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My streaming setup

My setup is not very expensive and I was lucky because I had or could borrow most of the needed equipment for free. There is some drawbacks with my system but overall it works good and gives me a lot of bang for my buck.

Part 1 - The streaming hardware.

my setup consist of the following components.

  • Canon Legria HF R506 (VIXIA HF R500 in the US). cost around 299 dollars
  • Avermedia LGP lite USB capture card. Cost around 120 dollars (the card has some challenges with latency. If I was to buy a capture card today I would buy a USB3 card like the Magewell XI100DUSB-HDMI)  
  • Beringer xenyx X1204usb audio mixer. Cost around 180 dollars  
  • Sennheiser XS Wireless headmic set. Cost around 450 dollars
  • Laptop with i7 processor.  

Okay so the setup is quite expensive. But it is totaly possible to reduce the cost without redusing the quality of the stream.

Firstly the audio mixer is overkill. you could use any mixer that is half the cost or use a software mixer in you streaming software.

secondly I use a Sennheiser XS Wireless headmic set for my announcer audio. This set gives me the possibility to either have the announcer use two microphones (one for me and one for the venue speakers) or I can use the Wireless set directly on the venue audio mixer and fetch the announcers audio signal right from that. this part is a bit complicated but I will write about it at a later point. 

I have access to a good laptop but you could use a normal stationary computer. I would recommend i5 processor if you want to stream 1080p. 

basic layout

In this setup you can see the video signal in green and audio in blue. Note. The HDMI cable also carries the audio from the camera, but I chose in the software for the capture card not to use the sound that follows the HDMI cable. Instead I pull audio from the camera using a mini-jack cable and input it to my audio mixer. The mixer also has the sound from the announcers coming in. From the audio mixer I output the audio (with the levels I want) to a jack input on the capture card.

I use the audio input jack on the capture card to avoid getting audio / video sync problems. This is a common problem if you input you audio on a normal sound card input and video with the HDMI capture card.

Adding in the venue PA system

Earlier I said that I use the a wireless headmic set for my streaming. The main reason I do this is so I can place the streaming computer and camera in the best location for the camera (Since it uses HDMI for transfer of video the distance between camera and streaming computer is limited). in my setup I use an FX send port on the venue PA mixer to get the announcer audio but not other elements like music that is run out on the PA system. Most mixers got a AUX output, FX output or similar that allows the mixer to send both vocal and music to one output and only vocal to another output. 

The sound goes via the wireless transmitter / receiver to my streaming mixer. The good thing about this system is that the announcer only need one microphone and that i can locate the streaming computer / camera anywhere within the venue. But for every component you add to you setup you gain more sources for future problems. If you for instance have a dedicated stream announcer then you could use the first example and don't have to have anything to do with venue PA systems or wireless audio or nothing.

Part 2 - The computer network   

Venues often don't have descant internet lines. Or they won't lend them out. This is a problem that I hope will change in time. What I have done to get internet is to use a 4G router. It gives me fast internet speed and also gives me both wired ethernet and WiFi. I connect my streaming machine using wired ethernet to reduce the chance of frame drops. Scoreboard computers are connected to WiFi. This makes it very easy to get the scoreboard overlay into the streaming machine.

Using WiFi has worked good for us. But we are mostly at small venues where the signal is strong. If it was bigger venues or weekend long tournaments I would properly try to get everything on wired ethernet.

It is recommended that scoreboard machines are given a static IP address. It is also recommended to check for software update on all machines the day before the match. Especially new operating systems like windows 10 will download updates by it self. This is a problem if you have limited download / upload cap on your 4G router. Such updated will in some instances force the computer to restart. And that's not something you want happening mid match.