This edition of Tech Corner focuses on multi-streaming, how to do it, and why it is useful for live video production.
Deciding on one streaming platform can be challenging: Which one is better? Which destination will give me the most for my effort? We say: why not have it all? Let’s dive into multi-streaming and how to stream to multiple sites simultaneously.
What is multi-streaming?
Multi-streaming is broadcasting live video content to more than one platform simultaneously. In the diagram below, live video content is streaming to YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch at the same time.
How to multi-stream
Streaming software such as Wirecast and vMix allows users to stream to multiple destinations. Wirecast, for example, has all recommended encoding settings for different live video platforms as presets, so it’s just a matter of copying and pasting those RTMP and stream key values from the CDN into the software.
However, be aware that the more streaming destinations – the more processing power and upload speed are required. Each additional stream destination will “eat up” a good chunk of CPU and bandwidth. Your computer may have difficulty going live to three or more places simultaneously, causing dropped frames, buffering, and audio/video delays. Launching a multi-stream from a computer using the software requires a powerful machine and high internet upload speed, making software a less reliable option.
Hardware encoders like Pearl-2 and Pearl Mini can stream to many destinations. Like with software, each stream must be configured individually using RTMP and stream key values from the CDN. Epiphan Video uses a Pearl-2 to multi-stream the Live @ Epiphan show to YouTube, Facebook Live, and sometimes Twitch.
Time has shown that multi-streaming with a hardware encoder is more reliable than using a computer with software. This is mainly because the hardware does all the heavy lifting regarding processing power. However, even with hardware, a good internet upload speed is still required for a quality multi-stream.
The easiest way to multi-stream
The benefits of multi-streaming
The obvious benefit of streaming to multiple destinations simultaneously is reaching a wider audience, but there are other less obvious ones. Let’s start with that big one:
Maximise your reach
Get discovered by new audiences.
The more channels you are on – the more people see you. In addition, multi-streaming maximises your chances of getting discovered by new audiences (think suggested videos on YouTube). We know that Facebook prioritises live video content. This is great for creators and companies alike, whose goals always include raising brand awareness and driving more traffic to their business.
Take advantage of each platform’s benefits.
Each social live video platform helps connect with different people and specific demographic groups. For example, YouTube is a global video platform; it is excellent for reaching a diverse audience. Facebook is a social media platform designed for quick shares (live video included) and is ideal for reaching local communities. Periscope is good for reaching younger audiences, while Vimeo allows more control over who can access your stream.
A multi-stream can also be a great way to gather statistics about where and who your audiences are and where they are most active.
Meet your audience where they already are.
Effort is often spent on “steering” audiences toward where the live stream is happening. With a multi-stream, there is no need to jump from Facebook to YouTube to watch a live video. It’s more convenient to consume live video in the user’s “native” environment.
Automatic multi publishing
Live video on social media platforms generally automatically uploads and becomes VOD content. So, if you only streamed to a single destination and wanted to have that on-demand video content on other platforms, you would need to download the video from one and upload it to the other. There is no need for that with a multi-stream: sent streams automatically upload to VOD on their respective platforms.
The benefits of multi-streaming for live video are clear: the more platforms you stream to – the more people will see and engage with your content, and the more your following will grow. Considering how simple it is to set up a multi-stream today, it would be a missed opportunity for a live video creator not to try. Whether with the help of streaming software, hardware encoders, or a cloud multi-streaming service, live content creators should consider multi-streaming.
*This blog is extracted from Epiphan.
About Epiphan Video
Epiphan Video provides award-winning, purpose-built hardware solutions that help your business create impactful video content.
The Epiphan Pearl range of hardware encoders is the ultimate system for maximum versatility with multi-encoding, multi-streaming, recording, custom layouts, switching, and more. It is ideal for live event production, enterprise communication or lecture capture in higher education.
AP Tech is the authorised Australian distributor of Epiphan Video products. Every Epiphan solution from AP Tech is backed by local warranty and support.