• Capitalizing on Streamlined Streaming

  • By: Brian McCullagh, CTS-I, Technical Solutions Engineer

    You have a need to connect. Maybe it is to communicate with the community for a school board, government council or association. Or, perhaps it’s to deliver classroom instructions to students that are unable to get into a classroom. You know you are going to stream a webcast, but what is the next step and will you get the results you are looking for?

    Streaming can be super simple. You could grab your mobile device, open your Facebook app, press live stream, and you are finished. However, you quickly realize the audio does not sound good in a large room, the video is very shaky, and there is only one camera view as an option. Perhaps your intention was to use some titling and slide information, to stream to Facebook and YouTube simultaneously, all while recording a copy. All of these goals you are not able to do with your phone. Granted, there are ways to improve the quality of your content on a mobile device such as utilizing a camera’s video, adding a microphone, and using a computer and software to upload and edit the video. You could add another camera, a video switcher, etc., but now the need to connect is morphing into the need for a full video production crew.

    In between the simplicity of steaming from your mobile device and the complexity of a full video production system there is the new Pearl mini from Epiphan video. This small unit can capture content from HDMI, SDI, USB, and H.264 network sources as well as multiple inputs for analog audio. It can switch between these sources and mix audio live in real-time using its’ built-in touch screen or browser-based control. You can even add text overlays and use picture in picture. The output content can then be streamed to multiple services simultaneously, recorded to an SD memory card, and uploaded to a(S)FTP server in 1080p resolution all at the same time.

    I would be remiss in not focusing on a few features that make this product so powerful:

    1. Security – The unit is built for security – it is not an afterthought. It supports RTMPS to encrypt the streams, SFTP to secure file transfer, HTTPS for web control security, and 802.1x certificate authentication to work on enterprise networks. It supports multiple login privileges to secure the unit itself, and the ability to integrate with Active Directory through LDAP to implement the login process. It can do secure, remote login for control or support.
    2. Integration with Crestron Control Systems – The Pearl family includes the ability to integrate with Crestron control systems. Through Crestron integration, we can add camera and lighting control automation to video production and streaming. Potentially to the point of condensing user control down to a single Start/Stop button on a lectern or conference table.
    1. Steaming to Multiple Services Simultaneously – Recently, I was talking about webcasting with a friend who does video production and streaming for his church. When simultaneous streaming came up, he recounted the troubles he had and the time consumed with configuring his computer-based streaming software to stream YouTube and Facebook live at the same time. The Pearl supports six popular streaming protocols as well as integration with Panopto and Kaltura content management services, so it will work with most all streaming services.

    Epiphan’s website has plenty of great information about the Pearl mini and it’s even more capable sibling, the Pearl 2, as well as videos about both. For help choosing the right cameras or integrating the Pearl into your application, contact us today!