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This will assume you have the basic means to stream already, and a Ustream account. Hardware setup is something that is beyond the scope of this tutorial. If you wish to stream with FME, it is recommended that you have at least a 6 megabytes per second DSL or Cable connection with at least 400kb/s upload. Anything less and your stream would not benefit from the use of FME. Assuming you have everything above, you will need the following:
(You can use any Browser you prefer)
Setting up your stream:
- First, you will want to install the Flash Media Encoder. (restart your system once you download)
- Next, you will want to visit the "Dashboard" page on Ustream. (You can reach this page by clicking on your name at the top of any page once you have logged into Ustream.) If you have not yet set up a broadcast, do so now using the "Create a Show" link on the right side of the Dashboard.
- From your Dashboard, click the "Channel" link in the left menu.
- If you have multiple shows, select the one you wish to use, and click on the "Remote" link, again on the menu on the left side of the page.
- On the "Remote" page for your show, download your shows "Flash Media Encoder XML File". (Do not leave this page as you'll need it again further down in these instructions).
- Open Flash Media Encoder - ensuring that you do not have the Ustream Broadcast console already opened.
- Ensure you have a video and audio signal, if not that should be resolved in steps 7 and 8.
- Select "File", and than "Open Profile" in FME. Browse to the location you saved your FME XML file you downloaded in step 3.
- Video Setup. The following will heavily depend on your internet connection, adjust accordingly. The following is based upon a 6mb/400kb DSL connection. There are presets, however you may want to customize further. The following settings are not changeable during a live stream, make sure you have someone watching from another location or another computer while testing speeds and different quality settings.
- Select from the presets drop down "Medium Bandwidth (300kbs) VP6". Even if you have a fast connection, you will want to start off on medium - and work your way up from there.
- Ensure that the check box next to "Video" is selected.
- Next Select your video input device. Once this is selected you should see 2 video preview's above the options dialog, one is the input preview, and one is the output preview. If not, ensure your device is properly connected, and you have the correct video input selected. Also keep in mind, the output preview is only a preview of what is SENT to Ustream, not what is actually displayed live (this is why it is good to have a remote viewer). There are various video input options available such as brightness, contrast and hue by selecting the wrench icon next to the input device name, although the defaults should suffice for now.
- Format: Choose either VP6 or H.264. Also choose the bit rate. I use 1500 as my bit rate.
- Size: For best quality, use a 4:3 aspect ratio, such as 320x240 or 640x480. Ustream does not support widescreen streams - so you will only be reducing the viewable area if you broadcast in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Either should work when streaming. For best results, select 29.97 FPS (frames per second). This is the standard frame rate for streaming video.
- Crop: If there appears to be a black box surrounding your output, you can adjust by cropping the input area using this option. Each number increments by 1 pixel. For best results crop your video so that only the video and not the black box surrounding it is showing.
- Select (check) both "Deinterlace" and "AutoAdjust". Deinterlace blurs the vertical pixels and gives the appearance of a higher quality stream. AutoAdjust will adjust the quality of the stream based upon current internet traffic and dropped frame rates while you are streaming.
- Audio Setup: In this section I will show you how to get the best quality audio.
- Ensure that the check box next to audio is selected.
- Next ensure that the proper audio device is selected. Most people will have 2 options, their computer's sound card, and the video input device. If you do not have both of these options, ensure that your video device and/or your sound card has the proper drivers installed.
- By now you should be seeing an audio meter to the left of the input video preview. If not, ensure that the selected audio device is playing audio. You may not hear the audio, but you should always see some visual feedback letting you know that audio is being captured. If audio still is not showing, follow the steps at the bottom of this tutorial.
- Format: Format should be set as MP3, this codec is supported by both VP6 and H.264 video capture formats. Also ensure you select "Stereo".
- Sample Rate: Sample rate should be set to 44100Hz.
- Bitrate: 128 should suffice for live streaming over the web. Anything higher and you are only eating bandwidth that could be used to improve the video quality.
- Volume: This is basically user preference. However the default (about half) should be fine.
- Next - You should see under "Volume" something like "Total Video + Audio Bit Rate: 1612kbs" - the total should be no more than 3 times your rated upload speed your ISP gave you or you risk losing frames and having a stream that lags.
- Saving to file. If you wish to record and are using the H.264 Format for video capture, you can save the stream to a file. Before you press Start, click the checkbox next to "Save to file", and than browse to the location you wish to save to. For instance "C:\My Streams\November-11-2008.flv"
Connecting and Streaming with Ustream
- Now that we have FME all setup click "START" at the bottom of FME and minimize it.
- From the Dashboard's Remote page (which you should still have open from before: see 2-5 in "Setting up your stream" above).
- Click the button that says, "Launch Remote Console".
- In the remote console use the Button to start and stop recordings on your channel.
- Use the chat tab to moderate your social stream and chat and update your status above the social stream.
That's it, your stream should be live. Work with your viewers when you adjust your settings in FME. Just remember you have to close your broadcast console each time you make changes in FME, so close the broadcast console, Hit "Stop" in FME, make your changes, than follow items 1-5 above again.
No Audio displayed in FME
Just because you do not hear audio, does not mean that audio is not being broadcast. To test this, choose your sound card as your audio device, and play an MP3 in your Music player. You should see some visual feedback in FME. However if you have ensured that your device is properly connected, and the test above worked but shows no audio feedback when you select your video input device, than you will need to use the advanced settings on your video device. You can do so in FME by following the steps below:
- Click the "Video Device Capture Settings" button (the wrench next to the video input device select box).
- Click the "Crossbar" tab.
- You should have 2 sections, "Input" and "Output". Under "Output" in the top dropdown, select "1: Audio Decoder Out".
- Click Ok. You should now have audio showing feedback from the video capture device.