Changes, Part 3

Last time, I started to write about live streaming my edit sessions. Over time, I developed a process that achieves a low latency (delay) of about two seconds or less. I send a stream to a content delivery network (CDN) that allows me to embed a low latency, high-resolution stream in a web page. That means all my clients need is a web browser and an adequate internet connection.

So how has it worked? It has worked well. There’s a bit of a learning curve to get people to see where controls are for adjusting audio, making things full screen and how to start the stream if it has stopped. Fortunately, most of those controls are similar to any video player that you’d come across on a website.

Probably the biggest issue I see is my clients’ internet speeds. Now that people are working at home and kids are taking classes online, a family’s available bandwidth is quickly used up. Most of my clients quickly upgraded their connection when they changed from working at an office with fast connections to working at home. However, some haven’t been able to get better connections or their connections suffer because of the shared nature of neighborhood internet service.

When possible, I do a tech test the day before the session at the same time of day as the session will be. A tech test is pretty common with any remote streaming, but since we’re using web browsers, the test doesn’t take a lot of people’s time. During this process, we check out a test stream for picture and sound, looking for skipped frames and listening for dropped audio. If there are problems, I ask viewers to run a speed test.

Based on the test session, I might send out a second stream to the CDN with a lower resolution—1280 x 720 instead of 1920 x 1080. While the CDN will vary the streams they send to viewers based on their bandwidth, it appears that if I send a lower resolution stream it helps with locations that have significant bandwidth restrictions. Once we get through the tech test, we’re ready for the session the following day.

Next time, what it’s like editing with clients watching on a live stream.