I got back from Oslo last night after working at an event for Skagen Funds with live webcasting of interviews. It was an very interesting experience and I learned a lot. Mainly all of the things that can go wrong with live webcasting.
The software/service we used to stream live was Livestream Procaster. It’s an ok and easy to use software with varying degree of difficulty, depending on the users level of knowledge. If you want to make it easy and simple you can, but it also have some options to satisfy the more advanced user.
However if you are an advanced user and want to learn the software well and take control, it’s a bit messy. Adjusting the settings is somewhat messy and hard to find. We never quite figured it out.
One of the most notable problems we noticed was the audio. Even though the input quality was excellent and the bitrate should be sufficient it sounded bad and had digital noise. This was a result of the messy settings. We adjusted the settings in the Procaster module, but we’re not quite shure if adjusting these settings had anything to do with the stream or just the recording. Until you figure it out properly you’re probably better off with just using the preset. Another problem with the audio was that if we plugged the mic directly into the computer audio and video was out of sync.
A couple of other draw back; we could not monitor audio or video before going live. We could just see the peak meter, but not listen to the audio. This is unacceptable and makes it really hard to ensure the quality of the stream and checking connections. As a result of this we had difficulties connecting DV cameras (as mentioned before) and problems finding the best settings and adjust them correctly to our current situation.
All in all we experienced that there were a lot of things that could go wrong. Proper internet access that was fast enough was one problem, connectivity, settings. All of this could and at some point also went wrong. Not being able to test it properly offline or to stay connected without broadcasting was this systems largest drawback. Apart from that, on the plus side; it did work, and it worked well when it did! There was only about 5 seconds (depending on bitrate and internet connection of course) delay, which is very good! However, we were always excited to see if it would work when we hit “Go Online”. So all, in all with a little bit more testing on our part and with a few upgrades to the software from the developer, the Livestream solution may in fact be a very good one.