I ran the stream for the Mark Leon Invitational this past Wednesday and Thursday. I was wondering what I could improve on, as I will be streaming another event in august.
Currently I am planning to fix:
The angle. I had only one logitech c920 at the event. I’ll get another c920 as well as a tripod and some usb extenders to make the protected scoring zone more visible, as well as get the camera closer to the field.
The audio. Next time I’ll line in the emmcee and field control audio to the stream. I couldn’t find an aux cord in time at the event.
The overlay chroma key. I turned down the similarity for it, but one of the side effects of that was that there were green edges to some of the in match scoring display objects. I’ll just fiddle with this when I can.
There are probably a bunch more issues that I’m not aware of, so please let me know if I’m missing something
As you may have noticed, we tweaked the in-match screen for Worlds to get rid of the giant gray rectangle with the match name. It’s now smaller and pushed towards the top of the screen so that it doesn’t block nearly as much of the live video.
The space in the middle was primarily allocated for showing the division name in multi-division situations:
In a single-division tournament, the thought was rather than leave that space blank to put the event name there, which was a last-minute change before TM was released this year.
It obviously needs some tweaking on the TM side (it should only cut off the right side, for example). Maybe we even just get rid of it since EPs do like to set ridiculously long names most of the time. But that’s a whole different topic.
In the course of making a stream/audience display look better, it would have been good for someone to notice that it was getting chopped off and edit it to something shorter. You can edit the Event Name field in TM after setting up the event - it defaults to the event name used on RobotEvents.com, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
I realize this is a setting that you as the webcaster probably didn’t have control of, but if you see something like that again I would encourage you to ask the EP to see if it can be changed in order to make things look better.
Other than that it looked pretty good. I saw on some clips you had trouble with the chroma key taking out the color for the green towers/cubes (which we knew would be an issue unfortunately). Other than using the OBS plugin or trying a different chroma key color there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that really.
Good question. We strive to have any change like that take effect immediately, but sometimes there’s caching that prevents it (the whole way that data gets cached in various places in TM really needs some work). You know what they say about it:
There are 2 hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-1 errors.
I already logged an issue to better handle event names on that screen; I’ll add a note to check that it gets updated when you change the event name.
Do you remember which screen is still showing an old team name after you edit it? It’s not supposed to require a Pi restart, obviously…
I dont know if this problem is fixable but with the stream the only option is 1080p, which means that the laptop or phone that I was switching back and forth were buffering for 20-30% of the time. I also found a shared problem with other users where the stream would go down for 5-10 seconds every 5-10 minutes. If possible, could you provide the options to change resolutions or have the quality be lowered to 720p?
The camera location wasnt the best, and I think that could be solved by changing the location of the camera. I dont really know if changing the angle to be facing down more would make that much of a difference when the towers in the corners are 1-2 feet from the drivers.
Timee, it seems like much of the stream was waiting for a match compared to watching the matches. I am assuming this is because there was only 1 field provided with the addition that it is a massive pain to set everything up. I bet this can be solved with more fields (which would also require more cameras). If the time gap will always be a problem you can fill it in with some minecraft or mario kart play via a local wii or laptop
Other than these things with the addition of sound not being the best, the stream was very good and I liked it.
On the advice of the RECF to have descriptive event names for robotevents.com “Event location, division, qualifier/championship/scrimmage” so teams can parse event titles easily. Otherwise, I would go of “BestOf3” and have all the teams sign up
we had two fields, but a lot of referee discussion… I’ll look into different quality settings for the stream. I wanted to take full advantage of the webcams I had (1080p 30fps). The stream going down ever couple of minutes was a problem with the wifi at the venue. I’ll have two seperate cameras for two fields, so the angle should be better.
E: maybe for more popular events which people want to watch live I’ll run it at 720p. If people are going to be watching replays or individual matches after the fact then the buffering isnt as bad.
I strongly recommend a different approach. Active (powered) USB extenders are janky at best, with no accepted standard. Passive USB extenders don’t allow you to get very far.
My personal favorite approach currently is to use GoPro’s (specifically the GoPro HERO 3 Black Edition) as field cameras. Their wide FOV allows them to be placed quite close to the field, minimizing people walking in front of the camera and blocking the view of the field. The main downside to this approach is the requirement for an HDMI capture solution.
My exact setup (for 2 fields):
2x GoPro HERO 3 Black Edition
2x GoPro HERO 3/3+/4 frame/skeleton housing
2x GoPro HERO tripod mount adapter
2x 9-foot light stands
2x 20-foot Mini-USB (male) to USB (male) cable
Either 2x random USB power supplies or 2x USB data blockers (for powering from a laptop, RPi, etc.)
2x 15-foot Micro-HDMI (male) to HDMI (male) cable
2x HDBaseT extender pairs
2x random HDMI (male-to-male) cables
1x Magewell Pro Capture Quad HDMI
Recommendations to reduce cost:
Buy the GoPro’s used
Re-use USB power supplies you have lying around
Buy the HDBaseT extender pairs used
Buy bulk Cat6 or Cat6A cabling and crimp the ends yourself (but only if you are going to use the cabling for more than just HDBaseT; otherwise it is a waste of money)
For shorter runs, substitute the HDBaseT setup with 25-foot passive HDMI extension cables
For the capture card, just get any USB-based Elgato Game Capture used and a cheap HDMI switch to switch between the fields
Expect about 5 seconds of blackness when switching between fields (due to HDCP handshake). Plan to display Tournament Manager fullscreen (saved match results, rankings, etc.) when switching between fields.
Also, if you do choose to use HDBaseT, I would recommend getting a kit that supports bi-directional power-over-cable (PoC) (some manufacturers call it PoH — power-over-HDBaseT). This will allow you to power the transmitter (near the camera) with a single power supply at the receiver (near the computer), which is helpful in most tournament layouts.
Feel free to PM me if you have any specific further questions about my setup or want any other recommendations.