Live Stream Setup for Ran8adidas

So a couple of weeks back we had the honour of live streaming of Ran8adidas (the 8th year anniversary celebrations of Ranoadidas.com) at the International Convention Center (ICC). We share with you how we managed to get mobile video in the field with the ability to add overlays and mix the audio source with any audio source while at the same time live streaming and recording it.

Watch the recorded video from this setup at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ran8adidas

Our Setup:

  1. WebCamera for iOS (US$2.99) running on an iPod Touch or iPhone to act as video and audio sources out in the field
  2. Mobiola WebCamera (free) on the streaming computer to retrieve video and audio from the iOS device (they show up as webcam video and microphone audio devices)
  3. 3G modem used as an Internet connection
  4. OS X’s Internet sharing to ensure the iOS device and the computer are on the same network
  5. CamTwist (free) to add overlays and text
  6. MacBook Pro line-in port to receive sound from the mixer
  7. A USB sound card to be used as audio out for monitoring
  8. Soundflower was used as extra audio devices to aid the transfer of audio from audio sources to audio outputs
  9. LadioCast (free) for audio mixer/switching between mixer and iOS device audio
  10. uStream.tv (free) to stream and record the live video and audio

Other notes:

  • The video quality wasn’t great and it was a trade-off between faster frame rates vs better image quality and resolution which were limited factors of the WebCamera application (192×144 vs 480×360, but I’m not sure to measure the frame rate). We decided on better image quality as it would be made worse by the spotty 3G connection
  • We tried using uStream Producer (free) but it was inconsistent as it dropped after 30 seconds. I wonder if this could be due to the 3G reception.
  • If you have an Android device you can use IP WebCam (free) to stream the video and audio from the device to a computer. I used 2 different instances of VLC (free) to play the video and audio. The video could then be captured using CamTwist and the audio controlled with LadioCast
  • We experimented with PocketCam for iOS ($4.99) paried together with the PocketControl (free) client software but the delay in video and audio was too great, ~10 seconds.
  • Alternatives to CamTwist (OSX) are ManyCam (Windows / OSX) and WebCam Studio for GNU/Linux (Linux) but CamTwist has quite a few nifty features and would recommend it

YouTube File Formats

One thing I love about Firefox is the Video DownloadHelper. Not only can it be used to download YouTube videos but it can also detect video in any webpage and offer a download link. This is good for situations where you let a YouTube video load only to find that it has stopped loading half way or something messed up. Also having a copy of the file lets you play it while you’re offline too. One thing that has always got me confused was the download links you get on a YouTube page as shown below

There are 2 .flv links and 2 .mp4 links and each file means something different. If you check YouTube’s wikipedia page there are 6 formats in use and as you can see the a high fmt value (which is the number after “HQ” in the download links above) is not necessarily the best quality and also an .mp4 file link is also not necessary the better quality file.

YouTube file formats

YouTube file formats

Confusing isn’t it? So I downloaded fmt 34,18 and 35 and the following are screen captures from the video of each of them. I did not download 720p or 1080p as I believe those 2 have the highest quality and the 1080p video link did not display in the listing too.

MP4 (fmt 18), resolution: 480×270:

MP4 (fmt 18) blow up to the same resolution (854×480) for comparison:

FLV (fmt 34), resolution 854×480 (am not sure why the resolution is the same as fmt 35 even though the specifications says it shouldn’t be):

FLV (fmt 35), resolution 854×480:

Based on this video it seems that MP4 makes the video blurry and soft while the FLV files (both format 34 and 35) seem hard to differentiate between. Also take note the file sizes:

  • MP4 (fmt 18): 14.5MB
  • FLV (fmt 34): 21.8MB
  • FLV (fmt 35): 30.1MB
  • MP4 (fmt 22): 66.8MB

Taking that into account, I recommending downloaded the MP4 if you are more concerned about file size (and data charges if using 3G to download) while stick with FLV 35 for good quality without huge file sizes of a 720p/1080p MP4 high definition video file.

Motorola Milestone XT launches while the Nokia N8 edits movies

A day after the iPhone 4 was announced with 720p video recording and iMovie for video editing, the Motorola Milestone XT has launched in Singapore with 720p video recording with HDMI out (similar to the Nokia N8) and Nokia also reveals video editing on the N8 (as shown below)

Check out Tech65‘s first look at the Milestone XT below, with pricing with StarHub contracts over at Justin’s blog

I’m personally more interested with Nokia only cause it’s a device with an OS that has yet been released to the public and has features such as USB on-the-go. USB on-the-go allows it to connect to a USB drive for reading and writing purposes just like a regular computer. How cool is that!? Nokia’s timing of releasing footage of movie editing on the N8 has to be a straight punch to iMovie for iPhone 4 and the only issue, specifications wise, for the N8 is the screen resolution of 640×360. Based on Engadget’s smart phone comparison, it’s the 2nd worst of the bunch just after the Palm Pre. However, I still believe in Nokia as it has features like file management via bluetooth, meaning I can transfer files to and from the phone wirelessly. While it may not be as fast as USB, the convenience factor trumps it and I use it all the time with my Nokia E71. Specifications-wise the N8 is similar to the iPhone 4 but being a new OS there could be issues, but I’m hoping that Nokia will use it’s many years of phone making experience to add that extra touch to their new product that could give iOS and Android a run for their money

Enabling Auto-Focus on the Nokia E71 for Qik and uStream video streaming

I found this out accidentally the a few weeks back. I was playing around with the Qik or uStream application and realized it was auto focusing, but the Nokia E71 by default in the video recording application does not have auto focus. After playing around a bit more I found that you need to enable auto focus in the camera application (by pressing ‘T’) and get red corners (it doesn’t work if you get green corners) before switching to Qik / uStream clients. If anybody knows what the significance of red vs green corners when you auto-focus on the E71 do let me know for I am curious why it doesn’t work for green corners but does for red.

  1. Launch the Camera Application
  2. Enable auto-focus by pressing ‘T’. Make sure you get red corners as it doesn’t work if you get green corners. Just keep pressing ‘T’ until you get red corners
  3. Click home and launch Qik or uStream and auto-focus should be enabled

Application of the Day: VobEdit

VobEdit screenshot - main screen

VobEdit (download link) allows you to extract the audio and/or video files from DVD VOB files. Typically I will use ffmpeg to extract audio or video streams from DVDs, but sometimes the DVD were not burned properly giving ffmpeg an error that prevents the extraction. Here is where VobEdit comes it. Select the VOB file, click the "demux" button, select the stream, select save location and you’re done! Other features include splitting, joining and remuxing VOB files

VobEdit screenshot - extract all audio streams 

Kudos to Doom 9 for providing great resources for VOB tools and many other DVD/encoding/transcoding information

Local Brunei Content

I’m always on the look out for what content Bruneians or people in Brunei are producing. From Adam Groves’ episodic The Jo & Jul Show to David Cheok’s Cinematography and the many photos of the many other Brunei bloggers.

Recently I discovered  Akinari Production (thanks to @oxba). Comedic performances with good music to set up the scenes. Nicely done. Below is one of their episodes/shows entitled “Don’t mess with Hafiz”. Enjoy!