How is a live-streamed production created?

1.
Production

Live productions are created by a person or team, using a mobile phone or professional equipment. Read more below under "Live production"

2.
Ingestion

To reach out, you must first encode the video and then send up to a Video platform like Streamio - Further down we tell you more about this under "ingestion and encoding"

3.
OVP

Streamio is an OVP - Online Video Platform that offers complete management of video on demand and live stream - read more below about what it means.

4.
CDN

Global Delivery - We use Rackfish CDN with nodes around the world to make sure everyone can see your live production! Read more about how it works below under "Delivery and CDN"

5.
Video player

The video player is the cornerstone of the entire live production. This is where viewers meet the stream so to speak. A good video player is therefore essential, and you can read more about what it does below under "video player."

Learn more about live productions:

A live production consists of a chain of events from what is filmed to it reaching the viewer. Here we go through the parts of a live production in more detail than above!

It all starts with the production of video. This is an incredibly wide scope and can look in a lot of different ways.

Many live productions today take place with a regular mobile phone and in other cases there are several cameras and an entire production team working to create the video content

This part we leave with a warm heart to our customers or the production companies we work with – it’s in the next step Streamio Live, Rackfish Live or Rackfish Ultra-low-latency first gets involved!

On Rackfish’s blog, there is an article about our live productions of events from around the world – please skim the points under “To think about.” Read more here!

The produced video needs to be sent into our systems – we often call it “ingestion”.

From a production perspective, there are two parts involved here.

Encoding

Video straight out of a modern camera is not usable online; it is too big and has, as a rule, the wrong format. It must be adapted for online distribution. In the encoding you choose:

Resolution of the movie to be sent up (for example, 720p, 1080p, 4K).

Codec – how the film should be compressed, where h.264 is the reliable standard for image and AVC for sound)

Compression – how much data to send to the video platform, often you just have to choose bitrate. (At Streamio, you should not send higher than 3000kbps, while Rackfish Live doesn’t have a limit).

Format – The video material should be packed into something and there you choose a format, or a container. The most widely used format is RTMP.

Ingestion

When the settings are ready, send the whole thing away! This is where you set up server settings, which usually consist of a server name with variables and a key. Some systems also require login.

In practice,

If you stream with a mobile phone and use Larix Broadcaster (our recommendation) or Wowza Gocoder, you get all this set automatically when you send out the setup email or scan the QR code.

In other systems, it is usually pre-selected to use the correct settings – what you need to do is to talk about the server name and key. There are many suggested settings in Streamio support, and the most common are available as buttons in Streamio Live.

If you are using Streamio Live, it is important to double-check that it does not get too high bitrate, 3000 is the max!

Your video platform, then receive the incoming stream, adapt it, record it (if selected), and then forward it for distribution. The video platform also keeps track of bandwidth consumption and the number of viewers.

Recording

If you use recording in the video platform, we always recommend that you make a local recording as well, if the material is at all important. This is for two reasons – first, the platform cannot record with better quality than it receives, so it may be good to have a higher quality saved locally. Secondly, there is a much higher risk of quirks and even ruined recordings, when a video is to be sent over the net and recorded, which usually involves several servers.

Video player

The video player is usually part of the video platform and it is what is used to actually publish the live stream. In Streamio, you can use the video player directly on any web page by just pasting either the embed code or the short link. You can also publish to Streamio Channels, and choose exactly which channels to show the live stream.

A smart feature for Streamio’s Channels is that it records automatically. If you broadcast to a channel, you can make sure that the recordings end up automatically in the right channel as well!

When the stream is sent out for delivery, further adjustments are made. The incoming stream (H.264 in RTMP) is adapted to a format that browsers and mobile phones also understand. The new format will in Streamio become H.264 in HLS which is a packaging that works almost everywhere.

The conversion to HLS is done on the fly, which means that the stream is divided into small packages, and a “menu” called manifest is created where all parts associated with the stream are specified. This manifest is what the video player downloads and learns which movie parts it needs.

CDN

The stream is posted on our CDN (Content Delivery Network), which is a whole bunch of servers spread across more than 40 countries around the world. These servers store the live stream so that all viewers have the content at your fingertips. It also means that not all viewers connect to a server that will handle thousands of concurrent viewers – but viewers are distributed on the CDN nodes, and they, in turn, link back to Streamio.

What a visitor sees is usually just video players that embed in a web page, in Streamio’s channels or the short link player.

Our video player is a modern player that works everywhere and supports things such as accessibility, Live streaming and on-demand, mobile phones, and more.

When a viewer opens the video player, no matter where it’s published, it does several things – it connects to Streamio, downloads the manifest, gets referred to the closest node in the CDN that has enough available capacity, and uses the stream from there.