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|Production notes: brushes and encoders||May 26, 2016 11:01 PM PDT | url | discuss | + share|
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Between art live-streaming sessions today, I learned a couple things about live video streaming that I probably should have known before! First, I've been broadcasting with my video bitrate set to the maximum my streaming service, Twitch, allows to non-bigwigs, namely 3500 kbps—this yields a pretty darn sharp 1080p, 30 frames-per-second picture. But! I *have* had a few people come in and complain they were "buffering" from time to time, by which they meant that their video paused and hitched while it tried to keep up with my stream—and now I've learned that that's because Twitch also doesn't allow viewers of non-bigwig streams (such as mine : P) to scale their detail level down to view high-bitrate streams on low-bandwidth internet connections. Which seems downright silly, because you'd think it means that Twitch is serving up more data than people want or need—although now I kind of suspect that what they're doing is that instead of having one stream that can adjust its bitrate to viewers dynamically, they're taking the bigwig streams and broadcasting multiple bitrate versions of them at the same time, and switching your detail level on those streams simply switches from one version to another.
Anyway the short of it is that I could lower my stream's detail level to the commonly suggested middle-ground of a 2000 kbps bitrate, and then more people—those people on slower connections, to be exact—would be able to watch it; but that would also mean that the artwork I'm working on and trying to have people watch would be blurrier for everyone. Sheesh! That doesn't sound so great, so I think what I'm going to do is just keep doing what I'm doing, and hope our communal high-bandwidth future catches up to my other potential viewers sooner rather than later. In the meantime...sorry for the inconvenience if really fast internet hasn't reached you yet! Meanwhile, you can always go watch the finished videos in sped-up time-lapse on my YouTube channel.
The second thing I learned today about live-streaming is that I've been having my broadcasting software (the widely used free and open source Open Broadcaster Software) encode the video—which means packing the video images into a video format a receiver such as Twitch can use, I guess—without taking advantage of several highly efficient methods of doing this that my streaming laptop's particular hardware supports, so the poor thing's central processing unit has been having to put a ton of power—and thus, heat—into processing the video to go out, when it could have been offloading that task to other specialized processors on board—and its internal fan has had to keep blowing cool air on it at a fearsome rate to keep it from melting down; said blowing gets rather loud and had even begun to irritate my ear on that side. : P But! Now I can keep the CPU clocked way down, to the point where it barely gets warm at all, and the fan hardly needs to make a whisper, because other chips in the computer can handle the video streaming no sweat. Whew!