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We are looking at broadcasting a live 'roundtable discussion' between 4 or 5 people. We are after either a service which would allow us to stream from all of these 4 people into a single channel. Note that none of the participants would be in the same geographical location.

In a perfect world, it would work like streaming a Google+ Hangout to however many thousand people we have watching the overall stream.

The video needs to be private, so we cannot use something like Hangouts on Air because this will be listed publicly. We don't need encryption or anything like that, just it cannot be publicly advertised somewhere.

It would also be very good to simply get an RTMP stream from a Wowza/FMS server so that we can play it back through a player such as JW Player or FlowPlayer.

Any suggestions or ideas?

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For a software agnostic thought experiment, imagine you have N people, you get N+1 computers where the +1 is set up to monitor the other N. You set up a conferenced video discussion and the +1 computer is set up with no camera and with all incoming N video feeds tiled across the screen and configured to do a screencast. That computer would need pretty good bandwidth for simultaneous live streaming AND monitoring. –  horatio Oct 5 '12 at 19:02
    
This is true, but when testing a Skype call broadcasting to Ustream, we found no problems so we're more concerned with the broadcasting rather than potential bandwidth limitations. Good thought though! –  Marc Fowler Oct 8 '12 at 14:48
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2 Answers 2

Hangouts On Air will allow you to stream your G+ Hangouts to Youtube. This should allow you to reach as large an audience as you wish.

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We need to keep it private and stream it through our own video player. Playing it back is no problem because we can just listen to the RTMP stream and play that back, but the issue is with recording. HoA are always public and I cannot imagine that they can be played back live through YouTube's APIs can they? –  Marc Fowler Oct 8 '12 at 14:47
    
You should add those qualifications to your initial question. –  ObscureRobot Oct 8 '12 at 16:34
    
Have done now. Any further ideas? –  Marc Fowler Oct 9 '12 at 17:12
    
I don't have any further suggestions. –  ObscureRobot Oct 10 '12 at 12:46
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What you're asking for is pretty common in TV circles (think CNN interviews with 3x people in different places, arguing with themselves and a host) - they use satellites and lots of expensive gear...

How tech savvy are the people on the other end? If you have staff who can assist, set up Wirecast on each computer and have each remote computer hooked up to a camera (for best quality, get a camera with HDMI output and a Blackmagic Intensity card) and just publish a simple RTMP stream from their computer directly.

Then, on your end, get a 4x computers to receive a stream each (or a computer with 4x monitor outputs), plug each computer into another computer, running Wirecast, with Blackmagic Decklink Quad card (with DVI/HDMI to SDI adaptors) and use Wirecast to receive each stream and live mix the streams as appropriate (like a sports broadcast for example) inside a single 720p or whatever frame.

You can then publish the single feed from Wirecast to any number of services (Livesteream for example) that won't list your video publicly, then set up a 2nd RTMP stream on a more robust connection, just for those in the chat can hear & see the other people they're talking with (using a 3rd party like Livestream adds a fair bit of latency, will make for a shitty conversation).

Does that make sense? I can draw a diagram if you need me to, hah.

This really depends on your budget and level of tech knowledge at each remote site. You could use Skype at full screen, instead of Wirecast, but it won't be as good quality (but fuckloads easier if you have nobody on the other end - just tell the people participating in the chat to load Skype, that's it, you do the rest)

An even easier option is just to make a Skype conference call, make it full screen, output it to two mirrored monitors - one for you to watch locally, one for output to second computer running Wirecast. Then just set up the Wirecast computer to broadcast to a stream location of your choice for everyone to view.

This is a bit long winded, so if you have any points you need clarified, ask :)

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