Warming up the Invalidstream

So, that networking problem I was asking about on Tuesday had an easy enough fix: a thread on the Tom’s Hardware forums had a straightforward recipe for converting a wifi router into a second wifi access point on an existing wired network, which is exactly what I needed.

And what I needed it for was to get a strong enough wifi signal to consistently stream an AirPlay stream from my iPad to my Mac, so that I can then screen capture the iPad stream and livestream it.

Last night — in part as a tech test, as well as part of my vow to completely disengage from politics this year (and thus timed precisely to coincide with Mitt Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention) — I did a two-hour livestream in which I played through all 12 tables in the Pinball Arcade for iPad, with narration, critical analysis, bald blather, or whatever else you’d care to call my beer-powered, pinball-distracted speaking.

Screenshot of livestream, with iPad mirrored to the stream via Reflection

I had a good experience working with the UStream Producer tool to switch between my various sources (screen capture, webcam, picture-in-picture of the two), though I did have to work around a few challenges (PIP doesn’t support audio from source B, so I had to use an audio pass-through app to get speech from my mic into the system audio and therefore out onto the stream). There are some other things I’ll want to do later for which there isn’t an obvious solution in the free app… which may well be a selling point of the $200 “Pro” version of the Producer application. Things like mixing live spoken commentary into a video file playback, something that’s not immediately available from the free Producer.

And of course, there were some glitches — for a few seconds in the iTunes pre-roll, I have audio from a UStream commercial because I was trying to show my own stream in a browser window in order to monitor any visitors or comments. I also forgot to switch on the mic pass-through application when I went over to the screen capture source, so there’s like a minute without audio. And I’m concerned about lip-sync on the mic, though that’s from watching the replay, since I didn’t want to distract myself by watching my own stream. Again, this was a test as much as anything else.

So what am I testing for? I’ve got plans for some livestreaming. CocoaConf attendees will note that I’ve asked about interest levels in technical livestreaming in both of the recent “Reverse Q&A” sessions, and the feedback has been largely negative, which is perfect, because this is not going to be what you’re expecting. Not by a long shot.

But for now, I’m still in the experimental phase. There’s more politics to ignore next week when President Obama makes his address to the Democratic National Convention. So let’s plan on another stream at 10PM ET Thursday night. This time, I’ll load up some fun videos for the 15-minute pre-roll at 9:45, though maybe I won’t actually record that part (I realized later that starting the broadcast and starting the recording are separate actions). And what should we play? I was thinking maybe some Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for iPad, which I’m about 25 hours into, and therefore can offer a deeper look into the game’s beloved “job system” as we work through Chapter 3 of the engrossing tale.

So, invalidstream, next Thursday night. Hope to see you there.

Comments (2)

  1. […] the talk. It’s a pretty good illustration of the inherent latency of HLS; when I was doing my one-off streaming experiments over the Summer, I found that the Flash-based browser stream on my laptop was about 3-5 seconds […]

  2. […] let’s go back a few steps… I hadn’t actually hosted a livestream since my late Summer iOS gaming streams. I did those with the basic Ustream tools, but for Black Friday, Telestream (makers of the great […]

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