Thu 25 Jan 2007
Monday night we had a Bible study at our house, it was given by Bishop Paul, the bishop of Mission Affairs. By the grace of God it was attended by over 70 people (I think that is a record for our family room). During the day I got lots of requests to stream the Bible study, so I put together a quick solution. Thank God, it worked out great and we had 33 people streaming. Here is a mini-howto on how I had it setup on Monday.
Note: This is a very basic setup, see my previous post, Tech we Use: Part 2 – Streaming and Recording, for more information on the full setup we use at church.
Video Camera with Firewire
Windows PC with Firewire
Windows Media Encoder 9 (free)
Before starting you will need to figure out where you will host your stream. Windows Media Encoder can host up to four streams which is about the max most home/office Internet connections can handle. To support more clients, we use a dedicated Windows server running Windows Media Services on a 100 Mb connection at ServerBeach. Other options are services such as Christian Video Channel, VitalStream or ChurchQuest (plans start at $8.95/month).
If you will be hosting on your own, make sure you have sufficient upstream bandwidth. We usually run a 387 Kbps stream, which with a 2 Mbit upstream you could serve 4 to 5 clients. (There is quite a bit of overhead due to buffering, etc.) Also, you will have to open a few ports on your firewall.
For this example we will be using our dedicated windows server.
1. Connect video camera to PC via firewire, Windows XP should automatically detect it.
2. Fire up Windows Media Encoder, the new session wizard should pop, select the “Broadcast a live event” wizard.
3. Under Device Options, select your video camera for both the video and audio (unless you are using an external mic connected to the sound card).
4. We will push to our Windows Media server, this avoids opening inbound ports on the firewall.
5. Server and Publishing Point
Server Name: DNS or IP address of server running Windows Media Services
Publishing Point: Choose a name for your stream (does not need to already exist)
6. Under Encoding Options we chose the default setting of 387 Kbps under “Live Broadcast video”
7. We usually don’t archive the file using the streaming box because of the reduced quality (recording quality is based on the Encoding Options we just chose), we just slide a tape into the camcorder.
8. We don’t include any videos for an intro or conclusion, but you can easily do so.
9. Add in all the relevant information about your stream.
10. Review the settings and click finish.
11. You will be prompted for a user name and password, enter an account that will allow you to create/manage publishing points on the streaming server.
12. Start Encoding
13. Tell your users to point their web browsers to http://servername/publishingpoint