Let me first to start out by saying that until a few months ago, I never saw myself as someone that would be streaming any content. My kids are always watching YouTube and it was very interesting to watch people doing it for a living. I didn’t realize how much fun you could have streaming content and constantly trying to improve the content that you produce.
How it all started?
About a month ago, I did something really crazy and hosted an #AWS #UndergroundDeepRacer event in my basement. If you aren’t familiar with AWS DeepRacer, feel free to read up more HERE.
Basically, I was going to LIVE stream AWS DeepRacer events from my basement for anyone interested in racing their models on a real track, instead of doing it virtually.
Thanks to PTP (Pinnacle Technology Partners), I setup a modified AWS re:invent 2018 narrow track in my basement using a tile track. If you want to read more about AWS UndergroundDeepRacer Road to Victory but this article is about streaming.
Where was I? Oh, streaming. So I setup OBS, which I never heard of until getting prepared for this event but the only thing I was doing with it was streaming to another RTMP server and they were streaming to their Twitch Channel.
What kind of equipment did I have setup for running this event?
- MacBook Pro 13″
- HD Logitech C920
As you can see, nothing special and I was completely unaware how much my equipment was going to grow.
Next Step in my streaming adventure including equipment upgrades!
The AWS #UndergroundDeepRacer was a hit but I needed to be able provide more streaming capabilities. Previously, I was only using OBS to send my stream to another person to manage but now I needed to be able to do everything on my own. I started to play around with OBS more but noticed that my MacBook sounded like it was going to “take off”, and I started to watch the GPU on the internal graphics card. Also, I have a huge group of people that do this stuff for a living that I posted a few questions. It turns out, I shouldn’t use OBS on my laptop, unless I want to turn it into a brick. A colleague of mine wrote a great article on using OBS + skype + NDI, and AWS WorkSpaces, check it out HERE. It works!
- Do I invest in a regular desktop with a great graphics card? But then another piece of equipment at my desk that I have to switch back and forth too. Plus, it doesn’t travel.
- Purchase an eGPU?
- Upgrade my laptop?
After some thought and reading the reviews, I purchased a PowerCooler mini eGPU. This wasn’t my first choice because it certainly doesn’t travel well and others were out of stock. This whole situation has put a strain on webcams, eGPU’s, and streaming equipment. If you give me a few more minutes, I’ll break down my home setup vs my travel setup including my choice of streaming software.
GoPro Hero 8
I wanted to provide a multi-camera view at my desk, the DeepRacer track, and keeping my travel options open. After doing our latest CJ² Pub Talk with Jeff Barr and Corey Quinn, Jeff mentioned he was using his GoPro Hero as another camera and switching views. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was possible.
My next purchase:
- GoPro Hero 8
- Magewell HDMI Capture Card (thanks to Jeff and the team for suggesting it)
- Mini HDMI to HDMI cable 6′ ft
- GoPro Hero 8 Media Mod – an external case that goes over the Hero with USB-C (charging) and mini HDMI port. Can’t hook it up without it.
Hint: Order the Media Mod right away because it took two (2) weeks to get arrive. They were out-of-stock for awhile. Also, when setting everything up, remove the battery because it tends to run really hot.
I did realize that after purchasing the capture card, I could hook my GoPro HDMI directly into my eGPU instead of using the capture card but now I have the capture card for travel.
I have another confession, I never heard of or knew what a Stream Deck was until two (2) weeks ago. After purchasing it, I’m not sure how anyone would want to stream without it. It definitely helps provide a better streaming experience over all.
It’s basically a device that allows you to pre-program shortcuts for streaming software, standard desktop, and gaming, basically a shorter version of a keyboard shortcut.
After playing with OBS and really liking the features, it was hard to use something else. But I had to find a software that was native to MAC and I could use it while traveling, because face it, I can’t take my eGPU with me and I’ve thought about it. Another suggestion by our team was Ecamm LIVE, stay tuned for a review of OBS and Ecamm and why I picked both for streaming.
- Acer Curved Monitor (HDMI to Docking Station)
- Docking station
- MacBook Pro 13″
- Stream Deck (to USB Dock)
- GoPro Hero w/ Media Mod (to Magewell)
- Magewell HDMI Capture Card (to USB Dock)
- Mini eGPU (to Lightning Port on Mac)
- HD Logitech C920 Webcam (to USB Dock)
- OBS Software
Notice all the connections to the USB Docking station? Which brings me to a good point. For all these connections, you need a good docking station with 8 to 12 ports but need a portable one for travel.
- MacBook Pro 13″
- GoPro Hero 8 w/ Media Mod (in the picture I have an older GoPro Hero 3)
- GoPro Travel Case (to easily fit into my backpack.
- GoPro Quick Charger
- Portable USB Hub
- Ecamm Live (license required)
- Magewell HDMI Capture Card
I’m still thinking about bringing my Stream Deck with me and I might be able to squeeze it into the GoPro Case.
No matter how you start out with streaming, your setup can only get better as you improve your equipment. Whether it’s through testing various pieces of equipment or suggestions from colleagues. There isn’t a right or wrong way to stream, it is all about the content and how you are reaching your audience.