This guide will teach you how to run the Cyber@UC livestream. It is a work in progress, so please ask Hayden Schiff if you have any questions or issues.
Table of Contents:
- Hardware setup
- Software setup
- Other prep work
- Running the stream
There are a few things you should do in advance of the meeting for the livestream—ideally, do these steps as soon as the topic for the meeting has been set.
Add the meeting on the website
Schedule the event on YouTube
Scheduling the meeting in advance on YouTube lets our subscribers know when a meeting is going to happen, and allows you to set the title and description in advance so you don’t have to deal with it when you’re going live.
Log in to YouTube with the firstname.lastname@example.org account (the public affairs committee manages this account, so ask them if you don’t know the password). Go to Creator Studio, then go to the Live Streaming section (you can also go directly to the URL youtube.com/live_dashboard).
Update the meeting number and topic in the title. Add a brief sentence at the top of the description describing the topic, and update the link to the meeting on our website. Tick the “Schedule next stream” checkbox, and set it to the planned start time (6:30pm) on the meeting day (don’t worry, it won’t cause any issues if the stream actually ends up starting a few minutes early or late).
Here’s how to setup all the hardware components. If you’re not sure what piece of equipment I’m talking about, you can find photos of everything by clicking the links in the equipment list.
The equipment we use for the livestream is:
- the PC in Rhodes 850D (for running OBS, and for presenting slides)
- one of our lab desktops (hostname: snowwhite) + monitor + mouse + keyboard
- Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam (for the primary webcam)
- Elgato Cam Link capture card (for capturing laptop footage)
- VGA-to-HDMI Converter (in case we need to use AJ’s stupid old laptop that doesn’t have an HDMI port)
- 1x2 HDMI Splitter (so that the laptop video feed can be sent to both the projector and the capture card for the stream)
- 2x1 HDMI Pigtail Switch (to simplify switching between HDMI and VGA laptops)
- a standard camera tripod (for the primary webcam)
- USB extension cables
- HDMI cables
Most of this equipment can be found in a Hak5-branded drawstring bag that should be in ERC 516 or ERC 513 (if you don’t have a key for those rooms, you’ll have to ask someone who does).
Mount the Logitech C922 Webcam on the tripod using the screw threading on the bottom of the camera. Set up the tripod as close as possible to the presenter’s desk. Try to point the camera to a reasonable spot where anyone will probably remain mostly in frame even if they move around a lot.
The USB cable on the webcam is really short, so I recommend you don’t even remove the cable tie or unwind it. Instead, connect a USB extension cable to it, and plug that into one of the 4 USB ports on the PC (inside the cabinet of the presenter’s desk – you may have to reach around the door if it’s locked).
The Elgato Cam Link capture card should already have a dinky little ~6-inch USB 3.0 extension cable attached to it. Plug that cable directly into one of the USB 3.0 ports on the PC (you must use a USB 3.0 port or it won’t work). We have a couple HDMI cables, most of them are short but there’s one long one; connect the long one to the Elgato Cam Link. Connect the other end of that HDMI cable to one of the outputs on the 1x2 HDMI Splitter.
The other output on the 1x2 HDMI Splitter needs to go to the projector. There are two HDMI cables coming out of a hole in the top of the presenter’s desk (just behind the computer monitors)—unfortunately, it’s a game of trial and error to figure out which one is the HDMI input (once you’ve finished connecting everything you should test it—see the last paragraph of the Projectors section below).
Now both of the outputs on the 1x2 HDMI Splitter should be connected, but we still need an input. Connect the 2x1 HDMI Pigtail Switch to the 1x2 HDMI Splitter’s input.
Now we need to connect the 2x1 HDMI Pigtail Switch’s input. For one of the inputs, just connect a short HDMI cable and leave it on the desk. If anyone needs to present their HDMI laptop, they can plug the other end of that cable into their laptop.
For the 2x1 HDMI Pigtail Switch’s other input, connect it to the HDMI output cable coming out of the desk.
Connect both the 1x2 HDMI Splitter and the VGA-to-HDMI Converter to power via the two electrical outlets on the side of the laptop cart that’s right next to the presenter’s desk. The VGA-to-HDMI Converter should not actually be connected to anything else besides power; it just needs to be ready on standby in case anyone needs to present from a VGA laptop (then it can just be connected to the HDMI cable sitting on the desk).
You now need to correctly setup the projector using the little touch screen attached to the presenter’s desk. Tap “Start Class” to turn on the projectors.
To have the projectors show what’s on stream, just set it to “Project HDMI”. Thanks to the 1x2 HDMI Splitter, this will always show the exact same video feed that’s going to our streaming machine.
At this point, you should probably connect a laptop to the short HDMI cable we mentioned earlier and test that it shows up on the projectors when the touchscreen is set to “Project HDMI”. If it does not show up, you might have used the wrong one of the two HDMI cables coming out of the desk.
A visual aid makes everything easier, so here’s a diagram to show all the wiring that I just described:
Now that all the hardware is connected, it’s time to get OBS working.
Log in to Snow White (the streaming PC) as user cyberatuc (get the password from someone who knows it). On the desktop there should be a Launch OBS batch script – double-click it.
Intro to OBS
You should have OBS in studio mode, which means you will see two different scenes side by side, with a few buttons in between them and a bunch of options and stuff at the bottom of the screen (if you only see one scene, turn on Studio Mode). The scene on the right is what’s “live” – when the stream is turned on, that is what is being sent to YouTube. The scene on the left is what’s “on deck” – it’s whatever scene you have ready to go live at the click of a button. OBS sort of thinks of the “on deck” scene as your current scene for editing/configuration – the Scenes and Sources menus at the bottom of the window are for making changes to the “on deck” scene.
You can select which scene is “on deck” via the Scenes list at the bottom of the window on the far left. To swap the “on deck” scene with the “live” scene, click the Transition button in the middle of the screen (i.e. between the two scenes).
Video capture devices
Once you have OBS opened, you should make sure that both the webcam and the Cam Link are working properly (which they very often aren’t). Theoretically, OBS should automatically find these devices as long as they were plugged in when you started OBS. In practice, they’re finicky as hell and you have to futz about with it to get them working.
In the Scenes list, there are separate “RAW” scenes for both the webcam and the capture card – go to these scenes to troubleshoot each device. The webcam raw scene should be showing the picture from the Logitech C922 Pro Webcam, and the Cam Link raw scene should be showing the display of the laptop (if you don’t have a laptop connected, obviously this will show nothing, so you’ll need to plug in a laptop to test this).
If either/both of these are not properly displaying, here are some possible troubleshooting steps:
- While in the “RAW” scene for a device, go to the Sources list at the bottom of OBS. The raw scenes should only have one source, which is the video capture device. Right-click this and select Properties. There’s a few things you can check in the Properties pop-up:
- The dropdown menu at the top of the options should be set to the appropriate device. Click the dropdown menu and re-select the appropriate device.
- If there are no devices in the dropdown menu, or if the device you’re looking for is missing from the dropdown, try reconnecting its USB connection, then closing and reopening the Properties pop-up. If that doesn’t work, you might need to reboot the entire PC.
- Often times, you might simply need to deactivate and reactivate the source, using the Deactivate button (this is particularly effective for the Cam Link).
- The resolution for both devices should be 1920x1080 and the FPS should be “Same as Output FPS”.
- If you’re really having trouble getting the source to display, you might try closing the Properties pop-up, then right-clicking the source in the Sources list and deleting it. Then add a new source, select Video Capture Device, and try adding the appropriate device again.
- If the source is displaying, but there’s black space around it in the scene or it’s mispositioned, go to the Properties pop-up again and make sure the video resolution is correct. If it is indeed 1920x1080, then you can fix the scene by simply clicking on the picture in the scene, and dragging the corners of the source to adjust its position/size.
Other prep work
There’s a few more little things that need to be done before going live.
Login to classroom PC
We primarily present the slides from the desktop PC that’s in the classroom, so log in to that machine with your UC login and pull up the slides via Slack.
Update YouTube description
We need to update the information that’s displayed with the livestream on our YouTube channel. N.B. Do this before going live; otherwise people will get notified with outdated info.
Log in to the email@example.com account and go to youtube.com (if you open Chrome on Snow White, it should already be logged in). Click on the profile pic in the top-right corner and go to Creator Studio. Go to the Live Streaming section. On that page, update the title and the first sentence of the description (as well as incrementing the meeting number in the info URL).
Running the stream
Now that everything is (hopefully) working, you need to actually run the stream during the meeting. Essentially, this just consists of switching between scenes. In the scenes list, there are two types of scenes that you can use during the stream: SPLASH and PRESENT.
- The SPLASH scenes show a pretty photo of the university and show a simple message. There are “starting soon” and “see you next week” versions of the SPLASH screen pre-made, and there’s also one with no preset message that you can edit. To change the text on that scene, go to that scene, then right click the text source in the Sources list and select Properties. Change the text to whatever you like.
- The PRESENT scenes are the primary scenes you’ll use while the meeting is actually ongoing. There’s a few PRESENT scenes, but the main ones are desktop, laptop, and webcam.
- The desktop and laptop scenes are all very similar – they show whatever the Cam Link is receiving. The only difference between the two is that the desktop scene has the video feed slightly cropped (for whatever reason, the classroom PC outputs video with black bars on all sides). There’s also a 4:3 variant of the laptop scene if your laptop doesn’t support widescreen (we’ve also used this when we’ve had the meeting in alternate classrooms – most classrooms in Baldwin/Rhodes are only setup for 4:3).
- The webcam scene is shows the webcam video fullscreen with the name of the club tucked in the corner. We don’t use this one much. Sometimes if the Cam Link stops working in the middle of a meeting, I’ll switch to the webcam scene until I can get the issue resolved.
A few minutes before the meeting is going to start, make sure the “live” scene is set to the “SPLASH: starting soon” scene. Then click the “Start Streaming” button in OBS (it’s at the bottom on the far right).
Ending the stream
If you can, it’s nice to have the “SPLASH: see you next week” scene up for a minute or so at the end of the meeting. When you’re ready to kill it, click “Stop Streaming”, close OBS, and log out of the computer. Tap “End Class” on the touchscreen to turn off the projectors. Pack up all the equipment into the Hak5 bag and store it in either Rhodes 1000 or ERC 516. Put the tripod in its bag and return it to Langsam (the Langsam desk is open pretty late, so I recommend returning it immediately after the meeting ends).
As soon as possible after the meeting, be sure to update the meeting page on the website to include the slides PDF and the YouTube link. You can read about how to do this in the Contributing to cyberatuc.org guide.