Broadcasting with Wirecast

Setting Up Wirecast

Wirecast is the video-switching software used to produce your Brandlive events.

  1. Install Wirecast
  2. Open a New Project
  3. Click the Help tab at the top
  4. Select Buy/Upgrade
  5. On the Preferences pop up screen, click Licenses
  6. Enter the license key you received with all dashes  
  7. Once it registers, you’ll be able to exit the pop-up window, demo mode will turn off and you can start using Wirecast.

Output Settings

The first thing you’ll want to set up in Wirecast is the Output Settings. Output Settings will allow you to set your streaming destination (i.e. Brandlive Channel) and also let you set up a local record setting (encode settings, destination). In order to set your output settings, go to the  Output menu at the top of the Wirecast menu when you have opened your profile. Select Output Settings. When the Output Settings pop-up window opens, you will be prompted to create an RTMP destination and it will default to RTMP Server.Once selected, you’ll be able to set the encoding settings, RTMP Address, and Stream Key. You will do this step for every new profile.

Encoding settings

There are several defaults available to choose from. We recommend starting with the default 720p (2Mbps) x264 H.264, unless you have done previous stream testing with a Customer Success Manager and have been assigned specific settings. Brandlive also has recommended output settings for Wirecast users, and you can find them in the Encoder Settings section. Once you have selected a default setting, you can click on the gear to the right of it to adjust the default settings, then save the new settings as a customized default of your own. The saved encoding setting will then be available for you to choose whenever you open Wirecast.

RTMP Address and Stream Key

Located in the output settings, the Address and stream fields is where you’ll enter in your assigned RTMP Address and Stream Key, these will always stay the same for your channel. Make sure you save this information in a document that you can reference at any point and if you have lost that, please contact your CSM.

You will have a test page for your Brandlive channel that you may use at any time to test your streaming broadcast. This test will not hit your live-page until 30 minutes before your scheduled event however any testing done within 30 minutes will go on your live page. We recommend testing your stream 45 minutes before your live event to determine it is a clean stream, up to 10 minutes.

Recording Settings

It is always best practice to record your Brandlive event while you stream it in Wirecast, as a backup should anything happen to your broadcast while streaming. We like to think of it as your emergency back-up.

When you’re in the output settings menu, click add in the bottom left corner, and then select Record to Disk - MP4. This will allow you to record a higher resolution video of the event your streaming, and it can be saved to your computer’s hard drive or external hard drive.

There are default presets you can choose for encoding settings, and you can even record at a higher resolution if your cameras are bringing in 1080p video. Brandlive recommends the default of 720p (4Mbps) x264 H.264, which will allow you to record at a higher bit rate. You’ll need to change the key frame rate from 240 to 30. Below encoding settings is the file field, and this will show you where the recorded file will be saved. To change the destination, click browse, and choose the area on your computer or hard drive you want to save your files to.

Wirecast Project Window

The Wirecast Project Window has a unique layout (see image below). The two buttons at the top that you’ll use the most are the stream button to start the stream (Wifi Symbol), and the record button to start recording (circle symbol). You have two main viewing windows in the top area of the project, your preview window (left) and your live window (right). Below that are your transition buttons and the project layers. The preview window is used to see the shot layers you click on, which will set up the exact shot that you want to take live. Once you’re satisfied with the shot you have set up in the Preview Window, you can use the transition buttons or keyboard commands to take your shot live. This will show up in the Live Window on the right side.

The window set up options are in the top right corner of the Wirecast Project, so make sure the box with the green and red dot is highlighted yellow. You’ll also notice two headphone icons next to each window, showing which audio source you’re listening to on which window (preview or live) when it’s highlighted in yellow. If you have not selected the audio source, this button will not illuminate and you will not hear any audio. Be sure that you have checked this button for audio troubleshooting.

Layers

You will see on the main window of your Wirecast project multiple rows numbered 1-5 on the right side and boxes that say Clear Layer on the left. These are your Layers, and these are your tools for setting up your live shots for your brandlive event. The Layers correspond to the visibility of your images and how you overlay them. Layer one will overlay on layers 2-5 and layer two will overlay over 3-5 and so on.

This is helpful when you’re setting up your Wirecast profile with logos and lower thirds. For example, if you’re looking to put a text or title over your video shot, you’ll want the text or title to be in the layer above the video shot. Should you have multiple titles in your video shot, you’ll want to have the each title in layers 1 and 2, then have your video source in layer 3.

It is best to add your video sources and any playable video files to the bottom layer you decide to use. Once you’ve put a shot live and want to make a new shot, be sure to clear each layer with the clear layer buttons on the right. Keep in mind the more shots / media you add to your layers, the more CPU usage you’ll see in Wirecast during your live event.

Transitions

Located below the preview and live windows are the transition settings. The default transitions set are Cut and Smooth. Unless your event involves a certain transition, we recommend keeping these default transition settings.

The best way to use these transitions is to use the keyboard commands. When your preview shot is ready in the left window, press the Enter/Return key to immediately cut to it, in the right live window.

To use the dissolve transition, press the spacebar, and the preview shot will dissolve into the live window. Brandlive Producers recommend using the cut transition to go back and forth between camera shots and to use to dissolve transition to transition back and forth between camera shots and other media (i.e. powerpoint decks, videos, images, etc.)

Video Sources

When bringing in your camera sources into Wirecast, you want to place them on the 3rd or 4th layer in your project, depending on how many titles you plan to use in each shot. When ready, click on the + sign in the layer, and select Capture Devices. Within Capture Devices, you’ll see System Devices, and you should then see your camera source - UltraStudio Mini Recorder, HDMI capture card, or Video Mixer source. Click on that source to have it show up within the layer and the preview window.

For video files you want to play during your event, click the + sign in the same layer as your camera sources, then select Media File. You can locate the file that you’ve loaded onto your computer, and then click Open, to get it onto the desired layer. The video will then show up in the preview window, and then you can play it to make sure it plays properly, before adjusting its properties.

Audio Sources

To bring in an audio source, whether it be an external audio source or one that’s integrated with a camera shot, you’ll want access it through the camera sources on your layers.

On the camera source box in your layer, click the gear symbol in its bottom right corner, and select change audio. When you select this option, you’ll see audio that’s associated with any capture cards or USB audio that’s associated with an audio mixer. Be sure to check the audio source you want, whether it be the cameras audio or external audio source, and make sure it’s the ONLY audio source checked. You’ll then be able to hear the audio that you want to be associated with the camera source desired.

With pre-recorded video files that you have brought into Wirecast, make sure the audio is selected to the name of the video file that you brought in, and that way when you play the video in the live window, you won’t hear any of the audio that’s coming from the camera sources.

Text and Titles

To add Text and/or Titles to your camera shots, it’s best to add them in the layers above the camera/video shots. If you want both a certain title and a certain text in the same shot, you’ll need to add either the Text or Title in the first layer, then the other in the second layer. To add these, click the plus sign in the desired layer, then select either Text or Titles. The text is the most standard way to bring in a title or lower third. You can adjust its fonts, size, style, and positioning, just like you would in a text document on your computer.

Titles feature more bold and colorful graphics that allow you to enter in text to match the represented graphic. You can change the color of the graphics and change the font within the graphics. Both of these text options are great, and it might take just some playing around to find the right text or graphic that matches the branding of your event.

Shot properties

Select any shot within the preview window and double click on the shot button in the layer. This will give access to various properties that will allow adjusts the shot or media that is being focused on.

Shot layers

The first one you see that has the symbol of three squares layered. This shows you the exact sources you have in this shot. The source(s) will be highlighted in yellow with either or both the image of an eye (meaning a visual/video is showing) and the image of a speaker (meaning audio source is recognized). With plus sign setting, you can add another media source to the shot, such as music, by selecting media file, and then search for the file that is on your computer.

Shot layer properties

Shot layer properties allow you to scale the shot, adjust shot orientation, adjust color, and even crop the shot. For camera shots, it’s best to adjust the scaling of the shot in here by clicking the Scale To Fit button that you see. The same goes for any images that are brought into Wirecast or any Remote Desktop App sources. Below the color adjustment section is where you can also apply a drop shadow and adjust its settings. This is sometimes used with titles and text, as it can give a cool effect for the viewer.

Audio

This property controls the audio that is recognized in the shot layers property. You can adjust the master volume, pan the audio from left to right (or keep it centered), and sometimes even monitor left and right audio tracks. This is useful when bringing in outside media like videos, as sometimes they can be set at too low or too high of a volume.

Chroma Key Properties

Chroma Key properties are used if green screen work is involved in your Brandlive event. It allows you to activate Chroma Key, and then adjust the exact color to match the green screen you’re using.

Capture Card / Source Properties

Depending if you’re looking at a camera shot or a media file, this property will have a different name. If viewing a camera shot, the Capture Card Properties will show the name of the capture card and will detect the input format of the video (frame rate, video format, pixel format, etc.).

If viewing a pre-recorded video file, this will be called the Source properties. Here is where you can set the video or media file to Loop, Hold (stop at end of file), or Remove (remove the file when it is finished). There are also two checkboxes below that. One says Begin Playing when Media becomes Live (which you generally want to be checked), and one that says Remember Position Even When not Live (which you generally DON’T want to be checked). Keeping the last box unchecked will allow you to bring in the video file or media to the Brandlive event multiple times and have it start from the beginning of the file.

Wirecast Features

There are a lot of cool Wirecast features to check out and take advantage of for your Brandlive event, and we recommend reviewing them here.

Wirecast also showcases a library of tutorial videos which you can find here.

Encoder Settings

Recommended RTMP Encoder Settings for Wirecast

The following encoder settings are the recommended starting point for streaming with Wirecast 6 and 7. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the bitrate settings depending on the speed of your internet.

  • Go to Output -> Output Settings.
  • Select Destination: RTMP Server, then click OK.
  • Under the Encoding drop-down, use Default: 720p30 (2Mbps) x264 H.264
  • Click the gear icon to the right of the Encoding drop-down, and click View Details. In the window that opens, make sure the settings are as follows:

Video Encoding

  • Encoder: x264
  • Width: 1280
  • Height: 720
  • Frames per second: 30
  • Average bit rate: 2250
    this is dependent of what your internet (and your audience’s internet) can support
  • Quality: 3 - (Very Fast encoding) Default
  • Profile: Main
  • Key frame every: 30 frames
  • Time code every: leave this blank and unchecked

Audio Encoding

  • Channels: Stereo
  • Target bit rate: 96 kbits/sec
  • Sample rate: 48.000 kHz

Compare your settings to this screenshot and make sure everything matches:

Once you've got the settings correct, click the Save As button at the bottom. Give this new preset a name, such as Recommended Encoder Settings. Click OK, and this new preset will be added at the top of the Encoder drop-down list. You can now select this preset for your default broadcast profile.

Simulcast Brandlive to Your Social Sites

Wirecast can be configured to stream to several social media sites. Below are the step-by-step instructions for live streaming to your Facebook Live and Periscope/Twitter accounts.

Facebook Live

With Facebook Live’s video publishing tools, you can simulcast your Brandlive feed to your Facebook Live account. The following points will help:

  • NOTE: You will need administrative rights and access to the Facebook account to which you want to stream.
  • Follow Facebook’s instructions for Live Videos from Publishing Tools.
    • When entering a description of your post, be sure to include the URL to your Brandlive event page. Consider including text that encourages them to check out the Brandlive page for live interaction with the presenter(s), to take part in a product giveaway or other things that might entice them to your Brandlive page. Note that Brandlive does not capture event metrics for those viewing a simulcast to Facebook Live.
  • If Brandlive is producing the event for you, generate an RTMP code and stream key for your event, then email those two items to your customer success manager.
  • If you are producing the event yourself:
    • Generate an RTMP code and stream key from Facebook  (NOTE: Per Facebook’s instructions in their publishing tools, an RTMP code, and stream key is only good for 7 days. When you preview your stream, the RTMP code will expire in 5 hours if a broadcast has not been started
    • Enter those values in Wirecast > Output > Output Settings
    • In the Select an Output Setting window, choose Destination > RTMP Server > OK
    • Change the name of the output setting to Facebook Live (or name you’d like)
    • Set your Wirecast specs according to the specs required for Facebook Live.
    • Select the Facebook Live output as well as the Brandlive RTMP output for your broadcast.
  • Whether you or Brandlive produces your event, you are responsible for starting and stopping the Brandlive stream on your Facebook post. Brandlive will stream your event to your Brandlive channel, but you will need to start the stream to Facebook per Facebook’s process in their publishing tools noted above.
  • Once you hit the GO LIVE button on Facebook Live, Brandlive’s stream will broadcast to your Facebook page.

Periscope or Twitter

With Periscope Producer, you can simulcast your Brandlive feed to your Periscope/Twitter account. The following points will help:

  • NOTE: You will need administrative rights and access to the Twitter and Periscope accounts to which you want to stream. If you don’t have a Periscope account, you will need to create one to stream to your Twitter account.
  • Follow the instructions for Periscope Producer; click this link to access the account.
  • Note that Brandlive does not capture event metrics for those viewing a simulcast to Periscope/Twitter.
  • If Brandlive is producing the event for you, please generate an RTMP code and stream key for your event and email those two items to your customer success manager.
  • If you are producing the event yourself:
    • Generate an RTMP code and stream key from Periscope
    • Enter those values in Wirecast > Output > Output Settings
    • In the Select an Output Setting window, choose Destination > RTMP Server > OK
    • Change the name of the output setting to Periscope (or name you’d like)
  • Whether you or Brandlive produces your event, you are responsible for starting and stopping the Brandlive stream on your Periscope/Twitter post. Brandlive will stream your event to your Brandlive channel, but you will need to start the stream to Twitter per Periscope’s process in Periscope Producer noted above.
  • Once you hit the Start Broadcast button, Brandlive’s stream will broadcast to your Twitter account.

Preparing Materials For Use on Wirecast

In addition to the slides that can be added to an event that shows up below the video player in their own slideshow, slides and other images can also be integrated for a professional, seamless appearance in the video player.

For slides to appear in the video player as part of your broadcast, you will need to create broadcast screens that fit the aspect ratio of your video event. By default, Wirecast broadcasts in a 16:9 ratio.

Broadcast screens can be made with software such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or PowerPoint. For simplicity sake, and to show that you don’t need to be an InDesign pro in order to make cool broadcast screens, this tutorial will use PowerPoint to create on-screen collateral.

PowerPoint Example

Start by opening a new PowerPoint file and confirm that the ratio of the slide is 16:9. Navigate to the function to change the size of the slide (check under the Design tab if that is an option on your version), and choose Custom if 16:9 is not one of the default options. From the custom menu, choose the 16:9 option, or create a custom size that is 16” wide by 9” tall.

Now you have a 16:9 ratio area on which to build your broadcast screens. You can now add anything you’d like to integrate with your video broadcast. Remember that the content of your screens should be simple and easy to read. Keep the size of the fonts legible. If you have too much content to keep simple and legible on one slide, it is best to break it into two or more slides.

Consider creating a broadcast screen for your opening title that can run 5-15 minutes before you start your event. (If you accompany this with music, your audience will be able to do a sound check and confirm their audio is working fine before your event starts.) Broadcast screens are also helpful to remind your audience of the steps involved in a process, to show a new ad or brochure, or anything where having an actual item is not practical. Though showing the real thing is always better when feasible…especially on live video!

When you’ve created the image you want for a broadcast screen, select all components on the slide, and save as picture. A png or jpg file type will work best in Wirecast. When creating your image, be sure to include a background—even if it is white. The background is what is 16:9, and you’ll want to be sure your images keep that ratio.

If you want to save multiple slides in your PowerPoint deck as broadcast screens for use in Wirecast, simply click File > Save As in the Save As menu, choose .jpg or .png as the Save As file type. Note: If you need to edit the content of an image file, simply return to your PowerPoint deck, edit the slide, and re-save the image.

Another option for broadcast screens is to make your PowerPoint slide a 4:3 ratio rather than 16:9. By using the more blocky, traditional ratio you will make room on the broadcast screen to include a picture-in-picture video of the presenter and their title. This is particularly helpful if the presenter is using a lot of PowerPoint slides, as it allows the presenter to maintain eye contact with the audience while s/he is going through the presentation slides.

For tips on pulling in various still images with a live video in Wirecast, contact your Brandlive Customer Success Manager.

Troubleshooting

When troubleshooting an issue in Wirecast, it is always best practice to double check your audio and video sources to ensure they have a proper connection to your computer and that you are getting proper signal from each source.

For audio, ensure the mics and mixer are on and have been set to the proper levels.

For video and other media, ensure you have a proper HDMI or SDI connection to your switcher or video capture device, allowing the video signal to be recognized by both your computer and Wirecast. Here is a list of various troubleshooting solutions, should all of your A/V sources been verified to function properly and connect to Wirecast.

No video in Wirecast

When adding a Capture Device (video source) to a layer in Wirecast, make sure that the video source that is being connected is listed under System Device, otherwise, you’ll be unable to add the video source to the layer.

For a complete list of Wirecast compatible video capture devices, click here.

  • BlackMagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder (MAC) - If you’re connecting a BlackMagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder and don’t see it recognized in Wirecast, make sure you have downloaded the BlackMagic Desktop Video Utility for your Mac computer (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/capture-and-playback). This will load a driver onto your computer that upon opening will pull up each black magic capture device - if you are using the source as HDMI, be sure that HDMI is checked by clicking the middle button under the photo of the mini recorder and vice versa for SDI connection.
  • Video Capture Device/Card (Windows) - If you’re connecting a Video Capture device that’s compatible with Windows computer, make sure that you have downloaded the necessary software and drivers needed for that device to be recognized by your computer.
  • Video files - If you’re wanting to play videos within Wirecast for your event, but can’t seem to bring them into Wirecast, make sure they’re in the proper format. For Mac users running Wirecast, it’s best to bring in either a .mov file or a .mp4 file. For Windows users running Wirecast, bring in a WMV file, a .mp4 file, or an AVI file.

No Audio in Wirecast

When bringing in external audio into Wirecast, whether it be from the camera source or a USB audio source, make sure that the video source is connected to the proper audio source. Audio is considered a separate source within Wirecast, and that source needs to be paired with the video sources desired.

  • BlackMagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder (MAC) - If BlackMagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder is being connected to Wirecast, first bring in the video source into the desired layer. Next, to confirm that it shows up in the preview window and the live window by clicking on the gear icon in the bottom right corner for the video source (in the layer). You will see Audio Source as an option. Make sure the audio source is selected to UltraStudio Mini recorder ONLY IF you want the audio that’s coming from that camera. This will load a driver onto your computer that will recognize the connection of BlackMagic Devices like the UltraStudio Mini Recorder.
  • USB Audio Mixer - If you’re connecting a USB audio mixer to your computer, for the purpose of bringing in external audio (i.e. lavalier Mics, wired mics) to support the video sources, make sure the audio source is selected to USB audio within the audio source properties of your video sources. It’s also important that ONLY USB AUDIO is selected as an audio source within each video source you’re bringing in, to ensure you’re not picking up sounds from the cameras. This also applies to any computer video sources you’re bringing into Wirecast, such as powerpoint presentations via HDMI or using the Remote Desktop App.  
  • A/V Switcher (i.e. Roland Video switcher products) - When using a Roland Audio/Video switcher with Wirecast, you’ll most likely have a USB 3.0 connection from the switcher to the computer. The Switcher will be recognized as two different sources within Wirecast, those being an audio and video source with the name of the switcher (i.e. VR4-HD, VR50-HD, Etc.). For more information on the functionality of your Roland Switcher, please refer to Roland’s Support site (https://www.roland.com/us/support/).
  • Headphone icons in Wirecast -  When the icon is highlighted in Yellow (next to both the Preview and Live viewing windows), this means you’re listening to the audio in that window. Make sure the icon is highlighted in the window that you want to hear.

Unable to stream in Wirecast

When you come across the inability to stream or record within Wirecast, the first place to look at when assessing the issue is the destination point. For streaming, this is your internet connection. For recording, this is your local destination (i.e. your computer).

  • Internet connection - If you’re unable to stream in Wirecast, the Wirecast stream symbol will be flashing green for a minute or two, highlighted in yellow, or highlighted in red with an X through the symbol. When using Wirecast, it is preferred to have a hard-line connection to the internet via an ethernet cable. Make sure the Ethernet cable is securely attached to the computer and the port that you’re connecting to. The best way to first check your internet connection is to run a speed test before opening up Wirecast. It’s also best to confirm with the local I.T. or networking team that you’re not running into any firewall settings.
  • RTMP address and key - If you’re streaming to your assigned Brandlive channel, you will be given an RTMP address and Stream Key. This information goes into the Output settings of your Wirecast Project. Make sure the correct RTMP address is listed under address of RTMP server, and make sure the correct stream key is listed under the Stream field. We consider it best practice to stream test 30+ minutes before your Brandlive event. To do this, simply go to the Brandlive event in your admin console titled “My First Brandlive Event/Session,” From here, you’ll be able to watch whatever is streaming within your Wirecast event, ensuring that you’ll be able to stream the same image on the event URL page.
  • Remote Desktop Presenter App - If you’re using Wirecast’s Remote Desktop Presenter App to get a computer’s image into your Wirecast project, make sure both internet connections are on the same subnet. This means they should be on similar network IP addresses that allow them to communicate with each other.
    • For example, if the Wirecast Computer is on IP Address 124.24.54.7, the computer running Remote Desktop App should be on an IP Address like 124.24.54.5, 124.24.54.4, etc. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve downloaded the correct version of Remote Desktop Presenter to function on the operating system you’re using.

Unable to record in Wirecast

The first place to look at when assessing the inability to record within Wirecast is the destination point. When setting up your recording destination in output settings, make sure it is going to a location on your computer or hard drive that has enough space to support the file size you’re creating.

Recording to MP4 will generally create a smaller file size because it uses H.264 compression. When recording to MOV, this will sometimes create a larger file size, due to the file being uncompressed. If you are recording to a hard drive, make sure the drive is not only connected securely to the computer but that the drive is running and awake, as sometimes a drive can go into sleep mode and may not be ready to record when you want it to.

Wirecast Product Info

For more information on the various features in Wirecast, please visit https://www.telestream.net/wirecast/overview.html

 

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