Video Broadcasting

Video broadcasting is made easy in today’s world using a broadcasting app like Finncast Studio.

In the past video broadcasting was usually done by Television stations & Video Production companies. That day has well passed, and the need to have a broadcasting license in some countries for TV broadcasting was restricting many people from connecting to the world.

Video studio

 

In today’s world online broadcasting is enormous and free for all to do.  Many people are making a great living from their pre-edited videos & live streaming. It is endless the video content being provided, from tech reviews to ASMR videos.

Many people have gone full time into broadcasting live & video production. It can be done as simple as  using a  webcam & a copy of Finncast Solo and  away they go on YouTube Live, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, VK, ok.ru, Twitch and so on as there is just too  many live streaming sites to mention.

Online broadcasting is here to stay and there are so many ways to do this from a video studio or even from your own home at very little cost.

Why do people broadcast online?

Because they can make and are making great money from it & they are even becoming famous. The world is your audience and when you broadcast the world is watching.

There are many broadcasting sites that broadcast in HD (high definition) and video streaming software usually has settings for various resolution sizes.

The best live streaming services I suppose are the ones that are free or cheap but also who have big audiences.

Let’s step back a bit here.

People usually broadcast some sort of video content or a show.

How do they make money from it? They make money from a video broadcast or just from previously created videos uploaded to be watched on sites like YouTube. Yes, you get paid in so many ways from YouTube for views of adverts on your video, from companies who see you have a big audience. For example, if you did a broadcast on best grooming tips for men and your video had millions of views, many manufactures of men’s products will take notice quickly and pay you to mention / review their products and also you are getting paid from the advertising. Most people with successful broadcasts get tons of free products to review , promote them and get paid also from the supplier. Define successful broadcast! A lot of views full stop. Does it matter if your show was that entertaining, not at all if you got the viewers? But of course, a good show or appropriate content brings the viewers.

 

Not all live broadcasts are live, the video content was created at an earlier date and is been broadcasted live to a particular audience at a particular time zone. Yes, people are making money as they sleep, nothing like waking up to a PayPal notification saying you received a Payment!

To spend even a whole day making a 30-minute broadcast could be most profit making. Think about it! no stock, no office required, No delivery services, repeated revenue over and over again.

Of course, how you make your video or live broadcast is important!

The more professional it is the more likely people will stay watching. And to keep them watching and coming back is your aim or at least it should be.

First let’s look at how to get started creating excellent quality video content.

What will you need.

A computer, A Camera or at least a webcam, Some sort of Video broadcast software, if you want to add effects , a backdrop or Virtual Studio.

 

Broadcasting Studio

 

Also using a software to broadcast is better than a website as it is more stable and has much more options like real time green screen removal and Camera Switching if you are using more than one camera or will be showing video footage as part of you broadcast.

A video studio in todays world can be in your own bedroom using the right equipment. As your success progresses you can build your video equipment on that. Start small but professional with a small budget, then grow.

If you are going to use a small crew with a studio and many people will be involved, you will need to connect serval cameras to your system. Again, a computer is only required with a video capture card for connecting your cameras to the computer.

The computer for most video broadcasting software’s should be of a good specification with a Quad Core CPU (the higher the better) and a high quality graphics card with it’s own GPU & dedicated memory. The broadcasting software itself does not require high processing it is when you are recording and streaming live the processing power can get high especially in HD & 4k.

In the past. a video studio had mountains of equipment to produce the broadcast. In such cases this required much more space for the equipment, higher electrical bills, more technical knowledge, specialized staff to run and maintain the equipment and a large pile of cables. A typical system consisted of a Video Switcher, An Audio mixer, A charter title generator for on screen text, Video players (hardware) to show video footage as part of the broadcast, a physical Studio to broadcast from, a large amount of lighting for the studio, a transmitter to broadcast, a video recorder to record. If one piece of the equipment failed the broadcast failed with it.

 

Thankfully in today’s world all of the above is in one computer with an all in one package.

Just think of the savings in so many ways. So much less equipment, less room, no real technical skills required, just a computer, the broadcasting software, a video capture card, a virtual studio, saving huge money on a set and lighting, though some lighting will be  needed for the green screen, broadcasting online over the internet and of course a couple of cameras. I think it is fair to say we have come a long way!

Beside dedicated video streaming sites like YouTube, now nearly if not all the social media sites are offering live video streaming, yes, it is true! you can live stream on Facebook, Twitter, VK, OK.ru and so many more social network websites.

Before to be a Television presenter you had to be chosen by someone acting on behalf of the television station and many thousands went through the process and the lucky person got automatic fame and had a great career.

But today you make the choices, you get to choose you! You have to opportunity to make your own fame with just a small investment. People are so used to being in front of the camera, having their photos, phone recordings published all over the internet that they do not even think twice about it.

The world is truly at your feet now, and you can broadcast to it with no restrictions. Take this opportunity to give you! a career you will truly enjoy & deserve. Or just to make that extra cash you want. Smile and share your knowledge to the world we are interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to connect cameras to a computer

 

At Finncast we get asked this question almost every day.

The question starts by expressing interest in Finncast Studio and a question “how do I connect my cameras to your software?”

The answer, you can connect the cameras in many ways, by using firewire cards, video capture cards or simply using webcams.

This all boils down to your budget, your video broadcast, your audience. If you a solo broadcaster making videos for YouTube with a small budget, perhaps a Full HD webcam is more than enough. There are so many excellent HD webcams on the market today.

If you want to spend more money and have a really good high-quality camera a video capture card is probably best. Video capture cards come as external cards and internal cards. External video capture cards usually connect via a USB cable into your computer.

Decklink USB Shuttle is a good choice of an external video capture card.

Video capture card Deckslink shuttlele

The shuttle is an external video capture card and can be connected to a Desktop/Tower computer and a laptop.

Decklink Studio Pro 4k card

Decklink Studio Pro 4k card
The Pro 4K is an internal video capture card and is installed into a Desktop or Tower computer and cannot be connected to a laptop as a laptop have no installation pci ports.

Some computers come with a fire wire port.

 

You can buy firewire cards such as the 4 Port PCI 1394a Firewire Adapter Card

 

4 Port PCI 1394a Firewire Adapter Card
4 Port PCI 1394a Firewire Adapter Card

 

When we speak about video capture cards, we are not just referring to cameras. Think video signal instead of video camera as this sort of thinking will give you so much more options.

A video capture card has a video input waiting to receive a video signal. The video signal is from some sort of video output, i.e. your camera outputs a video signal and so does your computer, your TV, gaming console like Xbox/PlayStation, some smart phones, tablets, video projectors and so on.

To simply a video output it is the device that has the visual you want to display.

To simply a video input it is the device that will display the visual.

You can already see the more options you have when you understand video inputs & video outputs.

We also get asked the question, can I run Skype / Power point in your software? Yes, is the answer, of course. If you have a video capture card, you can connect a computer to one of the video inputs on the capture card and then open Skype on the computer.

As you may have noticed we have used the words video input and output, this can cause confusion for some people of which is the input, and which is the output. The video input, is an input for example on a video capture card which receives a video signal and uses that signal to either capture or display the video or do both. Let’s break this down a little more, you have a Desktop computer and you have a monitor which are connected by some sort of cable, like a VGA or HDMI.

video graphics card
video graphics card with multi outputs

The computer has a graphics card (not the same as video capture card) which outputs a video signal or if you like the graphics card has an output & some cards have maybe two or more output types like VGA, DVI, RCA, TV/S, HDMI giving more connection options.

The computer monitor has a video input for receiving the video output from the computer (computers graphics card output) and the monitor will display the video signal on screen. Most computer monitors today will have a few input types allowing for more options on receiving the video signal.

There are times when you may have a video capture card that may only have a video input the does not match the output on your device such as a camera. It is useful to have a camera video output and the video capture card video input to have matching connection i.e. an SDI connection which is usually found on High Definition cameras.

SDI Connection
Video capture card with SDI connection

However, there are more times that the output on your device with not match the input on your video capture card. And remember video in/outputs are the connections or connectors if you like.

This is not a big issue, there are many leads/cable & video converters available that allow converting from one video signal connection type to another. For example, SDI to HDMI, or VGA to HDMI & so on.

SDI to HDMI cable
SDI to HDMI cable

Now that we have talked about video capture cards and devices one thing that should not be over looked is video resolution. Having a HD or 4K camera and a video capture card that is only standard NTSC which is only 720×480 may not give you the result you want, but it will work.

It will all boil down to a few things like your budget, your audience, or simply just a descent looking picture. If your video footage is for an online audience standard definition may well be acceptable and remember a lot of computers / smart phone & tablets do not have 4k resolution yet and if they did the end user may not chew up their 4G data streaming 4k footage, I know I would not.

 

If your video footage can capture an audience because of its content, no one is going to be complaining about standard definition 720/576 pal 720/480 ntsc and most likely will not even notice or even know or care.

If you are starting out in video production, purchasing very expensive high-quality equipment may not be a good idea as your project business may not succeed and you will be left with a big bill for great equipment usually used by well-established video production companies & television stations.

It would be like starting a business & buying a 20-storey building with expansion in mind. You build on success or if you like you grow your business at the right stages.

This is why Finncast has developed high quality and very affordable software for video production & live streaming that can be used at all levels of your success, it is like we are giving you the 20-storey building for the price of 1 floor. We know the market has changed hugely with the success of online video broadcasts & video content on YouTube, Vlogging and all other areas & people are just simply not camera shy anymore. Before it was for the television companies now it is for anyone even an individual. And many people are making a great living on their produced video content. We all know of success stories on Tech reviews, make-up reviews, even ASMR videos are hitting millions of views for a single video.

So, breaking it down to be professional within a budget.  Get yourself A good camera, a video capture card, a computer a copy of Finncast Studio and you are ready to produce and even live broadcast to the world. And if you are not broadcasting live you can even use your phone camera to record and then edit/produce in Finncast.

Chroma Key Green

Chroma Keying

Chroma Keying is a process to create a transparent background from a specific existing background color. The most popular  background colors used are green and blue. This Technic is used in for both photo & video. In video production and live broadcast this is very popular and used widely all over the world for many purposes like reading the weather and now most popular in conjunction with Virtual Sets. The idea is to place the subject usually a person in front of the camera with a color background (usually green), we will say green in this case. Using special software like Finncast Studio live video streaming software can remove the green background completely and creating a transparent background. With all the green removed Place a new image or other video footage behind the transparent background and this will be the new background. This is very usefully for many purposes like weather reading, use in conjunction with virtual sets, advertisements and even special effects.

There are a number of factors to creating the perfect transparent background even using the best chroma keying software you will need to set the lighting correctly on the green background. Choosing a good quality green screen is also something to consider with no creases. Also popular is special green paint or chroma key paint which is also used in the video industry.

Clothing

Clothing is also a factor if using a green background and wearing green clothing this will be a problem and the green on the clothing will also become transparent. In cases where green clothing is going to be worn you should use a blue background and vice versa.

Even Lighting

The biggest challenge when setting up a green screen or blue screen is even lighting and the avoidance of shadow, because it is best to have as narrow a color range as possible being replaced. A shadow would present itself as a darker color to the camera and might not register for replacement. This can sometimes be seen in low-budget or live broadcasts where the errors cannot be manually repaired. The material being used affects the quality and ease of having it evenly lit. Materials which are shiny will be far less successful than those that are not. A shiny surface will have areas that reflect the lights making them appear pale, while other areas may be darkened. A matte surface will diffuse the reflected light and have a more even color range. In order to get the cleanest key from shooting greenscreen it is necessary to create a value difference between the subject and the greenscreen. In order to differentiate the subject from the screen, a two-stop difference can be used, either by making the greenscreen two stops higher than the subject, or vice versa.

Sometimes a shadow can be used to create a visual effect. Areas of the bluescreen or greenscreen with a shadow on them can be replaced with a darker version of the desired background video image, making it look like the person is casting a shadow on them. Any spill of the chroma key color will make the result look unnatural. A difference in the focal length of the lenses used can affect the success of chroma key.

 

What to avoid

  1. Shadows on your green screen do not stand to close to the screen
  2. Good lighting light the screen well and the subject
  3. Clothing, do not wear clothing the same color of the screen being used.
  4. Use a good chroma keying software link Finncast Studio live video streaming software
  5. If using a material green screen have as little creases in the screen as possible.

 

Video Switchers & Mixers

video switcher

Video Switching is where video inputs are switched usually by hardware known as a video switcher or a video mixer.
Video switchers traditionally were a big and heavy piece of hardware and have become more light weight over the years. The purpose of the switcher is to switch video inputs to an output usually known as the program output or program monitor. The program output is what is transmitted and or recorded or if you like, what the end user the viewer sees.
So, let’s step back a bit video inputs, let’s talk about them. Video inputs are a video capture card which receives the output from a visual device such as a video camera but it can also be anything that has a video signal like a computer, a television, a projector, a tablet and so on. As an example, a video cameras video signal is an output. We can put that output via some sort of cable connection into a video input of a switcher. The switcher will usually have a number of video inputs and it is the video inputs that we are actually switching to the program output.

Traditionally video switchers had a lot of additional hardware added to them is some sort of way to allow for video recording, broadcasting and even for playback footage. This meant a lot of hardware with many cables and much electrical power needed and required a lot of room to accommodate this hardware. This if you like became a video studio with hundreds of illuminated lights form all the different hardware, fans added to keep all the equipment cool.

Who uses video switchers? Well traditionally television stations broadcasting many live shows or even to produce pre-recorded show to broadcast at a later date. A typical talk show with have usually 3 set camera. Cameras 1,2&3 usually went from (1) left to (2) centre to (3) right.
Each of these cameras were connected to a video switcher with 3 camera people operating the cameras controlled by a Technical director and or by a person known as a switcher.

A Technical director.

technical director
The Technical director is usually reasonable the broadcast side of things not to be confused with the producer of a show. The Technical director is reasonable for the full audio and visual to be presented to the audience and for each piece of footage to be played and the switching of all cameras. Some Technical directors do the switching themselves and also give commands to the camera operators. Also, usually for more fast switching programs like live news a person known as the switcher operator will press all the physical buttons and line up the view to be switched. The switcher operator will take the commands to switch from the Technical director for example camera 1 “take” or “auto take” or “line up in preview” and so on.
The workload of switching the visuals can be quite fast moving almost like a pilot landing a plane trying to control the aircraft and deal with air traffic control is a very fast and time controlled procedure. So, if you like The Technical director is like the captain and the switcher operator is the co-pilot. Both have a key role to play.
So, what can the average switcher actually do when it comes to live broadcast?
As mentioned above switch all the video inputs and playback footage. Also, when switching there is the ability to switching using transitions.
Transitions or transition switching is where the switch between two visual can be made with some sort of smooth change like a fade, fading between the visuals usually fading one out and one in. In today’s choice of transitions built-in to the switcher there are many to choose from, with flying in and out transitions to blinds, circles and other shapes it can add that extra professional touch to the switch.

Most Switchers but not all! will has a Preview out as well as a Program Out. In traditional Switchers they were only physical outputs that could be connected to monitors for viewing by the Technical director and switcher operator.
The purpose of the preview out (only seen by operating staff) is the setup what will be switched to the program out, it can only be seeing by the operating staff and not by the audience. This is a very useful in know exactly what will be switched to the program out (which the audience will see). It prevents error of switching the wrong camera or playback footage. The Technical director will usually say something like hold camera1 or preview camer1 and the operator with select camera 1 with the preview buttons to be placed in the preview. When ready for the switch from the Preview to the live Program out the command will be either Take camera 1 or Auto Take camera 1.

The Take & Auto Take make the switched from the Preview to the Program out by buttons named Take and Auto Take. Some switchers will have a cut button instead of a Take button in such cases it is likely the verbal command would be cut camera 1 or whatever is to be switched.
The Take or Cut button will without delay and without any transition switch the preview to the program at the blink of any eye. The Auto button or Auto Take button will make the switch between the Preview and Program in a set time in seconds using a chosen transition. As an example, Camera 2 maybe presently in the Program out and now Camera 1 with be faded in over camera 2 in a pre-set time of 3 seconds.

Also used in the Switched process is the most popular Transition Bar.

The Transition bar is where the switch is made manually in a gradual movement by the switch operator using a handle or slider in software or both. The transition bar is used usually when making the switch using a transition like a fade. The Transition bar is different than the auto take button as the operator can stop anywhere in the process. This useful when fading two visuals giving a ghost effect.

Downstream using a switcher.
Not all switcher has the functionality to downstream but for those that do, the downstream options will vary. Downstream options are much more choice in Software video broadcasting programs like Finncast Studio www.finncast.com than those in an only physical switcher.
What exactly is down streaming? Down streaming is where a visual whether it is a camera or an image a chart a piece of video footage is overlaid on the program out. Overlaid meaning placed on top of the existing visual. Unlike the switch which will replace the existing visual with a new one a downstream will be placed over the existing visual with a defined width, height, and position usually setting x position (from the left of the screen moving horizontally) and y position (from the top position moving down vertically). A typical example of a downstream would be a shopping program with a text downstream of a phone number placed on the screen. The most used downstream is logo for the broadcasting company like a Television station. Using the logo as an example of an image being down streamed (overlaid) switching will still take place as normal with the logo remaining on screen. Any video input can be switched (which is technically behind the downstream ) Down streaming is an almost a must for broadcasting especially since online broadcasting is now done by almost anyone who wants to live stream or broadcast professional looking footage.

 

Effects can also be found in Switchers like old movie, Monochrome, Split screen and so on. Such effects are popular in the making of pop videos.

Audio control.

Most switcher will have some form of audio control or even a built-in audio mixer. The Video switcher may also work in conjunction with a separate audio mixer but the video mixer will at a minimum except the audio output from an audio mixer into the audio input of the video switcher. With that said let us talk about video and Audio inputs and outputs.

Inputs and Outputs

For some inexperienced users starting their hand into the video production world, inputs and outputs can become somewhat confusing and even complicated. So what is a video output? It is a video signal from a device like a camera or as an example let us talk about a desktop computer as most of us will have used one at some stage in our lives.

A desktop computer is usually separated from its monitor and connected via a cable. The desktop computer will have a video card installed which will have a video output or maybe more than one output. Some video cards will have a VGA output and a HDMI output. Whichever, it will have the video signal from the video card. The Monitor used to view this video signal will have a video input again usually of either VGA or HDMI or both. So, the video output transmits the video signal and the video input receives it. The video output is always connected to the video input or at least think of it that way. Output what is to be viewed to input what lets me view it.

The process takes place of course will have to encode and decode the video signal but here I just want to explain inputs and outputs from a connection point of view. And yes, there is formatting and codecs etc but we are only going to focus on the connection of such hardware. Many people asked us is it possible to connect a computer to the inputs in Finncast studio? Yes of course is the answer. The users video capture card might have SDI video input connections and their desktop computer HDMI output. Needless to say HDMI will not physically fit into a SDI input, and this is still possible as there are many video converters some of only cable to carry out this process. Input & Output connections may not be of the same connection type but using specific cables or converters makes this very much possible.

Audio Outputs & Inputs work on a similar principle as video just with audio only. As a quick example the microphone outputs the audio to an input of a sound card and the sound cards outputs the audio to the inputs of the speakers or headphones.

Software’s for broadcasting and Switching such as Finncast  Studio hugely eliminate so much of the hardware traditional required. Such software’s have built-in video switching with down streaming, video playback (no need for playback players), Chroma keying for green screen, Lower thirds and even Virtual Sets / Studios. They even have the ability to record without any physical recorder and live streaming over the internet.  And it is now video production is at a high with YouTube uploads and live streams and so many people now being not camera shy video broadcasting is all around us online and very one is at it.

Virtual Sets

virtual sets

Virtual Sets also known as Virtual Studios are largely used in video production and live broadcasting.

For this article we will refer to them as Virtual Sets. So, what exactly is a virtual set and why use one? A virtual set is where we can create a live broadcast or previously recorded show on a set that is virtual. A virtual set can be of an image or a video. The most commonly virtual set is an image.  A Virtual set is used in conjunction with chroma keying usually with a green screen.

chroma key green screen

The image of the virtual set is the background image where more images can be added, text, and the video cameras where you can place the host of the show and even guests on to the virtual set but in reality, they are just sitting at a green screen. A broadcasting or video editing software is required to setup the virtual set such software’s like Finncast  Studio live video streaming software. Some software’s require a special set image with masks to add virtual screens to the set. A virtual screen is a monitor(screen) as part of the set image and the screen can show footage and images. However, using Finncast Studio no screens need to be part of the virtual set image as Finncast have created what they call Virtual screens which can be added anywhere on the virtual set at the click of a button. These virtual screens are very powerful, they can be resized and placed anywhere on the virtual set with a drag & move of a mouse and they have full axis movement for complete 3D display. The virtual screens will play video footage, show images, live cameras and other video input devices. This really adds to the virtual set giving even more a reality effect.

Choosing which software to use for your virtual sets is really down to your budget, how often you will broadcast and how professional you want to be when broadcasting.

Real studio sets are very expensive to setup and require large space in a building for the studio.  Where in reality using a virtual set could be done in your bedroom. Virtual sets are not just of studio type they are of schools and churches and halls etc. It is an image background where you place yourself the subject on the set and produce a very professional show.

With high speed broadband, powerful processor computers and graphic cards that have their own processors and memory online broadcasting is enormous. There are so many live streaming web-sites to choose from like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and many more, broadcasting live is just plain simple.

Many people are making big money with successful views on YouTube and the more professional your videos are the more likely you will get more viewers.  With successful videos like AMSR, a makeover tutorial, a review on technology, how to lose weight and so on, using a virtual set with your production is most certainly going to bring a bigger audience.

Imagine this Mary does a makeover video in her bedroom with a banner of a makeup product stuck to the wall behind her. She had to pay for the banner to be printed or begged the product manufacture to send her one for her YouTube video on how to apply eye shadow. The banner eventually arrives and she has to phone 4 of her friends to come over to help her put it up.

So, what is the viewer looking at, is Mary in her well cleaned bedroom with a big banner on the wall saying Product Name. Now picture this, Mary is using Finncast Studio with a cool modern virtual set with images of the Product Name on the virtual screens in her studio. As the video starts Mary’s name slides across the screen on a Lower Third and then off the screen and Mary says welcome to my show.

In today’s world Mary does not need to book herself into a recording studio to produce a professional video production or live broadcast with the thanks to software’s like Finncast Studio and the use of virtual sets. Time, technology and people being so less shy of the camera is now the time to broadcast to the world.

Many people ask me so how do I get started? What do I need?

1: A computer, recommended a quad core processor say 2 Ghz or greater with a good video card.

2: A camera, it can be a Full HD web cam or an external camera connected to a video capture card.

3: A software for video production and live broadcasting like Finncast Studio.

5: At least one virtual set image.

6: High speed internet connection.

7: And of course you the host of the show.

Virtual Set images and videos can be purchased on many web-sites on the internet which specialize in this area. Also, you can hire a graphic designer to make you a virtual set, the advantages of this is the set will be unique to you or better again if you are a graphic designer. Some virtual sets are a video which loops the play back over and over. They can look very good but my own preference is a static image of a set because it uses little or no processing power of the computer and I can add much more to the set like images of a podium, a desk, logos etc. this is a major advantage!. What I am saying here is you can have a very basic image of the set and build on that by adding additional images.

I would suggest that the virtual set image be a minimum size of 1920×1080 which is full HD. However, if it was smaller Finncast Studio will auto scale the image up.

Now I must mention with Finncast  Studio live video streaming software you can pan and zoom on the virtual set this is just incredible to see. it will simulate a camera operator zooming in on the subject even though there is no camera operator. What I mean is you can place your camera on a tripod, sit at your green screen remove the green with the chroma key add your virtual set and click the mouse on the set to where you want to pan and zoom, you will also be able to set the speed and distance of the zoom.

 

So, my final words on virtual sets is, if you are starting any sort of video broadcasting or video production shows as your business or hobby or just to make an income virtual sets should be used and if you hit the success you have dreamed, of making lots of money, then you can bring your show into a real studio.  Consider it like starting a courier delivery business, it would make more sense in the first year to hire a van than buy one. If your business did not become profit making closing is simple just stop hiring a van and close the doors, but to be stuck with a purchased van would make no sense and you may lose so much on the sale of the van. As equally renting a building paying to setup a studio makes no sense until your show is a success. And of course, on the solo broadcaster side of things a virtual set is definitely the way to go.