The online racing simulator
broadcasting lfs
(78 posts, started )
broadcasting lfs
hi @all

some ideas about lfs live broadcasting goes around my mind and therefore i have some questions:

1. what technical configuration would be neccessary to realise a live broadcast?
i thought about a solution with 2 pc's using video-out to output one monitor and using video-in to get a signal to capture. then uploading that to a streaming server.
a) would that work?
b) what software is needed to do that (encoding the stream) ?

2. does anybody knows providers, who offer solutions for live game-broadcasting?

i only will start with such simple questions, hopefully some members are well known about that topic and the more detailed questions will follow

p.s. i this is the wrong place to ask such questions, please move it to the right subsection
#2 - wild
For a start are you going on about audio or video broadcasting?
soory about missing that detail i mean full video-broadcastings with commentary and sound. as an example, like www.esport-racing.com do it
its video, he said video-out
€: bah, selbe minute
We have also the idea to do live broadcasts of our austrian championship. We have done some tests with one strong PC, where LFS runs and also the Windows Media Encoder, that capures the video and encodes it to a 300kbit/s VC-1 video stream. The video quality is not the best, but viewable.

When you have a second PC, that you should get a better video result, cause you have more CPU time for the encoding.

We have also googled some commercial hosts where you can by stream time, but for the first broadcasts we will use our root-server as relay and limit the users. (e.g. with Darwin Streaming Server or something similar as relay)
I hope we can provide broadcasts in the next season which starts in autumn this year.
Quote from Brilwing :We have also the idea to do live broadcasts of our austrian championship. We have done some tests with one strong PC, where LFS runs and also the Windows Media Encoder, that capures the video and encodes it to a 300kbit/s VC-1 video stream. The video quality is not the best, but viewable.

I've wondered this broadcasing thing before and came up with absolutely nothing. Now you're telling me I've had a program capable of doing just what I wanted for years now installed on my computer? Goddamn mondays, grrr....

How have you captured sound to the video? With a simple loop cord maybe?
i did i first short try, but i cann't get any captured screen in the media encoder ? it always apears black i choose "Screen Capture" as device, but never saw an "input" in the video-preview-window
Alternatively to native WME Screen capture you can use free VH Screen Capture Driver which comes with some nice handy options.

Nevertheless a realy fast PC is a must, otherwise you're resorted to very low resolutions and dropped frames every now and then. I've experimented with Q6600 and got some acceptable results, but nothing special. Furthermore WME 32-bit can't use more than two CPU cores.

Audio is painless unlike video. Just record Stereo Mix straight from your card, no loopback needed.
hi haelje,

I think the 2 PC approach as envisoned is the best solution to get best quality with maintainable effort. One PC can run LFS without the risk to loose fps or connection to the server due to a second encoding task. And the other PC has 100% CPU time available for encoding. This is also the way how esport-racing does it (read here: http://www.esport-racing.com/t ... hp?postid=3280#post3280):
Quote :... About the way it's done:

We have one PC with LFS running, and one which is capturing sound and pic, streaming all that to the web. At the very same PC there is the control window of the TV director, which has a map of the track, moving buttons of the cars and a positions list....

For encoding they are using the VLC player (www.videolan.org).


Quote from Brilwing :... that capures the video and encodes it to a 300kbit/s VC-1 video stream. The video quality is not the best, but viewable.
...

I think for a decent video quality you would need at least 600kbit/s (@384x288), because in racing you have a lot of camera pan and fast movement. With about 800kbit/s and 640x480 it was hard to read the gaps in the standings list of the last esport-racing broadcasts.
Nevertheless good luck with your project

with kind regards
Soeren
Hehe this is cool, I used too broadcast counterstrike live years ago but got bored of it. But I did have a vision of being a Sim racing broadcaster in LFS I enjoy but don't know the tracks names or the game well.

soon on my payday i will get full license
Quote from Soeren Scharf :hi haelje,

I think the 2 PC approach as envisoned is the best solution to get best quality with maintainable effort. One PC can run LFS without the risk to loose fps or connection to the server due to a second encoding task. And the other PC has 100% CPU time available for encoding. This is also the way how esport-racing does it (read here: http://www.esport-racing.com/t ... hp?postid=3280#post3280):
For encoding they are using the VLC player (www.videolan.org).



I think for a decent video quality you would need at least 600kbit/s (@384x288), because in racing you have a lot of camera pan and fast movement. With about 800kbit/s and 640x480 it was hard to read the gaps in the standings list of the last esport-racing broadcasts.
Nevertheless good luck with your project

with kind regards
Soeren

And of course sing TV-director is a must

No really ppl it IS.
Quote from TV[cz] :Alternatively to native WME Screen capture you can use free VH Screen Capture Driver which comes with some nice handy options.

Nevertheless a realy fast PC is a must, otherwise you're resorted to very low resolutions and dropped frames every now and then. I've experimented with Q6600 and got some acceptable results, but nothing special. Furthermore WME 32-bit can't use more than two CPU cores.

Audio is painless unlike video. Just record Stereo Mix straight from your card, no loopback needed.

this device driver worked very well for me, i had the forst working streams with that and windows media encoder. unfortunally VLC is not working with it, perhaps because i'm using vista64. i will try to organize the hardware to use a second pc for that, the encoding eats a lot of cpu power
Question: If I happen to have an extra computer, how do I capture the output from the other machine?
Quote from haelje :this device driver worked very well for me, i had the forst working streams with that and windows media encoder. unfortunally VLC is not working with it, perhaps because i'm using vista64.

Yep there seem to be a bug in VLC which prevents you from opening VHS configuration panel. It's unrelated to OS. Unstable nightly builds of VLC pre-0.9 are improved in this regard, but the downside is they're ehm... unstable. I couldn't get anything but crashes from VLC+VHS. What a pity, h264 streaming options looked promising.

You may take a look at MS Expression Encoder trial that comes as successor of old good WME.

Quote from hyntty :Question: If I happen to have an extra computer, how do I capture the output from the other machine?

I can't see how could one capture uncompromised digital DVI/HDMI video on the other PC without specialized and expensive HW, unfortunatelly. So not much choices left really.

1) Old school analog TV-out => analog TV-in => SW frame grabber provides you with crippled video quality by design. Cheap and easy though. Maybe PC controlled DV-cam could be used on the target end.

2) Stream soft compressed (DV, MPEG2 hispeed) or lossless (huffyuv, lagarith) video over network from PC1 to PC2 for further processing. That shouldn't be very CPU hungry. Finding working, stable and free tools might be tough task.
Quote from hyntty :Question: If I happen to have an extra computer, how do I capture the output from the other machine?

should this be possible with 2 graohics card which offer an ViVo (in my knowlegde the signal my ATI X1950Pro is a S-Video signal). so you output one monitor of pc1 to video-out and input that in video-in of pc2. normally the video-in is a device from which you can grabb so you encode the whole monitor1-pc1 output. that was my idea and the only thing i need atm is a second card with a video in.
Personally I would have a good chat with Joe from eTM and Becky from the STCC. Both have had to stop their projects at various points because of the shear amount of effort required to produce a worthy broadcastable event could not be maintained.

Maybe it would be an option to assist Joe in producing his videos in some way? I don't know. I do know though that what you are wanting to accomplish has been attempted twice by two different people and they should be able to at least give you some good pointers.
Quote from Christopher Raemisch :Personally I would have a good chat with Joe from eTM and Becky from the STCC. Both have had to stop their projects at various points because of the shear amount of effort required to produce a worthy broadcastable event could not be maintained.

Maybe it would be an option to assist Joe in producing his videos in some way? I don't know. I do know though that what you are wanting to accomplish has been attempted twice by two different people and they should be able to at least give you some good pointers.

yes, i know i will do it this week. my first intention was to ask the community, becky and jo are well known as broadcasters, so they are on my list at next
I've somehow managed to initiate and record stream using VHS and VLC 0.8.6h on a single PC (VHS panel must be invoked manually using VHS Config proggy). It basically works but require a lot of patience while configuring SW and in global it is oversensitive to factors like window size, capture & compression settings and so on. Things can easily go wrong, therefore probably a no go for serious broadcast.

Out of curiosity here's a short sample capture (32MB). It's a midres h264@1mbit and screwed up audio track. File must be played via VLC and it takes a few sec till picture kicks in :o
Quote from TV[cz] :I've somehow managed to initiate and record stream using VHS and VLC 0.8.6h on a single PC (VHS panel must be invoked manually using VHS Config proggy). It basically works but require a lot of patience while configuring SW and in global it is oversensitive to factors like window size, capture & compression settings and so on. Things can easily go wrong, therefore probably a no go for serious broadcast.

Looks interesting. So you have the VH screen cap driver and VLC. And that's it?

I'm tempted to try: How do you create teh bloody stream in the first place and I presume this doesn't compress the video into a streamable format (=windows media, meaning streamable via internet)?
I have no practical experience in broadcasting live, although it is something i'm looking into. For me though the interest is more in the realm of seemless action replays, director camera control and onscreen captions.

The technicalities of TV out / capturing is something that surely just works if you buy the necessary hardware? I dont make hardware anymore so I just buy hardware that works...

I'm reading this thread with interest to see where it goes in terms of the technical aspects, fundamentally though the problem with live streaming is the lack of features/coverage in the broadcast itself and that's what i'm more focused on.

Live sim race broadcasts are of incomparable quality to delayed broadcasting where more features can be added. I do not hold with the argument that "live" adds value to watching a sport, if you are watching something for the first time then you are watching it for the first time...

I wouldnt want to produce a live broadcast by sacrificing quality/features, and I dont want to do anything if the workload is exponential therefore I look to automate as much as possible.

One of the more interesting things i've seen in TV-land is a machine that allows footage to be replayed instantaneously from any part of the recording thus far at the press of a button, the problem using one of these in sim racing is that they are very expensive (about £10k to purchase, leaving us a recurring rental cost) and in LFS removing the onscreen-captions from the live feed which would usually be added further on in the broadcast feed than we do with our limited hardware.

To achieve what i'm looking for i'd have to run 1 machine for the director software - this would also be used to add engine noise of cars passing the 'commentary box', another computer to run 5-10 seconds behind to show the live footage with captions, it runs behind in order to allow the director heuristics a chance to pre-empt overtakes etc (as detection of action via insim often misses the build up to the event).

A third machine then offers replays from other angles and runs even further behind on the replay stream and automatically pauses and waits for user input to record events. The replays recorded by this machine need to be recorded as independent video clips that can then be inserted into the live feed. Doing this negates the purchase of very expensive hardware.

Add the two encoder machines, and various screens to support the commentators such as the LFS Spectator type thingy and additional timing information data, and we're running back into high cost again. The budget is now well beyond what I can afford for a hobby project and well into the domain of professional sports broadcasting.

If I ever get enough budget though then i'll do it .
Quote from Becky Rose :I have no practical experience in broadcasting live, although it is something i'm looking into. For me though the interest is more in the realm of seemless action replays, director camera control and onscreen captions.

The technicalities of TV out / capturing is something that surely just works if you buy the necessary hardware? I dont make hardware anymore so I just buy hardware that works...

I'm reading this thread with interest to see where it goes in terms of the technical aspects, fundamentally though the problem with live streaming is the lack of features/coverage in the broadcast itself and that's what i'm more focused on.

Live sim race broadcasts are of incomparable quality to delayed broadcasting where more features can be added. I do not hold with the argument that "live" adds value to watching a sport, if you are watching something for the first time then you are watching it for the first time...

I wouldnt want to produce a live broadcast by sacrificing quality/features, and I dont want to do anything if the workload is exponential therefore I look to automate as much as possible.

One of the more interesting things i've seen in TV-land is a machine that allows footage to be replayed instantaneously from any part of the recording thus far at the press of a button, the problem using one of these in sim racing is that they are very expensive (about £10k to purchase, leaving us a recurring rental cost) and in LFS removing the onscreen-captions from the live feed which would usually be added further on in the broadcast feed than we do with our limited hardware.

To achieve what i'm looking for i'd have to run 1 machine for the director software - this would also be used to add engine noise of cars passing the 'commentary box', another computer to run 5-10 seconds behind to show the live footage with captions, it runs behind in order to allow the director heuristics a chance to pre-empt overtakes etc (as detection of action via insim often misses the build up to the event).

A third machine then offers replays from other angles and runs even further behind on the replay stream and automatically pauses and waits for user input to record events. The replays recorded by this machine need to be recorded as independent video clips that can then be inserted into the live feed. Doing this negates the purchase of very expensive hardware.

Add the two encoder machines, and various screens to support the commentators such as the LFS Spectator type thingy and additional timing information data, and we're running back into high cost again. The budget is now well beyond what I can afford for a hobby project and well into the domain of professional sports broadcasting.

If I ever get enough budget though then i'll do it .

mmmm....I think you may have missed 'A room the size of centre court in Wimbledon' from that list there.
Quote from Mackie The Staggie :mmmm....I think you may have missed 'A room the size of centre court in Wimbledon' from that list there.

Not really. Those PC's can be stacked - a full screen, keyboard & mouse setup for each one isnt necessary. One of those switch boxes would be more than adequate.
Quote from hyntty :Looks interesting. So you have the VH screen cap driver and VLC. And that's it?

Yes, only these two tools are enough. Or if you're familiar with WME (Windows Media Encoder) you can use this instead of VLC, as it's less prone to errors.

Quote from hyntty :
I'm tempted to try: How do you create teh bloody stream in the first place and I presume this doesn't compress the video into a streamable format (=windows media, meaning streamable via internet)?

VLC comes with an option to not only view Video coming from VHS (or other media source), but also to recompress and publish as network stream. That's very similar to WME.
psrtv has been running live broadcast for a while now, running rfactor and now arca sim racing along with there mods and 8 hour races .

i believe they just use a spectator for camaraman (dont think this person is even local behind the pc), and there game allows on the fly pausing and rewinding of live races, so best idea would be to ask scawen to build that for us with the ablity of delay's/caching.

for commenter they use another spectator with the server being in teamspeak or ventrilo. so everything is captured.
looks like in low res ( if they screw up and the mouse pointer shows its HUGE ).

maby some one could ask them to confirm this but this is what i think after a few weeks of watching em now and then

broadcasting lfs
(78 posts, started )
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