The StreamGeeks Team is comprised of Paul Richards, Tess Protesto and Michael Luttermoser. The show is hosted by Paul & Tess and Michael is the producer. Paul is the self-proclaimed, Chief Streaming Officer and curates much of the content for the live show. Tess is the Social Media Manager which is no easy task in today’s modern age. Tess can be found on Facebook, in our User Group and beyond when it comes to Social Media. Follow us on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook and see! Michael is our video production expert and when he’s not producing one of our live shows, he is business either shooting or editing videos for the StreamGeeks channels.
Finally, if you haven’t seen the official tour of our office here is the floor plan. As you can see the entire office has been designed to showcase an entire inter-connected video streaming and production workplace. Every space from the lobby, to the collaboration areas and video streaming studios have been designed with a gigabit ethernet backbone for interconnectivity.
The video below takes your through our $10k budget we spent in the studio. This does not include equipment costs but hopefully gives you a good idea of our thought process and plans for the future 🙂
Our Live Streaming Cameras
Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras
We have a total of eight cameras in our studio and over fifteen throughout our IP-Connected office space. We have (4) PTZOptics 20X-SDI second generation cameras with upgraded NewTek NDI firmware in our studio placed in various locations. Three cameras are wall mounted and one is on the drop-ceiling. Each PTZ camera in our studio is PoE (Power Over Ethernet) and even though we have traditional 3G SDI cabling connected we normally use the ethernet connection for video, power and control. Camera controls are covered in the (Control) section to the right.
We have four static box cameras in our studio from PTZOptics called ZCams. We have two ZCAM-VL (Wide Angle Variable Lens Cameras) and two 20X-ZCAM’s cameras which include a 20X optical zoom lens. The 20X ZCam models are designed with the exact same lenses as our 20X PTZ cameras to ensure optimal color matching. Color matching is incredibly important when you have this many cameras in a single studio. Our ZCAM-VL wide angle cameras are used forclose-upss with the 122-degree field of view lenses. We have one right next to our broadcast desk and one mounted behind the desk for a “behind the scenes” style camera viewpoint.
Yes, we use our iPhone and Android smartphones from time to time as video sources in our live broadcast. Our office is equipped with the latest high-speed Ubiquity wireless WiFi systems that provide low-latency connections. We are able to use this wireless network to send video using the NewTek NDI directly into our video production software.
Out Live Streaming Lights
Every live streaming studio needs to have lights. It’s almost a given that the lighting layout will be custom because there are so many various effects and scenarios in live streaming. We use all LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights in our studio because the CRI (Color Rendering Index) is incredibly accurate, the lights stay cool to the touch and they are energy efficient. It most lighting scenarios you want to have atleast three key lights: a key, fill and backlight. In our studio, we use a Dracast LED studio light kit to fulfill these needs along with two Fresnel spotlights. Fresnel spotlights can be used to create artistic/dramatic lighting effects or simply light objects of interest on our set. We use them for a mix of both 🙂
Fresnel Lights (Spotlights)
- Dracast: FL-Series 1500 D (Large Spotlight X1)
- Dracast: BoltRay 1000B 100W LED Bi‑Color Light ‑ DRBRF1000B (Medium Spotlight X1)
Panel Lights (Flat LEDs)
- Dracast: Pro series LED 1000 (Large Square LED Light X1)
- Dracast: Pro series LED 500 ( Medium Rectangle LED Light X1)
- Dracast: S series DRSP 500 B (Small Square LED Lights X3)
We also have a ring light that Tess uses to enhance close up shots. Ring lights are built to put a camera inside of a ring which provides ideal lighting from a single camera. Our ring LED light has warm and bright options which we use depending on the need.
Finally, we use in ceiling LED light fixtures from a company called Brightline. These fixtures are installed directly into the ceiling grid for a professional installation without taking up any precious floor space. These lights are built for video conferencing but provide an easy professional backlight for us without getting in the way.
Our Light Mounts
At the time we are writing this blog post most of our LED lights are on TriPods. We plan to have these mounted to the walls in our studio to free up floor space and make a more permanent installation. The mounts we have purchased (but still need to test out) can be found here.
Our normal workhorse studio microphones are called the DPA D:Fine headset microphones. These are the most expensive headset microphones money can buy, but they are well worth it. We use these microphones connected directly via XLR to our mixing board or through a wireless Shure BLX system. Headworn microphones are ideal for many reasons but most importantly they are reliable and of the highest quality.
We also use a shotgun microphone from Audio Technica the AT897. We use this in various areas in our studio when we want to pick up extra ambient noise.
Video Production Software
Live Streaming Software
As many of you may know, a custom built Windows computer is ideal for setting up a live video production machine. (You can learn more about our custom built PC on the “Computer” tab.) When it comes to live streaming software we use vMix running on Windows 10. We are able to do just about everything we need with vMix which includes: camera switching, titles/animations, social media integration, overlays and much more.
If you haven’t heard about the NewTek NDI yet it’s probably time to look into it. We use NDI (Network Device Interface) to connect cameras, computers and even multiple video production systems together over our network. This software allows us to power confidence monitors around our building, send high quality / low latency video over our network and even connect our smartphones to vMix. The entire StreamGeeks office is outfit with NewTek NDI enabled devices to create a seamless live streaming work environment.
Our Broadcast PC
Our Custom PC
A purpose-built Windows machine is a beautiful thing. We put as much power as possible into this custom PC built in 2016 and it still performs amazingly even with 4K live streaming and recording. Built by our friends at Eastern Shore Broadcasting this machine has been upgraded multiple times. Most recently we have added two four-port 3G-SDI Magewell PCIe capture cards to support up to eight SDI cameras.
In recent years, we have moved over to IP based video production with the NewTek NDI making processing power and graphics card specifications more important than “heavy metal” capture devices. Either way, this computer has been getting the job done for us for over 3 years!
- i7 Hex Core 5820K CPU, 32GB RAM, 240GB SSD, 2TB HDD, 1000W PSU
- (8) 3G SDI Ports, (2) USB3.1, (4) USB2.0, and 1 Thunderbolt II ports
- (1) HDMI input
- (2) HDMI, (2) DVI video outputs, Nvidia chipset, 2GB RAM
- Windows 10/64 Pro
Our Broadcast Controls
Our cameras can be controlled from a plethora of options including: any computer on our network, our IP joystick, our x-keys, vMix and even an Xbox controller. Usually, our producer is running a mix of everything and I will do my best to explain how and why. First of all the IP joystick is used to quickly grab control for any of our four PTZ cameras. The IP joystick works great for on the fly adjustments with four hot-swap buttons to choose and an intuitive joystick. Using vMix we can essentially program any key on our keyboard or xKeys controllers to recall PTZ preset positions. So our producer can click any pre-programmed button to zoom into any space in our studio with a given camera. A practical application is choosing between our two hosts and having the camera quickly move to a known location before a transition.
We use two sets of xKeys. One for our producer and one for Paul & Tess the hosts. This way we as hosts we can play sounds during the broadcast or pull up a known graphic like a Facebook Live request as part of our natural conversation with the audience. As you can see Tess has custom labeled our 24 button xKeys controller.
Our Mounting Hardware
We are using two different types of camera wall mounts. Our PTZOptics camera is on a HuddleCamHD HCM-1 Wall Mount. This mount is made in the USA and includes some really easy hardware for almost any situation. Above the wall mount is our ZCam which is mounted on a PanaVise 846-06W. The “W” stands for White and there is a black version as well we should probably be using (but we just had these in stock). I have the link to the PanaVise mount above, but I just want to add that who names there mount 846-06W? Who in the heck is going to remember that? haha..