What are important points to consider when shopping for an IP PTZ camera for a dependable live video stream from your home, studio, office, or workplace? Our guys from BZB Express TV go over the checkpoints for a high-quality live stream, including network requirements, equipment, choosing the right IP PTZ camera, streaming protocols, control options, and more. If you’re not in the mood to watch, keep reading, and we’ll discuss the basics on how to live stream on an online platform or how to host a private live stream.
How can you live stream online in High Definition to platforms such as YouTube or Facebook? A high-quality stream starts with a reliable network that can handle the bandwidth to support HD video. Streaming clear and smooth video and audio require a lot of bandwidth.
It’s critical to check your equipment is up to date, especially your routers and network switches. When streaming audio and video, it takes up a lot of bandwidth. We recommend a minimum of a 1G system for a stable network. Which comes to the point, “What internet speed do I need for a high-quality live stream?”.
For this article’s purpose, when we refer to a high-quality live stream, we’re talking about a live stream that outputs 1080p at 30hz. Now, you can live-stream at a lower resolution, but keep in mind that your audience will notice the low resolution and may not continue watching if the quality is subpar. Here’s a link to identifying upload speeds required for live streaming, finding your current bandwidth, and potential troubleshooting issues.
Types of IP PTZ Cameras
What type of camera do I need? There are a variety of cameras with multiple options for connections and control, such as HDMI, SDI, DVI, RS-232, and audio ports. The difference between these cameras is in the ports. For example, a camera with an SDI connection is a coax cable, similar to what cable companies use when installing their boxes in homes. SDI carries uncompressed digital video and 16 channels of PCM audio. SDI is transmitted over 75 Ohm coax cable with BNC connectors, typically RG-6. The most current SDI connection used in cameras currently is 3G-SDI, which supports 1080p up to 100m. 3G-SDI is a popular option because it is relatively inexpensive compared to HDMI.
What if HDMI is the only connection available for your application, and you need a long-range run to the camera? Well, for this scenario, we suggest employing an HDMI Extender. An HDMI Extender will allow you to transmit an HDMI signal long distances over 50ft. We created a video on HDMI Extenders and their purpose. In short, HDMI extenders do as their name says, extend HDMI signals. There are many options for various applications in the BZB Express HDMI Extender catalog. The critical factor is knowing how far you want to send the HDMI signal and what additional ports you require, such as breakout audio ports, USB, or RS-232 connection.
First off, what is a protocol? We all know that the “IP” in IP address stands for internet protocol. The same applies when connecting devices such as cameras to the internet. A protocol is a set of rules dictating how data travels from one system to another. Each protocol layer can focus on a specific function and cooperate, creating a protocol stack, adding complexity with each layer. Protocols construct how devices using the internet communicate.
Moving forward, what is a streaming protocol? When you go on YouTube or Twitch to watch a live video stream, streaming protocols are used to deliver data over the web. For this article, we’ll solely focus on a traditional low-latency streaming protocol, RTMP.
RTMP stands for Real-Time-Messaging-Protocol and is an open-source protocol owned by Adobe. It has been the gold standard when publishing live streams on significant platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Periscope. What does this mean to you? If you plan to live stream on these media servers, you’ll need to start with an RTMP-compatible camera.
However, as of May 2019, another big player we’re sure you’ve heard of, Facebook, uses another protocol called RTMPS. The “S” is an added security layer, e.g., protocol implemented by Facebook, to provide a higher security level for the video content to protect its users. Again, what does this all mean if I want to go Live on FB? If you own a camera that is older than May 2019, most likely, there is a firmware update that you will need to install to live stream on FB. If you want to dive more into streaming protocols, this link is a great resource.
What Resolution & Zoom Do I Need?
When you’re shopping for a camera to live stream, it’s critical to determine what you want to see. Set your objectives for the camera, such as resolution. Furthermore, the distance of where the camera will be mounted will help with field-of-view (FOV) and zoom ranges. PTZ cameras can have 10x, 12x, 20x, 30x optical zoom options for optimum FOV. Also, do you need some extender for long-range signal transmission? These factors are essential when selecting the proper IP PTZ camera for your professional environment or home use.
How Can I Control A PTZ Camera?
There are three methods of control for a PTZ camera, which are IR, WebGUI, and Joystick Controller. IR remote is the most basic method of control, and it typically comes with the camera. The preview screen is the connected display, and you’ll be able to pan, tilt, zoom, and adjust audio. It’s not the smoothest tool for control, but it gets the job done. The second method is utilizing the web GUI. The BZBGEAR IP PTZ cameras offer a default IP address to type into your web browser. The web GUI will allow the same essential functions as the IR remote to set options such as resolutions, IP addresses, etc., configurations.
The last method of control is the most precise and smooth operating is a Joystick Controller. You can use the RS-232 joystick controller, which is more of a short-range controller utilizing an RS-232 connection. An IP joystick controller, on the other hand, can connect via RS-232. That’s good, but its true technology shines with long-range applications. When connected to a network via LAN, an IP joystick controller will allow you to search for a camera in the system, control them individually, and add flexibility, distance, and precision.
Can I Control Multiple Cameras?
Utilizing multiple cameras connected to the network is plausible. Your live stream ecosystem may need some video switch for cameras, which will require more protocol layers. Additionally, other devices, including audio mixers, can be added to the stack of protocols in your network. Our team created a short video on how to network two cameras below.
How About Post-Production Editing?
When it comes to production and editing software for footage from the cameras, professionals will typically use media capture devices. Connecting media capture devices is simple and will require you to integrate them via HDMI or SDI from your camera. It converts the files to USB; from there, you can plug directly to your computer and import it to editing software to add music, graphics, etc. Users can also integrate a capture device to their computer. There are many options available for post-production, and it all depends on the quality that you seek.
How About Audio?
Cameras come with a 3.5mm input jack you can connect a microphone or a blue tooth mic set which utilizes a transmitter and receiver. The receiver connects directly to the camera. The transmitter is used by the presenter, allowing them to be mobile as long as they are within the receiver’s parameters.
For the past few years, live video streaming has risen exponentially, thanks to social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. People and businesses’ ability to broadcast live or recorded videos to large audiences is a trend driving the market. We’ve seen a growth in Podcasts, Presentations, Sermons, and Live Events with this medium and we’ll only see more as people get acquainted with how easy and cost-effective a streaming setup can be. Our team at bzbexpress.com are prepared to answer any questions you may have via online chat, or direct consultation at 888.660.2962. Also, visit our learning hub and BZB Express TV channel for additional resources for everything AV.