AFO Live Stream Update – New Camera

This camera will bring the HEIN to your computer screen.

This camera will bring the HEIN to your computer screen.

Today I picked up a new (to me) Sony HDR-PJ540 camera. This means the live streaming gear is now equipped with 3, HD sony cameras. While far from being a professional, or even prosumer level camera, it has some nice features that should improve the live stream from AFO 2014. First, it has a microphone input. This will allow for conducting interviews or picking up audience reactions without the background hiss that comes with many built in microphones. Second, it has a very good stabilization system that will hopefully improve action shots. Third, is that it is still fairly cost effective, though it is more expensive than the other two cameras (Sony HDR-CX220) currently in the kit.

These guys, directed by human volunteers, will bring you AFO 2014.

Directed by human volunteers, these will bring you AFO 2014.

So, with wirecast loaded and the new camera in hand, it’s time to do some testing. I have always strived to run these streams on a very small budget. As such, the other cameras are the lowest entry level models and don’t include anything beyond the basic point and shoot video features. Not only am I looking forward to learning some of the advanced features of this camera, but I really think that it will improve the quality and capability of the AFO 2014 live stream, which is part of the overall vision.

Anyone subscribed to my ustream channel may see the stream go on and off. Feel free to tune in and let me know how it looks. Perhaps later I’ll do an official test broadcast.

Also, thank you to everyone who has donated to help make this possible. Funds were directly applied towards this camera. Of course, there’s still time to donate to the AFO stream, or to tell your friends that this is worthy cause. All help is extremely appreciated. Sharing our sport and spreading the jam are truly a community effort.

Stay tuned for more updates. I’ll talk about my budget, progress on testing, any marketing efforts that are underway, and more! Also, would anyone out there like a writeup on my live stream setup? Maybe it could help others build their own. Or is there anything else that you want to hear about? Let me know in the comments.

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4 Comments

  1. How are you able to live stream with the HDR-PJ540? I just bought one and was told by Sony support that live streaming is not possible with this camera. I appreciate any insight you can provide. Thanks!

    • I use 3 blackmagic intensity capture devices: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/intensity, for 3 Sony cameras. They grab the HDMI out from the cameras and put it into my computer uncompressed via thunderbolt or USB3. I stream at 720p. One of the features I like about Sony vs all other cameras I have tried is that I can set the output resolution on the HDMI to 720p so my computer does not have to downconvert it before streaming it.

  2. I have the Sony HDR-PJ540, and I am extremely new to live streaming. First, thank you for letting me know Sony says it cant be done with this camera, and for finding a way to do it. would it be possible for you to give me a list of devices, cables, etc. that I would need to live stream with this camera. thanks

    • I use a short micro HDMI to HDMI cable. This came with the camera. If I want to go longer I add an unpowered HDMI amplifier / coupler and then use a long (up to 50 ft) HDMI cable. I tried longer cables and never got a reliable signal.

      The end of the HDMI cable plugs into one of these: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/intensity

      Out from there is a thunderbolt cable to a Macbook Pro.

      In the Macbook I use Wirecast for broadcasting. There’s a great software called Black Syphon. I use this to test the video signal. There’s also OBS, a free broadcasting software. I have used it, and it’s nice for free software but I really love Wirecast.

      Here’s another tip. The Blackmagic Intensity will not autodetect the HDMI signal resolution. So, set the camera to exactly what you want. I use 720p. Now, you have to figure out the frame rate. A camera for the USA (like mine) will send 59.95fps. European cameras usually send 50fps. So in your capture software you have match…so i set Wirecast to capture at 720p@59.95. This is where black syphon helps. You can quick cycle through every possible option until you find a match. Then close it and setup wirecast.

      Last tip. Even though thunderbolt is supposed to be plug and play, I find the I have to power on with the devices plugged in or they may not work. If they get unplugged (or crash for some reason) I will reboot to get things working again.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

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