View Full Version : Tech Help Composite Video Streaming

2014-04-14, 10:27 AM
Sorry in advance if I don't know the right terms for anything.

For a while now, I've been wanting to start streaming regularly as a hobby. I've streamed a few things and with each of them I've (somehow) managed to consistently get a few viewers. I enjoy streaming, so I'd be very happy to make it a part of my schedule--to be able to do that I'd need to have enough success with it to warrant taking time away from working more or cultivating more personally rewarding hobbies (like fitness/martial arts). Now, this isn't to say that I expect immediate success, but I want production quality I'm enthusiastic about and I want to be able to produce content that is both aesthetically and creatively what I really want to share. In other words, I had more fun playing Hearthstone when I was streaming it than when I wasn't, and streaming seems to make most games more enjoyable for me; but my current computer/internet/etc doesn't quite allow me to stream at the visual fidelity I want, and my performance takes a pretty big hit playing more demanding games.

Several things I would like to stream will require me to take video from multiple computers and cameras and perhaps even other sources (capture card, misc). I'm trying to find a way to stream what one computer is doing, even if it's only what's visible on it's monitor and playing through it's speakers, Then make a composite view of that and what another computer is doing. So, for example, I could stream two instances of League of Legends and have my stream look something like this:


Of course, I used the same image twice and laid this out in a hurry. The idea would be to find a presentable way to have two instances of the game running on one stream with one or two webcams in there and other "nice" things to feature on your stream like a chat window and a "now playing" card for any music that might be playing. How would I get the video from one computer to another? Would I just have to use a capture card?

2014-04-14, 10:53 PM
I'm really only familiar with this at the professional end, but what you're looking for is a video switching/mixing program. A quick Google shows a few that may be freeware/shareware at reasonable costs. The big issue is bringing in the additional live video into the streaming computer. Webcam for a face cam is probably already supported, as well as bringing in something like a chat window.

What you may need to add is a video capture card to bring in additional computers/consoles playing the game if you want more than just the one computer/person playing at a time, unless that video is also streamed in via your internet. I think a lot of the services like Twitch will already have either built-in solutions for mixing a variety of inputs, or will have a recommended list of software.

I know that Desert Bus For Hope uses a brand of software called Wirecast for their marathon stream, with multi-cameras, bringing in internet video, as well as the game stream, and can handle any kind of text/graphic overlays, green screen matting, etc., but that's pretty high end, capable of TV broadcast quality productions. If I do some additional research for my own needs, I may try to add some other examples.

2014-04-14, 11:53 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, Jimor!

I'm committed to keeping this as cheap as possible (to make getting started as feasible as possible), but I would not be above putting revenue generated towards improving my setup. Looking into hardware mixers (and possibly even software mixers you alluded to, like Wirecast) might become a thing after I get the ball rolling or I start accumulating more spending money.

I really should be able to figure all of this out on my own, but here's my excuse: I bought an old capture card for ~$100, which is outdated in the sense that it doesn't take HDMI. It takes your typical S-Video composite as well as RGB composite for HD footage. I got it to record/stream the output of my older consoles like my original Xbox and Playstation 2, so it's more than adequate even though I don't think it'll go all the way up to 1080p. The reason I haven't set it up is twofold. I had a tiny (~15") TV that had a jack for headphones that I got rid of because it had been wasting space, but my ~33" HDTV doesn't have an audio jack. This means if I want to record myself talking while playing, I'd have to 1) play the game without sound 2) play the game with sound and not use the recorded audio from the capture card 3) figure out a way to isolate my microphone from the game's audio on my TV. Next, because the capture card is old, I don't have a convenient way of accessing it's drivers, I have the disc that came with the card but my computer is an old Frankenstein monster that no longer has working optical disc drives.

Finally, you should look into Open Broadcasting Software (OBS for short), it's a freeware software that is probably just as good as a lot of the software suites your Google search found you. It's been very stable for me when I was using it for streaming, and the only real problems I had with it were that my computer and internets weren't powerful enough to stream at the fidelity I wanted to. You'd be surprised by how powerful OBS is (http://youtu.be/1Z_GlKRV-pU). (Video is NSFW in the sense it has some vulgar language.)

My night is almost over and I'll be busy tomorrow, but hopefully your semblance of interest will serve as enough of a kick in the rear for me to try setting up my capture card Wednesday and using it with OBS not to record anything, but just to see if it works. If my capture card works with OBS, then my only limitation will essentially be the amount of resources my streaming computer has, and the number of input sources + capture cards I have.