Wanna know what's hard? Live broadcasting over the internet. Apps like Periscope make it look easy, and if that's all you expect from it, it is easy. But add in source switching, quality demands, and the ability to record your source locally without degradation… and it's a whole different ball game. Not to mention things like a good looking set with quality lighting. Man this is hard!

But, it's essentially done. It's done enough to get to work, at least. I have changes to make and the quality isn't there yet, but that may require a new computer and possibly even a switch to Windows for the broadcast system (those who know me well know that's practically heresy, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes).

I ran a test on Friday, shown below. It's a bit rambling and a little scattered as I get used to the system, and you can tell I'm a bit distracted trying to monitor audio and switching in realtime, but I just need to get used to it. My quality issues right now are…

  • There were apparently some dropouts on the broadcast side, as reported by someone watching live. My bandwidth should not be an issue, so it's most likely the CPU topping out. It will hover around 70% but spike to 100% often, and that's not good for the broadcast.
  • This is low frame rate; around 15fps. What you're watching here isn't the live broadcast (obviously) but a locally recorded version, uploaded to Vimeo. There's no reason for this to be anything less than 30fps other than the power of the computer, which is maxing out and therefore only laying down about 15fps — at least as far as I can tell. I'll run some more tests, writing to an external drive, to see if that makes a difference, but since the internal is SSD I have a hard time imagining write speed is the issue.
  • There's a bug in the broadcast software that's killing me. Wirecast won't record a 1080p source to a 1080p capture without scaling it down and back up again, leading to a soft image quality. The images on my screen you're seeing here are actually 1600x900 instead of 1920x1080 because with the introduced softness, I work round that by lowering the resolution so everything is bigger on screen, and therefore the softness is forgivable. But it doesn't make me happy. I want to be showing my screen at 1920x1080. Although to be fair, that might actually be too high resolution for some viewers, so while this bug is forcing me there for now, I may actually stay there. I'll gauge that on user feedback.

Anyway, here's the video… enjoy!

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