Knowing how to properly verify and know with confidence that you are live and broadcasting your highest quality video is essential to be successful in broadcasting. Below are some steps you can take to confirm that you are ready to go and able to stay live throughout your broadcast.
The most important thing you can do is to verify your setup well before tip-off. Here are somethings to check when you first get on location (or in advance of the day if possible).
1. Run a network test through Production Truck. When you open Production Truck it will automatically run a network test to confirm it has a connection and to verify the network speed is capable. You can see the result of this test by going to the Network Tab in the Production Truck Preferences. You may also want to run multiple tests and do some rough averaging of the results to make sure you feel confident in the results it’s giving you.
These are the necessary speeds to stream for your quality...
720p 2.5mbps - 5.0 Mbps
720p 1.8mbps - 3.5 Mbps
540p 1.0mbps - 2.0 Mbps
360p 700kbps - 1.4 Mbps
2. Create and run a 10-20 minute test broadcast while on the network you’ll be using during the event. If you’re streaming through BlueFrame you can set the broadcast section to Test and that will stop the broadcast from showing up to the public. If you can stream for 10-20 minutes you’ll know that you are probably good to go for the broadcast.
Common Failure Points:
1. If you’re broadcast fails to start you may be blocked by the network. You’ll need to get with the I.T. Department at the location. If you’re streaming through the BlueFrame streaming service try enabling RTMP Tunneling under the Network section in the A/V Settings.
2. If you start to see the yellow or red warning message, your network may not be fast enough to handle your current quality that your plan is set to. This could also be caused by the network throttling your speed down do to the network being suspicious of your connection.
3. Test Mode: Production Truck has an awesome feature built in called Test Mode. With every broadcast you are required to first go into Test Mode to ensure that everything is working before you go live. Being in Test mimics being live as your video is being sent to the BlueFrame servers however it has not been made public yet. When your broadcast is in Test Mode you’ll see a “Pre-Broadcast Test” watermark across the center of the video. This helps remind you that this is only a test and that you are not in fact live. There is no minimum amount of time that you need to be in Test Mode, although we recommend at least 5-10 minutes. Whenever you are ready, you can click on the Live button to start the transition to go live.
Production Truck Messaging
Production Truck does offer some direct messaging to help you be aware of the current status of your broadcast.
Starting the Broadcast: Status at bottom of PT
At the bottom of Production Truck you’ll see some messaging that will indicate the current status of Production Truck. This is especially useful when starting a broadcast. You’ll see the messages change from...
[Pre-Broadcast Streaming Started] -> [Stream Count Down] -> [Transitioning to Live] -> [Verifying Live] -> [Streaming Started].
One confusing part of this process is that your broadcast actually goes live while Production Truck is “Transitioning to Live”. One useful trick is to know that you are live as soon as the timer above the program video starts over at 00:00 and begins counting up. The timer will remain yellow from test mode and turn green when Production Truck has verified that the broadcast is live; however as soon as it restarts that’s when you should consider yourself live.
As mentioned above the restarting timer is the best way to verify that your broadcast has started. This is also a helpful item to keep an eye on during your broadcast. If you don’t see this timer ticking up you are not live. If you were to run into an issue and the stream stopped it would be an obvious event however seeing the timer ticking is a good thing to keep an eye on to ensure confidence that your broadcast is still alive and breathing.
One of the warning mechanisms in Production Truck is a Yellow or Red triangle that appears just to the left of the Overlay Button. This warning triangle will warn you when you encounter network issues. You can hover over the triangle with your mouse and receive more detailed information on the issue. If it’s a network issue it will provide you the severity of the issue by telling you how many seconds behind live you are. Production Truck is capable of recovering from small network issues so if you are 20 or 30 seconds behind live it’s not necessarily a death sentence. If your network connection recovers, Production Truck will as well. If you find yourself at 150 seconds or worse behind live your internet speed may have dropped significantly or dropped out completely. Production Truck will try to stay live for as long as it can; However when it reaches ~300 seconds behind live, it may kill the stream as it isn’t able to keep up. At this point you should run a speed test to check your speed and possibly call BlueFrame support to drop your quality if it’s set too high.
One fool proof way to confirm your broadcasts status and quality is to check it yourself. This is an especially important step when you’re running a test broadcast or in Test Mode before your broadcast. If you’re in test mode, you can log in to vCloud.BlueFrametech.com, click on the broadcast grid and go to the ( i ) button next to your broadcast. This will allow you to watch and listen to the broadcast. Once you go live, you’ll want to check the broadcast by clicking on the “View in normal player” link. This will let you watch the broadcast as a normal viewer with the Network ID and any ads that accompany your video. Checking your broadcast by watching as a normal viewer adds a ton of confidence because you’ve seen first hand that the broadcast is available and working for the public. We understand that you’re doing a thousand things when you’re starting a broadcast, but having yourself or another team member spend 60 seconds to verify the broadcast will be a confidence boost to your team.
The BlueFrame support team takes great pride in trying to be ahead of the curve when it comes to getting live broadcasts in front of your viewers. Whenever there are broadcasts scheduled we will have someone on call in case anything goes wrong. During peak hours we work to make sure that everything that is live stays live. If we see an issue with a broadcast not starting on time or if it seems like you may be having issues, we will reach out to help in any way we can. However if you see an issue before we do you can always call us to have us take a look at the situation. Our support team is available at (855) 812-2740.
Production Truck has some awesome tools to create high quality content but at it’s core it’s still an encoder. We want to help make sure that your well crafted content is successful in reaching your viewers. If you have any questions on any of the topics mentioned above please reach out to our support team.