Broadcasting from laptop or computer

There are different streaming softwares that can also be used such as Wirecast and Kulabyte XStream 2. Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE) is powerful, reliable, regularily used in professional situations, and broadcasters generally are very satisfied with it.

Download and install FMLE 3.2 from Adobe here

For the official full FMLE manual, click here

Run FMLE and load the .xml file which we have e-mailed you as follows:

Go to file>open profile

Navigate to where the XML is saved and select 'Open'

Now let's get familiar with the FMLE interface:

Picture courtesy of Ustream:

1. Video Device: Select the video device you want to use to stream

2. Encoding Format: Select H.264 over VP6.

3. Frame Rate: Standard 30 fps

4. Input Size: Choosing a bigger input size increases the output quality. Try to input a widescreen (16:9) picture as viewers prefer that. If you can only manage a TV-style picture (4:3), consider cropping the top and bottom using the crop feature on the bottom right to get a 16:9 picture. You will have to de-select the "Maintain aspect ratio" tick box to do so. You should end up with an output size of 512x288

5. Output Size and Video Bit Rate: Make the output size equal or less than the input size. We find 512x288 is generally a good target to aim at. The larger the output size the higher the Bit Rate you will need to maintain quality.

Encoding Guidelines:

Normal Quality: 512 x 288 at Video Bit Rate of 200 kbps - the default settings in your .xml file.

Higher Quality 512 x 288..........200kbps
640 x 360........500kbps
960 x 540........600kbps
1280 x 720.......800kbps
(requires good upload speed): 512x288 or higher output size, Video Bit Rate of 600 kbps.
Using higher output sizes: use 16:9 RATIO - Thus 512 X 9/16=288 or 640:360 640 X 9/16 = 360 - see here.
Encoding at a higher bit rate will require more CPU resources and bandwidth.
Remember viewers in certain countries can only view a lower bandwidth like 250 kbps total, so the best option if you want a high quality stream is to send out both a low and high quality stream.

6. Audio Device: The audio device you want to use for the stream. This does not need to be the built in mic to your camera. You can select an alternate audio input.

7. Format: Choose AAC if possible. This will also play on iPhones - MP3 will not.

8. Channels: Stereo is preferred over mono.

9. Sample Rate: 44100 Hz or 44.1 kHz is a good starting point unless you have audio gear that requires something else.

10. Audio Bit Rate: Normal broadcast audio is 48 kbps.

11. RTMP URL and Stream: Your RTMP will be populated automatically when you open up the XML file you download from the Remote Console of your Channel Dashboard.

12. Save to File: You can save a local copy of the broadcast to your computer. Having a local copy is always a good idea.

Common Mistakes

1. Going for quality rather than smoothness. Sometimes a new broadcaster does not have good bandwidth and the picture is jerky. If he lowers the video bit-rate, it gets smoother, but he loses picture quality. That is the better setting. People will watch poor-quality smooth video, but not jerky video. It is better to have smooth video with the video bit-rate at 50kbps than to broadcast better pictures at 200kbps or 100kbps or whatever and have a jerky video. Always avoid jerky video, go for smoother video.

2. Having a picture stretched sideways. This is because the only way to get a 4:3 (webcam or some camcorder outputs) picture in a 16:9 window in FMLE is to have 'maintain aspect ratio' selected, enter 512 on the left box of the oputput size boxes, and crop from the top and bottom until the output is 512:288 - not just to change the output size to 512 x 288 with 'maintain aspect ratio' deselected. That just stretches the picture.