It's Time to Go with Garden

Sorry, this content it designed for desktops and tablets. Go dust off your laptop! 🙂

– Garden

Hello! 

Thanks for joining one of our Garden Collective streams. During this strange COVID-19 filled time, we think it’s important to stay connected, stay together (not literally of course) and keep supporting culture!

That’s why we are streaming poets, musicians, artists and more in order to bring people together through the beauty of performance whilst generating some actual revenue for the artists — because you can’t eat guitar strings. Or not happily, anyway.

Here is a guide to getting started in the often scary world of streaming. 

What you need.

  1. Computer with streaming software
  2. Webcam or a camera you can connect to your computer
  3. Audio Interface
  4. External mics, etc, depending on your individual show. 
  5. Internet
  6. You beautiful people.
Note: Don’t worry, we’re going to be going over these points below!

In the beginning, there was OBS.

The first thing you’re going to need is a computer and streaming software. We know that many people are using mobile phones, but since you can’t run audio interfaces into a phone, the sound quality is not as good as we’d like. 

Second, you’re going to need some software! If you don’t already have it, then we would recommend using OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) since it is FREE and very good. 

You can find it here: https://obsproject.com/

Download it on Window, Linux or Mac and follow the onscreen instructions to set it up. 
Once you have it installed, it’s time to set up your stream. 

Adding Scenes and Sources to OBS

In order to send us your stream, you’re going to need to get your CAMERA and and AUDIO INTERFACE into OBS and then out to the world. When you open OBS you will be greeted by a screen like this:

The first thing you’re going to need to do is add a “Scene.” OBS will probably prompt you to do so, but if not, you click the + button at the bottom left hand corner of the Scenes section, name the scene, and click OK.

Next, we need to add our sources. These are added to the Sources section. 
You’re going to need to add two sources:
1. Your camera (as a Video Input Capture)
2. Your audio interface / USB interface / sound card (as an Audio Input Capture)

Watch How Here:

Next, we’re going to have a look at our internet speeds as this will determine our RESOLUTION and BITRATE. 

Checking Your Internet

Checking your internet speed is easy! Just go to Speedtest.net and click GO. This will show your current upload and download speeds and will look like this:

The part that you’re going to be most interested in is the UPLOAD. Here, we can see that is 20.76Mbps. More than enough bandwidth for a livestream. 

NOTE:When streaming, close all other applications and kick your family and friends off the internet — it will help. 

Calculating Your Settings

The aim is the best possible stream that your internet can handle. What we are aiming for is a smooth stream and high fidility audio. 
In order to achive this we have to adjust our RESOLUTION, FPS and BITRATE settings according to our internet speeds and equipment. 
Resolution will be more familiar, since these are the numbers we are used to seeing: 1080p, 720p, 480, 360, etc
Bitrate is essentially how many “bits” of information are transported within a certain amount of time (in this case seconds). kilobytes per second.
FPS is frames per second and is exactly what it sounds like.

Depending on your UPLOAD speed, see which option would be best for you:

Some Preset Guidelines

1080p 30 fps (Full HD, standard framerate)
Recommended upload: 5.5–7+ mbps
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Bitrate: 3500 to 5000 kbps
Framerate: 30 fps

720p 30fps (HD, standard framerate)
— Recommended for most streamers —
Recommended upload: 4.5–6 mbps
Resolution: 1280 x 720
Bitrate: 2500 to 4000 kbps
Framerate: 30 fps

540p 30fps (SD, standard framerate)
Recommended upload: 2.5 –4.5 mbps
Resolution: 960 x 540
Bitrate: 1500 to 3500 kbps
Framerate: 30 fps

We are going to be working backwards from your internet speed in order to ensure the best stream possible. This means looking at your UPLOAD speed, seeing what the max bitrate it can handle is, then using our formual to adjust the rest of your settings.

For example, if your internet has an UPLOAD of 6mbps, you will realistically be using a bitrate of between 3500kbps and 4000kbps to allow for a smooth stream and some headroomi

The Formula

To work out the bitrate you need to stream at, we will be using this formula:
(Resolution * Frames Per Second * Bits Per Pixel)/1000 = Video Bitrate
Video Bitrate + Audio Bitrate = Total Bitrate

For example, for 720p video this would be:
(1280 * 720 * 30* 0.1) / 1000 = 2765Kbps
2765 + 128 = 2893Kbps

This means we would need 2.9Mbps upload bandwidth just to get the stream out with no headroom in case things get wild. Realistically, you need another 1 or 2 Mbps on top of this to play it safe so you would need at least 4 or 5Mbs.

So, let’s imagine that you’ve tested your internet and have come back with an UPLOAD speed of 3Mbps. 
You know you need some headroom so don’t want to be streaming with a bitrate of more than 2000 – 2500kbps MAX.

You’ve plugged in your 720p camera and your audio interface and sit down to work out your bitrate:
(1280 * 720 * 30* 0.1) / 1000 = 2765Kbps. Add the audio at 128kbs and you need… 2893Kbps

Oh, no! You don’t have enough internet! What now??

Now, we find ways to reduce how much bandwidth (that’s the Kbps and Mbps) you need to stream clean. That means reducing either the RESOLUTION or the FPS. There are other settings in the formula, but these will not change. For example, you will always run audio at 128kbps and the BPP will remain at 0.1

You realise that you aren’t going to be doing much on screen anyway, so decide to drop your RESOLUTION one step down to 540p and keep the FPS the same.

You put your new settings into the formula: 
(960*540*30*0.1)/1000 = 1555Kbps. Add the audio at 128kbps and you need… 1683kbps! Perfect! 

This means you can run at a combined BITRATE of 2000 to 2500kbps

So, now we need to add those setting into OBS…

Changing the Setting in OBS

You are looking to change the RESOLUTION, FPS and BITRATE.

Watch How Here:

The most important thing to do now is:

TEST, TEST, TEST!!!

And the way to do this is by running test streams…

Connecting Your Stream

From this point, you can connect OBS to any streaming platform you like, but for the Garden stream you will be sending your stream to our server. Don’t worry we will send you the details on how to do this (and do a sound’n’stream check) very soon! 

Thanks, we're excited to have you on board! 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the technical setup, contact:
eden@agardencollective.org
OR
i
nfo@agardencollective.org