Making sure your online broadcast is delivered with exceptional viewing quality
A utility article from TicketCo Media Services on how to get started with digital pay-per-view events
There are some straight forward techniques that can help you ensure your online broadcast achieves first-class technical levels for your viewers. Output resolution and frame size are two factors that will make a real difference to your final product and your viewers’ overall experience of your event. And the good news is everyone can achieve superb viewing quality by following some simple protocols.
Simon Baker, Technical Director and Digital Producer at Wise Children has produced a step-by-step guide for TicketCo Media Services customers to follow. It is available as part of our Customer Support package to help you get the most out of streaming. We chatted to Simon about the key factors in this area of online broadcasting.
Output Resolution & Frame Size
This is how big your image will be, and it has a bearing on the quality of the picture your viewers will receive. It is valued on the number of pixels in each direction on the screen.
“With many people now watching online live-stream and on-demand content via their smart televisions it is important the picture quality is very strong,” said Simon. “Research has shown the customer journey and overall user experience is more important than the actual content viewers watch. People now expect high quality pictures and by following some key principles you can deliver.”
Simon added: “High-Definition TV is the golden standard, followed by HD ready, which is a lower quality but commonly used. They are both markedly superior to standard definition.”
The amount of still images used in one second of film is the frame rate.
“When film cameras were invested, they did not have motors in them,” explained Simon. “So, opening and closing the shutter was done manually via a lever. The best number of frames to give the illusion of a moving image took was between 18 and 26 frames. Eventually 24 frames per second became the industry standard.”
Ultimately the best frame rate depends on what you want to achieve and how you want your production to appear.
“I prefer 25 frames per second as it creates a cinematic look with a slight motion blur,” said Simon. “But it really varies, 30 frames per second is used a lot on TV, especially by sports production companies to reduce motion blur.”
At TicketCo Media Services the frame rate is capped at 30 frames per second, which covers all the requirements for production companies and ensures exceptional quality can be delivered online.
We have covered the size of your image and the number of images, the last area to cover is the quality of your image.
“The bit rate defines the quality of the image,” said Simon. “The higher the bit rate, the more information can be stored in each picture. It can be very important in online streaming and on-demand video broadcasting, but it is often overlooked,” explained Simon.
“When researching what cameras, mixers and servers you need you will need to consider frame size, frame rate and bit rate. If you deliver on all three you will achieve some fantastic results.”
Successful online broadcasting relies heavily on a sold network connection and decent broadband speed.
“It is important to have a network plan,” said Simon. “In a large building with quality fibre broadband you can be lulled into think it will be plan sailing. But a network plan is vital to a smooth delivery.
“You’ll need a network for control data and data transfer, the stream output and a network for people watching the stream as it is broadcast. Basically, you want the network sending the stream to TicketCo Media Services be as pure as possible. This means keeping the connection speed unrestricted, so make sure you have not got unnecessary firewalls or blocking ports.”
Reviewing your network cabling is also an important factor.
“Often there is a lot of cable between a socket and the connector going into the router in the server room,” explained Simon. “And that could contain a lot of connectors and terminations, which are all risks. I’d advise putting a router in place and running a cable direct.”
To access our full step-by-step how-to-guide to Product: Key Concepts please click this link.
If you are a Spektrix client and want to learn more about the frictionless and fully automated integration between Spektrix and TicketCo Media Services, please read more here.
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