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Casting Views: ViewCast's Streaming Technology, Part 2

May 5, 2011 10:27 AM

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

When Israeli firm Go-Live decided to make a product for one-man news gathering they took the Niagara 2120 encoder from ViewCast, surrounded it with proven field shoot technology, and put it all together in a revolutionary way for ENG remotes. Eitan Ortal is going to tell us how they did it, next up on the SVC podcast.
Eitan, it’s great to have you with me on the SVC podcast all the way from Jerusalem to tell us about the Go-Live kit for mobile internet and video streaming. You took a piece of very proven equipment, the Niagara 2120 streaming encoder from ViewCast, and you built it into a backpack for live news remotes and a one-man crew. The company is Go-Live and how long has that company been in business?

Well we’ve been in business since 2008. We just wanted to supply an answer for a growing demand for live video. Our business is a web-casting service company. We provide our clients with the whole video production, encoding facilities and everything…streaming and everything required in order to transmit a live event over the internet. [Timestamp: 1:28]

And of course doing live shots everything has to work the first time and you have to have gear that you can have confidence in. But it’s not all news gathering a lot of things are going on there. What other types of events have you used the Go-Live kit for?
Well basically Go-Live does a lot of news, a lot of coverage for conventions, for all sorts of live events. We’ve all sorts of private family events including families and on the other side, funerals, and all sorts of events where people could not attend and wanted to be part of the thing happening. Basically in Israel it’s a very big need for live broadcast being that Israel is very much connected to the world. A lot of the population here is people that immigrated to Israel and have strong relations especially in the US and Europe. [Timestamp: 2:16]

And since you took the Niagara 2120 and built a highly mobile package around it you’re dealing mainly with wireless internet transmission and that’s probably the most technically challenging part of this whole production chain. What’s the range of video quality that Go-Live can provide in a webcast like this?
Basically if we’re talking mainly about the Go-Live kit, the Go-Live kit runs on a cellular 3G network. Based on our experience on internet viewers in Israel and internet bandwidth we usually do not supply more than 700kBps because we keep in mind both video quality and a good streaming experience. As for the kit, as I said it runs right over 3G so it’s basically up to what your network can supply. We usually set it up around 450kBps to get the best quality. [Timestamp: 3:07]

And you can run into anything out there doing live news. The story you plan to shoot is not the…always the one you run into and you originally developed this mobile kit for your own use but others have shown a lot of interest in it so are you targeting this exclusively for news gathering or is there a wider potential market?
Well the thing is the kit was basically designed with our knowledge in event webcasting. We needed some sort of solution that’s first of all affordable and secondly will transmit your live video from the event over the internet and make it mobile so we could walk and…and move while you transmit. So when we made this device for our news we saw that there’s a big use for that market. The kit is made for webcasters. It streams video in the best quality directly to the internet as you go basically ENG, one-man webcasts, worship, government, family events—whatever you need to broadcast on the go. [Timestamp: 4:06]

And it was only a few years back this might have looked like something that only NASA would have come up with but with live internet video it’s a whole new ballgame now. What do you see as the trend now? We’ve gotten used to seeing microwave and satellite trucks everywhere but everything newer is smaller and usually less expensive so what do see is the trend between satellite up links and live one man internet video?
Well the way it looks on location I think that the days for OB vans are more or less numbered because OB vans normally, what we see now, transmit their video over the satellite through their MCRs and from there their video is re-encoded and conveyed again over the internet anyhow so today when your 3 and 4G networks are growing with the ability to provide almost the same stability in bandwidth and you can have the good encoding devices to encode your video in low bit rates, low file sizes and still have very good quality. I think the days for millions of dollars of equipment that move around in a truck are close to an end—yeah. [Timestamp: 5:1]

Yes the same advance in video compression technology that enables satellite transmission and now it’s moving beyond big trucks and C-band antenna farms to fantastic advances in mobility. With a single camera person carrying this kit around, how much does the whole thing weigh?
Well the kit’s fitted with standard broadcast batteries and if you were carrying a couple of batteries then the kit weighs at around 7k—that’s 14lbs. It’s fitted on a backpack and you can just pack it and go. [Timestamp: 5:42]

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