We did a Facebook Live!

August 26th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

And it went swimmingly

We’ve been livestreaming video content for years now – everything from awards ceremonies, to pitches, via concerts and financial results.  Getting the video out onto the internet is only one part of the equation though, the other part is choosing where to put that live stream, how to point your audience to it and get them watching.

Facebook integrated livestreams into their platform a while ago, and have recently opened this facility up to be able to take a feed from professional level encoders.  Today we did some testing to make sure we could get this up and running, and with a minimum of fuss we were streaming straight into the Paradigm Creative Facebook page, complete with a notification to all our followers, and automatic encoding of a video on demand version of the stream after it was over, all with comments, likes and engagement and reach stats built in.

Pretty powerful stuff!

If you’re as geeky as us, then head below the embed for some technical details.

A few technical points to note:

– We were running this through our Blackmagic Atem switcher using a single ENG style camera over HDSDI.  Audio was courtesy of a Sennheiser lapel mic embedded in HDSDI stream.  The VT was a quick loop which was playing on a MacBook Pro and fed into the Atem over HDMI.  We set the Atem to follow audio when we switched.   The encoder was a rackmount PC with a Blackmagic Decklink capture card running Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder.  Obviously this was a fairly simple technical setup for the purposes of testing; but anything we can get into our switch will now stream live – so this can be scaled up to cover any level of production.

– In terms of using FMLE for the encoding, it was all fairly straight forward; this page has most of the technical information you need to get up and running; we streamed at the largest supported resolution of 1270×720 at the max 4000kb/s bitrate, without any issues.  We already had the AAC audio codec installated on our encoder machines (this codec isn’t bundled as standard in windows).  Two things to note which weren’t mentioned on the Facebook support page – Facebook live only supports Mono audio and wouldn’t accept our stream with stereo enabled.  FMLE requires the server information in separate fields, with the server url being entered in the RTMP address field in FMLE, and the stream key being entered in the stream name field on FMLE.

– There was some discrepancy between our previews; both audio and video than how the final video came out.  Audio could have done with being a few db higher and the shot came out darker in the final stream than on our previews.

– From the point of view of the Facebook live interface, we found there was a few seconds latency from hitting live within the Facebook event and the stream moving from preview to live – we actually started on our animated sting and transitioned into the camera view – these first few seconds were cut off from the live stream and the recording; useful to note if you’re trying to be precise with your timings.  As soon as we turned the stream off through the Facebook interface, our encoder got booted off the streaming server – this is because each stream url that Facebook generates is only good for a single livestream – if you’re wanting to do multiple streams within a short space of time (such as at an event) it might be worth having two encoders running and setting up your facebook posts in advance so you can co-ordinate your generated Facebook Live urls.

If anyone else has had any experience livestreaming to Facebook Live then let us know in the comments, or tweet us @ParadigmCrtv

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