Streaming Video on the Net


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Streaming Video on the Net

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