Hello USB Pros!
Today we are going to review the latest YouTube Live details including how to get setup with a simple webcam broadcast all the way up to a professional RTMP stream. Streaming to YouTube Live is easier than ever. In this review we take you through the entire YouTube Live and Google Hangouts on Air process from start to finish. This review talks about the major solutions step by step so you can get a visual on how all this works. YouTube LIVE is going to change the broadcasting landscape. Once again Google is going to be giving professional tools to the masses for free. Google Hangouts was the first rendition of free video services but now YouTube Live is going provide a combination of Google Hanouts and YouTube with all new professional options!
Simple Hangouts on Air
Hangouts on Air are basically live broadcast's in the Google Hangout suite. So once you have your YouTube Live Event scheduled and ready to broadcast you have the choice of a "Quick Set Up" which will launch the Hangout's on Air suite. This set up assumes you are going to be using a USB webcam and microphone connected to your computer like you would for a regular video conference call. We really like this set up because you gain all the Google Hangout functionality such as Screen Share. You also get a function called "Live Control Room" where you can tweak some of the settings for what will be shown on the YouTube side.
So in a nut shell Google has combined Google Hangouts with YouTube in the most straight forward way you could imagine. Google Hangouts on Air uses the simplistic WebRTC video conferencing which simply opens in the web browser your using (Preferably Google Chrome). I think this is a genius way to get more people into live broadcasting and opening up the possibilities for small schools who might want to broadcast a play, bars who want to share a video stream of a live performance or churches who want to share the service.
In the next section we are going to talk about using a USB video mixer and even a RTMP stream. These are preferable technology solutions because they will allow technicians to include multiple cameras and microphones from existing broadcast set ups. But it is amazing that Google has simplified the process of video broadcasting down to a USB webcam and microphone for the masses. As you can see from slide 3 above users can even use "Hangouts on Air" to broadcast directly from your smart phone!
Using a USB Video Mixer
A USB Video Mixer is a piece of broadcast equipment that incorporates video and audio inputs and converts the entire stream to USB. A perfect example, and one of my personal favorites, is the Roland VR-50HD. This USB video mixer can take in 4 HD video sources and 4 XLR microphones and mix the entire video broadcast to a USB 3.0 stream in 1920x1080p at 30fps. So as far as Google Hangouts on Air is concerned you have one really nice webcam and microphone connected to your computer. The Roland VR-50HD provides a easy to use touch screen and mixing board to manage the entire broadcast and you can stream to Google Hangouts on Air, Skype for Business or any other video conferencing/webinar software.
I like this solution because we still have the simply "Hangouts on Air" set up process. There is no custom set up like there will be for RTMP streaming (which we explain below) and you can use the USB video mixer for a more targeting webinar setting using a software like GoToWebinar or Zoom.US. So USB Video Mixers are extermely powerful devices (although they are not cheap) they serve a great purpose in this new evolving USB video conferencing and broadcast world we live in.
Using a RTSP or RTMP Stream
This set up is also easy so don't be worried but it does require a few extra steps included in our powerpoint presentation above. On slide 15 you can see that when you are setting up your YouTube Live stream you will need to select "Custom" under the type of live stream. This is where you will need to enter your RTMP information. If you are trying to stream a RTSP stream to YouTube Live you will need to use a 3rd party service like Wowza or TeleStream/WireCast. On slide 16-18 you can see all the set up information asking you to define your RTMP video stream including the resolution and name. Finally you will have to copy and paste the information YouTube Live gives you to point your RTMP stream at your YouTube Live broadcast. In this example we are using the Epiphan Pearl which is already set up to accommodate everything you need for YouTube Live.
The Epiphan Pearl is quite different from the Roland VR50-HD because all the knobs and switches you see on a traditional video switcher are available over the network on a IP interface. This makes the touch screen much more simply to operate and set up. The Epiphan pearl comes with a built in 1TB harddrive so you should think of this as more a streaming server with 4 HD video connections (HDMI and HD-SDI) and 4 audio connections (1/4"). I prefer the Epiphan Pearl because once it's on the network you can have your streaming files upload to FTP server and view live on your computer. The Epiphan Pearl is the new generation of what your going to see when it comes to live streaming and broadcasting. The Pearl has the ability to brand your logo on top of your video stream before it gets sent out to YouTube Live and you can do fades, switching and picture in picture.
YouTube Live is going to be a BIG deal! It's already a BIG deal! Our initial testing was stellar. Everything is so easy to set up and yeah it's FREE. We did notice that there was anywhere from 15-30 seconds of latency which was a little disappointing but hey it's a free service so we instantly forgave them. Personally I think because the software is so easy to use, this is going to open up doors that never existed for schools, churches and entertainment organizations all around the world. How does Google do it? Who knows? I guess they provide these free services to gain market segment and the overhead costs are minimal. Thanks for checking out this YouTube Live review from USB Pros!