UStream testing, pilot and success!

Over the past month I’ve done a significant amount of testing with the UStream service.  From standing up an emergency live stream of robot football….yes, I said robot football.  To Notre Dame Commencement and a national chamber music competition.  The robot football UStream was in response to a system admin enabling a firewall on our Windows Media encoder and tanking our service.  Anyhow, that qualifies as our first successful production UStream, even with the crazy path it took.  A microwave link from Stepan Center to the Hesburgh Library, back to WNDU on fiber, then on to cable TV channel 13 (via Comcast in Mishawaka).  Finally, pulled it off my Comacst DCT, through a Canopus and into a Mac Mini.

Next came the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition on Mother’s Day, there’s another story here too.  Due to a conflict with live streaming our Mass from the Basilica that day, I decided to give UStream a try.  After a great deal of testing, and providing the embed code to the Fischoff web developers, it came off without a hitch.  All in all, a total of 1500 unique views (almost 3000 total), including a producer from NPR stating this was the best streaming video and audio he’s ever experienced.  We even had one viewer (a grandmother of the Grand Prize winner), watching from France…how cool is that? YAY!

Finally, this past weekend, we ran another pilot of UStream, this time for Notre Dame Commencement weekend activities.  This comprised 6-7 events, everything from the main university commencement to Mass, to some of the ancillary commencement ceremonies…from three different campus locations.  The metrics from UStream are in and even though this was identified as a test stream, we had 469 uniques, with 737 total views. Remember, this is in addition to our Windows Media service, of which I’m still awaiting log files. With feedback requested via an email link, the response was once again very positive from viewers across the country.  UStream is now officially in the ND streaming toolbox. 🙂

So, over the course of the last four weeks, I’ve spent a great deal of time testing UStream and various setups, using Mac’s, Windows machines, etc…since Flash and DV audio just don’t play nice.  BTW – none of the streams have used the social stream features of UStream, but that will come in the future when appropriate.  The most successful way I’ve found to produce a UStream event is with the following steps and configuration:

1)      Plug in all components (see diagram)

2)      Ensure Analog In is selected on Canopus.

3)      Login to UStream account.

4)      Click Your Shows.

5)      Launch Cam Twist. * this is an application that tricks UStream into seeing an appropriate video source.

6)      Select Webcam as video source in Step 1 or UStream DV source in the Saved Setups.

7)      Settings column will populate with ADVC-110 (this is the Canopus).

8)      Click Broadcast Now on UStream site.

9)   Click Allow in Adobe Flash Settings.

10)   Select CamTwist as the Video Source.

12)   Select Build-in Input as the Audio Source.

13)   Click Start Broadcast.

*a diagram will be forthcoming.


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