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Streaming Video on the Net
 

Streaming Video on the Net

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    Streaming Video on the Net Streaming Video on the Net Presentation Transcript

    • Streaming Video on the Net With RealNetworks Products Eric Flower UH West O‘ahu [email_address] HLA 2002 Copyright 2002 Eric Flower
    • Presentation Contents
      • Streaming video and RealNetworks products
      • Bandwidth, encoding, and connections
      • Shooting video for the Net
      • Summary comments
      • Video demonstrations
    • Internet Streaming
      • An Internet data transfer technique that allows the user to see and hear audio and video files without lengthy download times
      • The host or source “streams” small packets of information over the Internet to the user, who can access the content as it is received
    • Streaming Video
      • The stream may be a real time (live) broadcast or it may be an archived file
      • RealNetworks products are suitable for creating, distributing, and viewing relatively low-bandwidth (34 - 450Kbps) video streams
    • RealNetworks Software
      • RealSystem Producer Plus to capture and encode the streaming video
      • RealSystem Server to distribute the streaming video
      • RealPlayer/RealOne to view streaming video
      http://www. realnetworks .com/products/index.html
    • RealNetworks Video Process Capture with RealProducer Encode with RealProducer Distribute with RealServer, view with RealPlayer/ RealOne
    • RealProducer
      • RealProducer: captures and encodes audio and video input into RealMedia file format (.rm)
        • Can encode up to seven streams with different encoding rates into one file though it’s unlikely you’d do it
        • Can edit (cut and append) file segments
    • RealProducer Versions
      • Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP
      • Windows NT 4.0
      • Macintosh
      • Linux
      • Solaris
      • RealVideo 9 was released April 2002
      • Helix Producer was released in July 2002
        • Incorporates RealVideo 9
    • Our RealProducer Hardware
      • 550MHz Pentium III with 128MB RAM running Windows 98SE
      • ATI All-in-One video card with 16MB RAM
      • Panasonic and Canon Optura Pi cameras
      • Wireless mic for instructor
      • Cabled mics for students in classroom
    • Production System Mixer Splitter Videotape backup Video monitor Encoding PC Audio capture Video capture Audio monitor
    • Distribution System UH ITS Streaming Server RealPlayer/RealOne Clients
    • UH ITS Streaming Server
      • Sun Ultrasparc
      • 1024MB RAM
      • 80GB disk storage
      • Solaris 2.6 OS
      • RealServer G2 v. 8.01
    • RealPlayer/RealOne
      • RealPlayer/RealOne: applications for viewing or listening to streaming media
        • Compared commercial versions to the free versions and found them not worth the money for occasional non-critical viewing
        • On the other hand, commercial versions offer more user control over video and sound and would be valuable to individuals who watch or listen to streaming media frequently
    • RealNetworks Prices 1
      • Software we used
        • RealSystem Producer Plus 8.5,
          • $199.95
        • RealSystem Server 8.0 Professional
          • $5995 for 100 streams; supports multicasting
        • RealSystem Server 8.0 Plus
          • $1995 for 60 streams
    • RealNetworks Prices 2
      • Current production and server products
        • RealVideo 9, Helix Producer Plus—$199.95
        • Helix Universal Servers
          • Enterprise—$4,199
          • Internet—$5,999
          • Mobile—Negotiate prices
    • RealNetworks Prices 3
      • RealOne Player
        • Free download for player plus $9.95 per month for content access service if you want it
    • RealNetworks Free Software
      • Helix Producer Basic: free download, limited functionality
      • Helix Universal Basic Server: free download, limited functionality
      • RealOne player: free download, endless ads to upgrade
    • Bandwidth is Critical
      • Network bandwidth is the critical variable in streaming video viewer satisfaction
        • Faster connections support notably better viewer experiences
        • No amount of preparation can overcome problems associated with a slow connection or network congestion
        • Viewers will blame you or the technology if their picture is bad
    • Video Encoding Rates
      • RealProducer can encode video files for streaming to combinations of the following speeds:
        • 28.8Kbps or 56Kbps for dial-up modems
        • 64Kbps for single or 128Kbps for dual ISDN lines
        • 150Kbps for local area networks
        • 256Kbps, 384Kbps, or 512Kbps for faster LANs, cable connections, and digital subscriber lines (DSL)
    • Encoding Rates and File Size
      • Triple stream video files encoded at 56Kbps, 150Kbps, and 256Kbps use 3.9 MB of storage per minute—it’s the multistream we use now
        • Streams to viewer at 34, 150, or 225Kbps
        • Good balance of sound and picture quality and targets dial-up, LANs, and broadband
        • In the future we’ll encode at 56, 150, and 384Kbps for playback at 34, 150, and 350Kbps
    • Connections: LAN/Broadband
      • Local Area Network (LAN) and broadband connections (cable, DSL) are clearly better
        • Streaming video encoded at 256Kbps is received at 225Kbps; files encoded at 384Kbps are received at 350Kbps; files encoded at 512Kbps are received at 450Kbps
      • Sound and video are both good
        • Acceptable for motion, detail, and close-up work
    • Connections: 56K Dial-up 1
      • Streaming video encoded for 56Kbps dial-up modems is received at 34Kbps
        • Sound is good
        • Picture is not nearly as good as 150, 225, or 350Kbps streams
        • Video is choppy and there may be frequent rebuffering if there is network congestion
          • More like a slide show than a motion picture
    • Connections: 56K Dial-up 2
      • May not be acceptable for classes or demos involving motion, detail, close-up work, or synchronization of pictures and sound
      • May be acceptable for discussion-based classes with little movement
      • May be acceptable for large image PowerPoint presentations with little or no animation
    • Connections: 28.8K Dial-up
      • 28.8K modem connection is problematic
      • Should be used as a streaming video transmission speed in limited circumstances
        • Little motion in presentation
        • No need for detail or close-up work
        • No need for synchronization of sound and video
    • Staffing
      • Instructor/leader before camera
      • Technician behind camera
        • Needs to have some computing skills
          • Sets up all camera, sound, hardware, and software interfaces
          • Needs to have or to learn some camera skills
      • Both must be motivated to make this work
    • Shooting Video for the Net 1
      • Become familiar with streaming video production well before first broadcast
      • Create outlines/scripts; no winging it
      • Create and distribute supporting materials as needed
      • “ Practice, Practice, Practice”
    • Shooting Video for the Net 2
      • Use quality equipment
        • Good cameras
        • Use tripods whenever possible
        • Good microphones
        • Good mixers and splitters
    • Shooting Video for the Net 3
      • Shoot tests of your material and run through the entire production process so you know what you’ll get
        • Capture and encode with RealProducer
        • Review streaming file with RealPlayer/RealOne
      • See sites like www.dv.com for basic information on shooting video
    • Shooting Video for the Net 4
      • Train the technician well
        • Create an operator checklist for proper operation of video cameras, mics, mixer, splitter, vcr, computer, and software
        • Our checklist is at: http:// socrates . uhwo . hawaii . edu / BusAd /Flower/330/ streamingdocuments / streamingchecklist . htm
    • Shooting Video for the Net 5
      • Learn camera pans and zooms so they become second nature to operator
      • Set sound levels properly
        • Sound is critical because users with slow connections will receive sound better than pictures
    • Shooting Video for the Net 6
      • Try different camera locations
        • Back corner of the room vs. side of room
          • Location needs electric outlet and network connection
          • Back unobtrusive but still a good camera angle
          • Side more obtrusive but makes better picture/sound
          • Viewers said they felt like they were part of the group when camera panned room from either location
    • Shooting Video for the Net 7
      • Create video that will compress well
        • Use a plain background; whiteboard makes a superb backdrop; use fat, dark colored whiteboard markers
        • Use adequate lighting
        • Remove unnecessary details by shooting tight shots whenever possible
        • Minimize subject movement yet have enough movement to maintain interest— above all, don’t pace
    • Shooting Video for the Net 8
      • Set up a streaming video test file viewers can watch to check their connection speeds and satisfaction with the image and sound
      • If possible, hold orientation meetings so users are exposed to and understand the environment they are about to enter
        • Show them how RealPlayer and RealOne work
    • Potential Pitfalls
      • Problems with live capture and encoding
        • Operator error; camera, mic, computer, or software failure (infrequent)
        • Server failure or links to server failure (infrequent)
        • Network congestion
      • Problems with viewing
        • Server failure or links to server failure
        • Network congestion
    • Server Reliability
      • Server reliability was not a major issue
      • Slow connections, network congestion, and lack of quality of service (QOS; “packet priority”) were bigger problems
    • Summary Comments 1
      • It’s possible to create and distribute good streaming video at low cost with limited staff and production facilities using software from RealNetworks.com
      • Preparation, practice, and timely distribution of supporting materials are the keys to successful streaming video presentations
    • Summary Comments 2
      • Better connections support notably better viewer experiences
        • In some cases you might consider limiting access to viewers with LAN or broadband connections to avoid complaints about picture, sound, and synchronization
        • This may lead to issues of equity of access
    • Summary Comments 3
      • Until multi-user conferencing becomes easier and less expensive to implement, text-based chat and instant messaging are practical ways to receive real time comments from viewers (telephones work too)
    • Summary Comments 4
      • Archived streaming video files may be distributed from a server or CD-ROM
      • CD-ROM distribution eliminates the problems of network connection speed and network congestion
        • This could be useful in areas with poor network infrastructure
    • Summary Comments 5
      • What you need to remember today
        • Bandwidth matters
        • Students and and library users respond well to streaming video
          • They like synchronous delivery of live activities and they like to be able to view archived files asynchronously
    • Summary Comments 6
      • For much more information, see:
      • StreamingVideoOnTheNet .com
    • Video Demonstrations
      • Classroom demonstration
      • Bandwidth demonstration