Jan Ozer of Streaming Media Producer demonstrates, in this video tutorial sponsored by Videoguys.com, how even the most non-technical user can pull off a live-switched stream with the Epiphan Pearl streaming appliance.
Epiphan Pearl is an easy-to-use and affordable streaming appliance that can input, mix, capture, and stream up to four HD sources. In the latest release, Epiphan added the simple ability to switch video sources live, making Pearl ideal for non-technical users who still need to produce sophisticated events.
The Pearl is about the size of a college textbook.
The touchscreen on the front allows you to control the unit, and provides a confidence monitor. You can listen to the program you’re streaming via the headphone jack you see to the right of the touchscreen.
I/O is on the back. The Pearl offers two HD-SDI and HDMI inputs for video, and two VGA connectors for computer input, and you can capture from any four during a production.
The Pearl also features 1/4” left and right audio inputs, USB inputs for drives and other accessories, and two display port outputs that aren’t live yet, but will enable big screen preview after a future firmware release.
In the middle of the rear panel you can see the Ethernet port for connectivity.
Configuring the Epiphan Pearl
You configure Pearl via its web interface.
There are two key concepts to understand: channels and layouts.
A channel includes single or multiple sources with specific input configurations and targets for streaming and recording. You could set up a channel for monthly all-hands meetings from the home office, and another for weekly sales meetings from the field.
Once Pearl is configured, non-technical users can run the event from the touchscreen, controlling recording and selecting which layout is viewed in the live stream.
Within each channel you can have multiple layouts, which can consist of any single input or mix of inputs plus other elements. The Pearl presentation shown in Figure 3 has five layouts.
First is camera 1. Next is camera 2. Third is the PowerPoint input, which shows the VGA coming in from a computer. Fourth is webinar view, which mixes the camera and VGA input, with a blue background. Fifth is the pre-show slide, which I display before switching over to my live inputs.
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You use the simple resizing and cropping controls shown in Figure 6 (below) to create picture-in-picture layouts like the webinar view shown above.
I’ve configured all layouts to use the same audio source, which is the lavaliere input on camera A.
Choosing Streaming and Encoding Options
For each channel, you can specify streaming options. I’m streaming to Ustream, using encoding options chosen in the Encoding shown.
Recording Your Program
You can also record the program feed that you’re streaming to the internet, with options set in the Recording screen (Figure 9, below).
Note that Pearl has 1 TB of on-board storage, so you’ll have plenty of room for recordings. Live streaming starts as soon as you choose the channel and input your server credentials. That’s why you need the pre-show slide.
You control recording via the Start and Stop controls, or using the recording control on the touchscreen itself.
Once you’re live, you can switch layouts using the web interface, or using the touchscreen control on the front panel.
Or via the touchscreen control on the front panel.
That’s a quick look at the Epiphan Pearl. You get four simultaneous HD streams at 30fps, recording and live-switching with an interface that even the most non-technical user can operate.
The Epiphan Pearl is available now at Videoguys.com
. If you have any questions about this tutorial or would like to learn more about how the Pearl fits into your production give our knowledgeable sales people a call at 800-323-2325.