Wirecast at Work

21 08 2007

Wirecast at Work — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

How I managed to stream Second Life as a live video, but to other regions and out to the web as well (and recorded as an archive) — all done on my Apple MabBookPro!

For the NMC Symposium on Creativity in Second Life, I put Wirecast to the test.

As a streaming video solution, it allows me to broadcast a window of a desktop application, in this case Second Life, out to our streaming server (a hosted XServe), much like QuickTime Broadcaster can do as a free app, but with so much more….. Broadcaster cannot do an app window, and Wirecast allows you to dynamically compose layered effects (title screens) and switch between video sources with transitions.

Audio was a bit trickier. Larry was talking via our streaming audio serverm which was not captured as output anywhere in Wirecast– until I remembered Soundflower, the free app that creates virtual sound channels. In my Mac Sound panel, I set the default output to SoundFlower, which I could then pick up as an audio source in Wirecast.

So top left is my SL view, essentially a camera. The Wirecast controls are in the right, and the desktop presenter in bottom left (bottom right is a Skype chat opened that we used for team communication).

This setup was done primarily to overcome the audience limits of SL- 60-65 per sim; by broadcasting the view as video, we can attach to any other place in SL, record a video archive.

It worked flawlessly. The second time we did iut, rather than just stream the view of the ending video (Robbie Dingo’s Watch the World(s)), I had downloaded the source video, and then sued Wirecast to switch sources from SL to this video.

The recorded video is sweet!
media.nmc.org/sl/video/why-creativity-matters.mov

I was surprised I could do this on a single machine– for future use, it looks like I am going a two machine set up- where I will use a high end PC to be my Sl display and route the video to my Mac.

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2 responses

22 08 2007
Jo Kay

Brilliant Alan – thanks for sharing! ;) I’m going to attempt some streaming video for a mixed reality event in September so this is waaaaay handy! ;)

22 08 2007
Alan

I should have noted that I have fairly high speed DSL at my home office- just ran the Speakeasy test, and I have 2504 kbps speed, but the important, 854 kbps for upload. With SL pretty much in a frozen mode (fixed camera, and chat off) it is hopefully not pulling too much (a handy thing is to use the Client menu, under character, character test is a check box that will prevent it from logging you off).

My streaming is set at 284kbps so there is plenty of room there. And I am on a wired connection.

And, its not easy on a small laptop (I use my MacBookPro) for screen space; the SL window is scrunched as it goes out at 320×240 (I miight have fiddled with the capture settings to get the area of the screen since it includes the titlebar of the window).

Lastly, to repeat, a key aspect for being able to stream is sending it to a proper streaming server that actually handles the stream requests (each avatar viewing is another stream of data).

AND… the trickiest part was getting the sound out from SL, as the Desktop Presenter tool does not capture sound. And unless it was fixed truly in the last update, SL client sticks with the sound sources when you launch the app- so leave the audio in speaker or headset mode when you launch SL, then swap your sound source to Soundflower– otherwise, you cannot listen to the sound (this happened on the second time we did this, I had to launch my wife’s computer in the other room to hear the audio).

But for the future, it looks like I am getting a high end PC to be the SL viewer, and route the video through an analog-Digital box so I can have that as an input to my Mac– much less load on one machine.

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