is we’ve supported NDI which is NewTek’s network device interface for either NDI streaming into our Wirecast system, or with the new version that’s coming out in a couple of weeks.  We’ll be able to stream to NDI output.  So that means for larger productions, that have more camera sources, you could use Wirecast as a input side to the Tricasters, or you could even take the Tricaster production and put it into Wirecast and stream out of Wirecast.  The two are very complementary, but if you have a lower end application which applies to a large number of customers who have one or two cameras, Wirecast is a perfect solution.

Larry Jordan:  Is there a difference between streaming a live event, and streaming a recorded event?

Scott Murray:  From the end user perspective, no.  However, it has to do with the engagement, so many times things like Facebook Live, when you’re streaming there, there’s a running commentary that goes on, and there’s an interactive chat that can occur.  So if you’re streaming a pre-produced show, and you don’t have somebody to moderate the comments, you wouldn’t actually be able to interact with those people that are commenting.  Unless you had somebody that’s actually doing the moderation during the pre-produced event that’s being streamed.  So, the difference is really not a lot technologically, it has to do with the actual engagement and delivery of the content itself.

Larry Jordan:   One thing that we’re minimizing that I want to talk about briefly, is the idea of a streaming server, or a distribution server.  Once the signal comes out of Wirecast, we need to send it somewhere to have it to be distributed.  How does that process work?

Scott Murray:   That’s a really interesting black box that a lot of people don’t understand the technology behind that.  It really is defined by the player application that sits either on your phone or your tablet or your desktop or even at your television set.  So those applications like a Roku box or an Apple TV, they actually are the ones that are controlling the bandwidth and the request for the streams themselves.  So the player application is really important to the streaming.  That’s the end game.

Scott Murray:   Now, when you send a stream out of Wirecast it’s what’s called an RTMP stream, which is an encoded MPEG transport stream using a standard in a package that Adobe created years ago.  It’s the standard that’s used for Wirecast.  The stream comes out of the Wirecast box, and goes to an origin server.  An origin server is the master computer somewhere in the world, and it keeps the content, then if you move to the edges, there’s the content delivery network, the CDN.  Let’s say you have the origin server in Chicago, I’m sending my stream to Chicago, he then sends it to New York, to Philadelphia, to Dallas, California, around the globe to where the edge devices exist.  So that when somebody then connects to say Facebook Live, they’re actually connecting to one of their local servers.  Send it to one computer, it then gets sent to multiple computers that are distributed throughout the world based around very sophisticated algorithms for where traffic patterns exist for where people are demanding the streams.  So it’s a one to very many relationship for the actual distribution.

Scott Murray:  It becomes quite simple for us as a user to say, “Oh, I don’t want to do the whole CDN thing, I don’t understand it.  But I can go to Facebook Live.  I got credentials.  I can log in, bang, I’m right there, streaming to Facebook Live and I’ve got a live presence throughout the entire world.”

Larry Jordan:  Having gone through this whole process about two years ago as we were setting up our own video stream, there’s a lot to learn, and I’m very grateful for your taking the time to summarize it.  Two quick questions before we wrap up.  How is Wirecast priced?

Scott Murray:  We have two versions of it.  We have a $495 version called the Studio version.  Then we have a 999 version called the Pro version.  The Pro version has, as you would expect, more bells and whistles for higher end production capability.  I don’t really want to go through the details here, but a lot of customers will get into streaming with Wirecast Studio which is the 495 version, then they’ll realize they want more capability, better titling, more stuff for their productions.  Then they’ll move up to the Pro version so they can add more pro features in their production, and it really is the difference between the production capability of the two versions.  The streaming capability and the destinations are identical between the two.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want to learn more about Wirecast and Telestream in general, where can they go on the web?

Scott Murray:  You go to www.telestream.net.

Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, telestream.net and Scott Murray is the vice president for corporate marketing and desktop products.  Scott, thank you for joining us today.

Scott Murray:  Great to be here, Larry, thank you for having me on your show.

Larry Jordan:  Rony Sebok is the VP at 1 Beyond Digital Video Systems, a company that designs and manufactures professional video systems for all aspects of the production and post workflow.  Hello Rony.  Welcome.

Rony Sebok:  Hi Larry, how are you?  Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  I am delighted to have you with us.  I was just thinking, Scott Murray gave us a solid background on what video streaming is but I want to look at the more practical side.  What do we need to consider when we’re setting up a live video stream for our events?

Rony Sebok:  It’s wonderful to follow Scott because what 1 Beyond does is build upon the Wirecast product that Scott was telling everybody about.  A quick summary of what we do and then I’d be very happy to answer all the questions about the practical applications because we have a lot of experience with that through helping our customers do streaming.

Rony Sebok:   1 Beyond builds a turnkey streaming system based on the Wirecast software.  So as Scott said, “What’s the positioning of Wirecast and the NewTek Tricaster?” 1 Beyond turns Wirecast into as powerful, or more powerful of a system than the Tricaster.  So we actually sell turnkey solutions starting at $4,000, and then going all the way up to 10, $12,000 with minimal number of inputs, like four professional HD-SDI inputs, all the way up to 16 professional inputs.  The big deal that we’re doing is providing a much more powerful computer.  It’s all the transcoding, encoding for streaming, all is bound around the CPU and GPU that you have in the system. So with the advent now of network streams coming in, the Wirecast software and the 1 Beyond StreamMachine that’s based on it, doesn’t just let you switch between live video feeds that are coming through SDI or HDMI from a camera, but also switching to media files, overlaying graphics, bringing in IP streams from your phone or tablet.  All of that comes into the box and you can switch it, record, stream it, use Skype for conferencing with it.

Rony Sebok:   To do all of those things you need a powerful computer.  The wonderful thing right now for anybody interested in streaming is that you can get started with a $500 piece of software that you can load on your laptop and start experimenting even just with your iPhone as your video source.  As you move up the ranks, and you want to get into doing more professional productions, that’s when you really need more hardware, more built in input, and more horsepower, and that’s where the 1 Beyond system comes in.  From a practical aspect I guess one answer to your question is depending on how many video sources you want to bring in, how many streams you want to stream out.  Some people are not just streaming to YouTube but they want to stream to YouTube and Facebook at the same time.  Now you’re sending two streams out, and encoding potentially two different bit rates.  You need more horsepower if you’re going to do that.  Your jalopy will get you there, but if you can get a Ferrari for a reasonable price, that’s what you’d drive right?

Rony Sebok:   Anyway, that’s where 1 Beyond comes in.  We like to provide a turnkey solution with a lot of support at a very reasonable price, and really enable people.  You can now do broadcasts that are equivalent in terms of the production values of what you see on television.  There is nothing that they do on television that you can’t do.

Larry Jordan:  For people that want information, where can they go on the web?

Rony Sebok:  We’re at www.1beyond.com.

Larry Jordan:  Rony Sebok is the VP at 1 Beyond Digital Video Systems, and Rony, thanks for joining us today.

Rony Sebok:  Thank you.

Larry Jordan: Bye bye.

Larry Jordan:  Claudia Barbiero is the VP of marketing in the Americas for LiveU.  She oversees the strategic marketing planning and execution for LiveU’s IP based live video services, and broadcast solutions.  Hello Claudia, welcome.

Claudia Barbiero:  Hi thank you Larry, good to be here.

Larry Jordan:  How would you describe what LiveU does?

Claudia Barbiero: In a nutshell, we enable the ability to go live meaning live broadcast to air, or broadcasting online, from anywhere.  Essentially we have products and solutions that take multiple cellular connections, bond them together and through some special transport protocols, we’re able to dynamically send those to any destination, anywhere in the world.  We’ve also now taken that same technology and made it super portable and super affordable, so that content creators of all sizes not just the major television news networks, can take advantage of that and really bring dynamic live content to audiences everywhere.

Larry Jordan:  Why is LiveU necessary?  Why can’t we just stream directly from our computer or our phone?

Claudia Barbiero:  So you’re limited to the bandwidth, in essence.  You’re also limiting yourself in terms of the quality of that video, so what we like to call good glass, is the better quality input.  Traditionally, if you’re using your smartphone, you’re limited to the sound, lighting and camera quality that’s on that phone for what you’re capturing, and we’re finding quickly now that brands and online entertainment outlets and different types of institutions like educational institutions, who spend a lot of time and money on their brand and their image, want their live video to also be up to snuff.

Larry Jordan: That gets me to an interesting concept.  In streaming we hear the term, CDN.  What is a CDN and why are CDN’s necessary?

Claudia Barbiero:  It’s the content delivery network.  Some people call it an online video provider, and what that service is in its essence, is taking that stream in and then providing a way for viewers to watch that video.  Think of it as providing the online channel for you.  Today, that can mean a whole host of things including Facebook Live, Twitter, YouTube.  They’re all content delivery networks.

Larry Jordan:  How do we balance image quality with budget?

Claudia Barbiero:  That’s a very interesting question because there’s a couple of things.  One is your equipment.  The second is your resources, meaning personnel, production team and I said that with air quotes because that sometimes is just the same person as the one who’s on camera.  As well as your bandwidth, so data.  Those three things combined together to work up your budget for what you want to produce.  Then at the other end is what you were talking about with a content delivery network, there are usually fees and costs associated with that.  That has changed drastically, definitely in the last year with the advent of social media networks providing that delivery vehicle in essence for free.

Larry Jordan:  When should we use Twitter or Facebook or even YouTube for streaming?  And when should we set up our own custom distribution network?

Claudia Barbiero:  I think it’s a combination factor.  Different vertical markets have different types of content needing to get out there, but at the end of the day you want to be where your audience is watching at that time.  So you do want to take a look at your core audience, so a lot of people do have a great Facebook fan base, or people who are already following them on Facebook.  The benefit there is they’ll get instant notifications of when you’re going to go live.  But you can also expand your reach to people who have similar interests, and you can target that live stream out there.  I do think that most people are looking at multi platform, because the more people that can view, engage and interact, the better.

Claudia Barbiero: That was going to be the second follow up to this question, which is there’s a lot of great reporting tools for your online content, and the content delivery networks that are available provide that to you.  But when it comes to some of the social media networks, you actually get to interact live with your audience, which can dynamically change the course of your content and your programming and ultimately, tie yourself closer to that at home audience as well.

Larry Jordan:  There’s dozens of streaming services out there.  Why should somebody consider LiveU?

Claudia Barbiero:  We really are what we call the first mile of that live transmission.  So we integrate into any of those live streaming services.  In essence what we’re doing is providing any content creator the ability to go out, so with a unit that fits in the palm of your hand or sits in your pocket, you now have the reliable connection that you need in order to send a high definition quality live stream to any destination.

Larry Jordan:  Claudia, for people that want more information about LiveU, where can they go on the web?

Claudia Barbiero:  I encourage you to visit liveu.tv, I also encourage you to take a look at our live streaming unit which is called Solo, and that’s at gosolo.tv.  And of course follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  We share a lot of great customer stories and what other people are doing with our technology.

Larry Jordan:  That website is liveu.tv, and Claudia Barbiero is the VP of marketing in the Americas, for LiveU.  Claudia, thanks for joining us today.

Claudia Barbiero: Thank you so much Larry, have a great day.

Larry Jordan:  George Hall is the president of Video Streaming Services.  They are an internet video broadcaster providing multi camera live switched broadcasts for a large variety of events.  Hello George, welcome.

George Hall:  Hello Larry, thank you for having me on.

Larry Jordan:  It’s my pleasure.  You’ve been involved with video streaming for many years now.  What’s some advice for someone who wants to get started streaming an event?

George Hall:  One camera, as some of your guests have talked about, it’s pretty simple to do these days.  Whether it’s an iPhone to Facebook, to YouTube to what have you, it’s pretty easy to do.  It doesn’t cost a lot, in some cases most people already have a cell phone and a Facebook or a YouTube account, and it’s just that simple.  It’s easy to do for one camera.  As you move up the food chain though into multi camera live switched events, it becomes a little bit more complex and a little bit more involved.

Larry Jordan:  Typical video production has three steps.  Pre-production, production and post.  Streaming seems to add a fourth which is live distribution.  Do the first three steps change if you’re streaming?

George Hall:  Not at all.  In fact, streaming is transparent from that perspective.  That is the piece that we deliver, the stuff under the covers if you will, the magic sauce, that we deliver.  On the front end, it’s still a multi camera shoot, sometimes you have multi media integration, Powerpoints.  Sometimes you even have to integrate captioning, and that’s some of the special sauce that more high end video production companies offer.  The streaming component is fairly straightforward, at least from the customer perspective.

Larry Jordan:  There’s a variety of different streaming protocols, I’m thinking Adobe Flash versus HTML5.  Do we need to worry about what protocol our streaming service supports?

George Hall:  Google’s going to make you worry about it whether you want to or not.  The folks at Google began earlier this year telling folks that they were going to begin slowing down, if not ceasing entirely, support for Flash video.  Yet in the ten years we’ve been doing this, we started out with Windows media which worked great for a while.  Then everybody wanted to go to Flash.  Flash had some issues, not the least of which was it wouldn’t support native streams on iOS or Android as well.  And the solution to that is HTML5.  What’s happened in the last several months is the decline in support by Google in particular with their Chrome browser, to support Flash in every instance, has forced people fairly rapidly here, to move to HTML5, and the great thing about HTML5 is that it does support natively iOS, Android, your Mac, your PC, what have you.   It’s universally applicable and you don’t need any plugins or anything special like that.

Larry Jordan:  When we’re planning an event, how important is bandwidth and how much bandwidth do we need?

George Hall:  Well there’s a big difference between what people tell you they have in bandwidth and what you actually experience when you get there.  The first things our guys do when they get to a venue that we’ve never been to before, is test the bandwidth.  We tell people that we like at least twice the bandwidth that we’re going to be uploading.  So if we’re doing a one megabyte stream, we better have two megabytes up in order to make sure there’s no packet congestion or other types of interference, because that is the single stream that leaves the venue that goes to our CDN that then rebroadcasts to the rest of the world.

Larry Jordan:  George, for people who want more information about the services you and your company provides, where can they go on the web?

George Hall:  www.videossc.com.

Larry Jordan:  That’s all one word, videossc.com, and George Hall is the president of Video Streaming Services.  George, thanks for joining us today.

George Hall: Thank you Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Take care, bye.

Larry Jordan:  I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com.  Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity.  Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative.  Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works.  Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers.  From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed.  Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed.  That’s Thalo.com.

Larry Jordan:  Benjamin Nowak is an entrepreneur, has been for more than 30 years, specializing in network systems, digital imaging, new media, as well as sales and marketing automation software.  Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Cinamaker and the originator of the Cinamaker app.  Hello Benjamin, welcome.

Benjamin Nowak:  Hi.

Larry Jordan:  So why did you decide to start the company Cinamaker?

Benjamin Nowak:  Got a lifelong history in new media, and software.  This company came about as a result of leveraging some technology and R&D that had been done for about a year’s time around synchronization technology.  I thought this would be a perfect application in the video space to use our sync technology and what it would be able to afford us.

Larry Jordan:  What does synchronization mean to you?

Benjamin Nowak: Our core technology is our ability to set the clocks of various cameras and smartphones to the precise same time, with millisecond accuracy.  We use algorithms to keep all the devices at the precise same time so that switching and editing becomes effortless and no set up required.

Larry Jordan:  Tell me about the application, Cinamaker.

Benjamin Nowak: What we’ve built is a multi camera recording and live production studio on tablet computers, smartphones, action cameras and IP cameras.  We believe we’ve built the first professional solution on tablet computers, incorporating synchronization, multi camera, live preview, remote control with multiple cameras, live switching, audio mixing, full graphics engine.  Really a lot of the features you would expect to find in a desktop or a dedicated solution.

Larry Jordan:   Today for the show we’re focusing on video streaming.  How can Cinamaker help?

Benjamin Nowak:   We think we’ve got the simplest to operate, lowest cost solution to allow someone to do professional live streaming.  Professional meaning multi camera HD streaming.  So our app very simply connects multiple smartphones and action cameras to a tablet.  A tablet is used as the director pad, and allows you to start and stop a live stream to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or we integrate with about every live streaming destination.  The tablet computer becomes the live switcher and graphics engine, making it very simple for non-technical people to manage and automate a live stream from multiple cameras.  The synchronization can slip over time if you’re not actively managing that process, and I think that’s one of the fundamental architectural differences between the system that takes it to a professional class solution.

Larry Jordan:   A few weeks ago, we talked with the folks at Switcher Studio which also provide the same multi camera capability with streaming.  How is Cinamaker different from say Switcher Studio?

Benjamin Nowak:  I think there are some fundamental differences in our architecture that we believe are significant.  Primarily our synchronization engine.  I should speak specifically to features.  The most meaningful one is synchronization, but they don’t audio mix, their graphics engine actually does some things better than us, but a lot of things not.  That’ll be our challenge to differentiate ourselves from them.  But I think when people use the product, it’ll be clear.

Larry Jordan:  I was just reflecting, we’ve got a tablet device which is serving as the control center for controlling the cameras, and it’s doing the audio mixing, and it’s doing video compression and it’s doing synchronization.  Can a tablet handle that level of workload?

Benjamin Nowak:  Surprisingly, today’s current generation of tablets can.  The newest $329 iPad is more than enough horsepower to handle 4 HD streams, synchronization, media management transfer, and we also have an android system under development that works fine with all the current generation tablet computers.

Larry Jordan:  Taking the same question, but looking at it a different way, you’ve got a control center, and you’ve got audio mixing and you’ve got graphics control.  Does the interface make it so complex that one person can’t really run the whole show?

Benjamin Nowak:  That’s a good question because typically these functions are done by more than one person and across various systems.  We’ve built the app like a mobile app, and not like a traditional piece of video software.  So, simplicity is what we are very good at, while allowing a rich feature set.  You can easily tab between your switcher, your audio mixer, your graphics engine turning on and off layers, picture in picture, chroma key.  It’s all pretty straightforward to the degree that my six year old has learned how to operate the platform, and can do everything.  That’s my best way to explain how easy it truly is.

Larry Jordan:  There’s your beta tester, right there.  What’s involved in getting started with the app?  What do we need to do?  I’ve decided that I want to do a three camera multi cam live stream.  If we exclude distribution because I want to come to that in just a second, what do we need to get started?

Benjamin Nowak:  Simply the app running on a tablet computer, and our capture app running on a smartphone.  Alternately, you can connect directly.  We’re interfacing the E action camera that’ll connect directly to the tablet, and Panasonic’s line of IP cameras, their Pan/Tilt/Zoom line.  They’ve just licensed our software to be their mobile solution for the remote control and live streaming of their Pan/Tilt/Zoom products.

Larry Jordan:  Congratulations, that’s a major win.

Benjamin Nowak:  Thank you.  Then once you have your cameras connected with the tablet, it’s a matter of just choosing your destination, setting your resolution, any settings and hitting go, determining if you want to do a simultaneous HD record while you’re streaming or potentially save out a live cut of your stream.  You have various options there.

Larry Jordan:  How about audio?  Many audio is going to go through a mixing console.  How do we handle integrating audio from an external device?

Benjamin Nowak:  Right now we have the concept of camera assistance and audio assistance.  Every camera that is using a smartphone or any of the IP cameras that have a microphone or an audio input, can be an audio source that can be mixed in.  You can also use a smartphone as a dedicated audio assistant to plug in to anything, a mixer board or a microphone, and to allow the director to easily mix in up to eight audio sources.  Four from the various cameras, and then four additional audio sources.  So you can do the mixing inside of Cinamaker, or you can use an external mixer and just have one source come through.

Larry Jordan:  What are your recommendations to optimize for quality?  How do we get the best sound, and how do we get the best picture?

Benjamin Nowak:  They’re centered around a lot of the traditional video production best practices and principles.  From a production standpoint of course it’s all the regular stuff, lighting composition, all the things I don’t need to explain to you. From a technical standpoint, while we allow for a variety of different technical configurations, we pretty much simplified in taking out the complexity.  So as a user, you’re really just setting your destination, your resolution, and we have some settings to adjust bit rate and if you’re doing a recording some more professional higher bit rates.  But it can also work in default setting very easily and produce a very high quality HD image.

Larry Jordan:  You’ve mentioned that this connects to Facebook.  Should we consider using a content delivery network like Akami, Live View or are we locked into a particular distribution format?

Benjamin Nowak: We got to really any custom RTMP destination, so we can connect to about everybody out there.  We’re pretty integrated with a couple of services like Facebook Live and YouTube Live, and we’ll add a handful of others.  But there’s really no limitation to what we can go to with our manual settings.

Benjamin Nowak:   One other thing I just wanted to tell you because I see you’re a big Final Cut Pro guy.  We have recently integrated continuity and handoff with our app, so you can shoot multi camera and then have the footage from the individual cameras all go sync into the cloud and become available, and then we create an FCP XML file that you can open that has all your footage on the timeline, and sync ready to go.  So we’re real proud of that feature.  We’re just finishing that up now.  It won’t be in our initial launch but it’s coming.

Larry Jordan:  When does the product ship?

Benjamin Nowak:  Our product ships on the 21st of the month.  We have a special offer for your listeners.  We’re glad to offer early access to a private beta, got a web page on our site if folks would like to sign up.

Larry Jordan:  What’s the price of your product?

Benjamin Nowak:  We are going to launch with a free version, that gives away 90 percent of the functionality.  Then we’ll have a professional version that is going to be sold in a monthly subscription for $49 a month.

Larry Jordan:  That gets me to the next question, where do they go to sign up?

Benjamin Nowak:  Our URL is cinamaker.net.  Then go to the URL/DPB, Digital Production Buzz, get your early access.

Larry Jordan:   That website again is all one word, cinamaker.net, not .com.  Cinamaker.net and Benjamin Nowak is the CEO and founder of Cinamaker.  Benjamin, thanks for joining us today.

Benjamin Nowak:  Thanks for having me.

Larry Jordan:  Video streaming is the latest incarnation of live broadcasting, except we no longer need massive audiences to make it commercially viable.  We can successfully stream highly targeted programs to micro audiences and still make money.  It’s a very exciting time because streaming opens up new methods of distribution allowing us to make money on gear we already own, combined with the production knowledge that we already have.  It’s a win for us, a win for our clients, and a win for our audiences.

Larry Jordan:  I want to thank my guests this evening, Scott Murray with Telestream, Rony Sebok with 1 Beyond, Claudia Barbiero with LiveU, George Hall with Video Streaming Service, Benjamin Nowak with Cinamaker, and as always, James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.

Larry Jordan:   There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com.  Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today.  Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday.

Larry Jordan:  Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Larry Jordan:   Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com.  Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription.  Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.

Larry Jordan:   Our producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.

Larry Jordan:  The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.

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BuZZ Flashback

Five Years Ago Today on The Buzz...


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