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Last night, we went and streamed live another Seattle Final Cut Pro User Group Meeting. This time, however, we had to up the ante: the group’s leader is currently 60 miles off the coast of British Columbia on a Science Research Vessel, and we wanted to include him in our meeting. The solution? A Skype video call to a laptop computer which ran HDMI out into the Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher. I then ran audio out of the 3.5mm jack on the laptop and into our mixer.

The live streaming kit we used to include interactive Skype calls with our user group meeting.

The live streaming kit we used to include interactive Skype calls with our user group meeting.

Sounds good so far, right? Well, that takes care of getting the Skype call into the stream, but what about the live show? This is where it got tricky: I took the Aux 1 out of the ATEM and fed SDI into the Roland VC300 converter, which gave me a dedicated DVI out for the Skype call. This was then fed into the projector we use, and so with a simple click of the remote for the projector, we could go back and forth between Skype video and the presenter’s computer video. Not too shabby!

A presenter addresses the group live via Skype on the projector and streamed live simultaneously

A presenter addresses the group live via Skype on the projector and streamed live simultaneously

Tip: Audio was the next trick: since most audio considerations we use only worry about getting presenters into the live stream, projecting the Skype audio out was a new challenge. To solve this, I used a function of our sound board lesser-known to the video world: monitor out. For this example, I had the computer (Skype) audio going into channel 3 on our board. Using the main mix I can adjust the audio to the stream, but using the monitor out control I could independently control the Skype audio to the house mix, without affecting it’s stream volume at all! Think of this as a nice way to effectively double your audio board’s out mix: you won’t be able to separately adjust the tone qualities or EQ of the signal, but you can completely (and independently) control the volume to your stream and to the house if you need to mix in external audio sources.

Additionally, this was all done in a location without its own internet connection: a Verizon 4G Data hotspot was dedicated to the laptop/Skype connection, and a separate 4G card was used in a Teradek Cube to encode the program out for the internet.

Full Streaming Kit

The view from my control chair during the set-up

From a research vessel at sea to a satellite in space, back to earth, up to B.C. and back to Seattle; then out from our stream in Seattle to an Amazon Suptnik server and finally out to Livestream for the internet’s viewing pleasure. This was one of the most challenging gigs I’ve put together so far, but the result was incredibly rewarding!

Guy monitors the stream on a laptop and iPad mini while I control the action.

Guy monitors the stream on a laptop and iPad mini while I control the action.

[EDIT] By request, I’m adding a more complete link list of the gear we used for this event (minus incidentals such as cables, cameras and computers):

Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E

Blackmagic Design Broadcast Panel

Blackmagic Design Smartview HD 17″ Monitor

Roland VC300HD

Gator 10U Top 8U Side Case

Behringer Mixer

Teradek Cube

AJA Roi

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