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Medialooks Video Transport and NewTek NDI® Help Teams Create Better Streams on Twitch

March 21, 2019 by Chuck Baker

More people than ever are producing more content than ever for followers on social video networks. While some produce content by themselves, many like to put the emphasis on “social” by producing with a partner or a group of partners. And this being the internet age, the people cooperating in a social video venture may be scattered around the world. One example is the two friends who came together to create Rift Watch Gaming TV (RWGTV): Frankie from Spain and Booker from Sweden, produce from 4000k apart.

Since the first day we started streaming, we have always tried to do it together… Our audience enjoys the way we interact with each other and how our personalities prove to be entertaining when combined, with our most popular and memorable streams being those we did together.

Twitch is a major platform for social video sharing with more than three million monthly broadcasters, and the demographics lean heavily toward those who wish to share their enjoyment of and activity in playing video games. This is where Frankie and Booker chose to set up RWGTV. After having a series of communities they based around around specific games come and go, they decided they wanted a permanent channel and community and just the games would come and go.

Producing at quality has always been a major issue. One part of the equation is capturing video and audio from the sources, gaming systems and webcams, and that used to require some specialized and expensive hardware. The other need is getting the media across the internet between players and hosts at very distant locations from one another - and again, formerly specialized hardware used to be the way to do this. Frankie and Booker tried a number of means, and found that software now solves the tasks that used to require specialist hardware.

NewTek’s NDI® royalty free IP technology for bidirectional transport of video, audio and data over standard networks at very high quality and very low latency, solves the local piece of the puzzle. Free NewTek applications can put the audio and video from a gaming system and webcam on the network as NDI streams.

Once on the network, the sources need to get to an NDI-aware production application or system. Popular free Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) supports NDI for input and output, via an optional third party plugin, which fills that need. The content can be put into a ready form to send over the internet, for example the webcam video of the player could be put into an inset window or graphics box overlayed on the gaming video, with text added below the box with the name of the player.

To bridge the distance on the internet, the two tried out the free edition of Medialooks Video Transport. This application provides high quality and low latency video transport by point-to-point streaming over public internet. They found that it completes the bridge that allows for polished, high quality video production between remote sites.

…we were now able to input a high-resolution, low-latency game feed from the other person! It looked like we were playing side by side, in the same house, through a local network.

Video Transport achieves the rapid encoding and decoding needed to minimize the latency to very little more than that inherent in the given distance itself by engaging Nvidia GPUs. This also means Video Transport has little to no CPU usage on the system. This would allow for Video Transport sharing a system with applications or tasks that are more CPU dependent without impacting their performance.

Read the complete story, including the description of Frankie and Booker’s setup, at the Medialooks blog: Video Transport helps teams create better streams on Twitch

Here’s our take on the specifics of a setup for producing a live stream from multiple locations:

Contributing Location, 2 System Setup

  • Gaming System with Webcam
    • Install NewTek NDI Scan Converter from free NDI Tools Pack
      • Run Scan Converter and configure to send the system’s display and audio as an NDI stream to the network
    • Install NewTek NDI Virtual Input
      • Run Virtual Input and configure to send webcam capture as an NDI stream to the network
  • Streaming System
    • Install OBS and OBS NDI Plugin
      • Run OBS and Configure to receive NDI streams, to overlay webcam, gaming screen and desired text or graphics, and to transmit final output as NDI to the network
    • Install Medialooks Video Transport
      • Run Video Transport Publisher and configure to receive NDI final output from OBS
      • Configure to transmit the video over the internet to the Producing Location

Producing Location, 2 System Setup

  • Gaming System with Webcam
    • Install NewTek NDI Scan Converter from free NDI Tools Pack
      • Run Scan Converter and configure to send the system’s display and audio as an NDI stream to the network
    • Install NewTek NDI Virtual Input
      • Run Virtual Input and configure to send webcam capture as an NDI stream to the network
  • Production and Streaming System
    • Install Medialooks Video Transport
      • Run Video Transport Receiver
      • Configure to receive the video stream from the internet from the Contributing Location
      • Configure to convert to NDI for the local network
    • Install OBS and OBS NDI Plugin
      • Run OBS and Configure to receive NDI streams
      • Set up the mix and overlays for the local NDI streams and the incoming Contributing Location stream(s), with any desired text or graphics added
      • Stream the final output to Twitch.

Note on the setup of a contributing location: while it is possible to set up all the software on a single system to provide the video from a gaming system with a webcam, depending on how powerful the system and the graphics card(s) in use are, this may impact gaming performance, which can be pushing both the CPU and the GPU in the system. For this reason, a two-system setup is most often recommended.

The software for a single system would only require OBS with the NDI plugin, and Medialooks Video Transport. OBS directly loaded on a system can capture the main display and the webcam video and layer them as needed, then output the result as NDI. Video Transport would receive the NDI and encode for internet transmission.

From the description in the article on the Medialooks blog, Booker’s setup may sometimes be one system set up that way, but at other times is two systems, with Video Transport moved to a second, dedicated system.

Left: Image from the laptop camera with the screen angled for best viewability by the caller. Right: Image from a mobile phone using NewTek NDI Camera application over wireless, and NDI Virtual Input on the host computer.

One more option to consider: in lieu of using a webcam, if your systems also have access to a local wireless network, you may wish to use a mobile device running NewTek’s NDI Camera application for iOS and Android (US$9.95). Mobile devices often have better cameras than built-in webcams, especially older webcams.

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