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hairylarry

Here's the good news for a change. The software needed to set up a twitch stream is free.


I am using Streamlabs OBS as my streaming platform. Before that I used OBS. These are both free software.  I used OBS recording audio only podcasts but for my twitch stream I wanted to view the live chat as part of the stream, and not just see the chat on the twitch interface. Streamlabs OBS supports that so that's how I get my live chat on the left side of the stream.


https://streamlabs.com/


To display my tablet playing iReal Pro on the right side of my stream I use scrcpy, also free software.


https://github.com/Genymobile/scrcpy


I had to download and install a windows driver for my Zoom H6. No charge for the driver and the install was painless. I use the Zoom as an interface between my PA and my computer.


I am planning on  implementing the ability to record multitrack to make it easier to collaborate with other musicians. Pro Tools First is a free download and Pro Tools is the industry standard for sharing audio files.


https://www.avid.com/pro-tools


I use Openshot for video post production. I like it. I even use their titling templates. It makes life easy.


https://www.openshot.org/


I am using VLC to monitor my videos. Under tools I can view the codec information to make sure I'm recording everything right. VLC will also compress your video files in case they end up too large.


https://www.videolan.org/


GIMP is my photo editor. Video producers need photo editors the same as anyone else.


https://www.gimp.org/


Some of this software is open source. Some is not. But it is all free to download and install. Which is good news because twitch can be an expensive hobby.


Next week I'll discuss workflow and backups. Can't wait.

hairylarry

It's important to know the big idea for a twitch stream before talking about equipment. Different streams have different equipment needs from top to bottom.


A very common idea is the streamer playing games while they talk to their audience in a small window. This only needs one camera but it needs a really good computer or game console.


Another popular twitch topic is DIY that streams only live video. So the computer needs are less but this type of stream might benefit from multiple webcams providing multiple scenes. A scene is a single shot or several shots combined on a screen. DIY crafts streams often benefit from a top down view so that would be a scene but another scene showing the streamer talking to the audience might also be desirable.


So this is why it's important to work towards an idea when gathering equipment for your twitch stream.


Since I play piano on my stream I opted for a single scene made up of four elements, a shot of me playing, a top down shot of the piano keyboard, a window showing my tablet running iReal Pro for the chord change and backing track, and a window for the chat box.




I have a nice T420 laptop with an i7, 16 gig of ram, and an Nvidia card. I used it to test some of my ideas and it did fine streaming from the built in webcam but when I set up multiple windows with Streamlabs OBS the whole thing bogged so bad that it was unusable. I hope to use this laptop for field streaming but that is a work in progress that I will write about later exploring the idea of running a stream wherever you want using all battery operated equipment.


So, I needed a more powerful computer. I needed two webcams. My old tablet wouldn't work with scrcpy so I needed a newer tablet. And, as always with video production I needed lights. Fortunately I already have audio recording equipment. I am using my Zoom H6 for an audio interface and an Audio Technica AT4055 for my microphone. I also have tripods and mic stands but I do some carpentry DIY for stands as well.


Here's what I got.


On ebay I bought an HP Z640 Workstation, Xeon E5-2620 2.40GHz, 32GB, 1TB, NVIDIA Quadro K2200 Video, Windows 10. This cost around $325 with shipping and taxes. Since 1 TB is not enough disk storage for an extended video project I added 2 HGST 4 TB drives in a RAID 1 configuration using Win 10 Storage Spaces. These ran about $105.


To update my tablet I bought a 10.5 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T597 32GB, Wi-Fi for about $100 used in excellent condition.


I bought two Audkey webcams for about $30 each.


And for lights I got two 8.5 inch clamp on utility lamps and daylight bulbs for about $20.


Really, that's it.


Computer --- $325

Hard Drives - $105

Tablet ------- $100

Webcams ---   $60

Lights -------   $20

                   -------

Total -------- $610


So my whole setup to implement my big idea costs less than a high end graphics card required for twitch game streams. At megantopia my daughter spent more than twice this amount for her gaming computer.


I'll continue this series next week. Future topics will include bandwidth, DIY, field streaming, post production, and more. Please ask any questions in the comments.


Also, please contact me if you use twitch to play RPGs. I am very interested in this.


Here's our links.


https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia


https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland


hairylarry

It's all Megan's fault. When she set up https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia Vivian and I started watching. Before that I knew it was a popular site for live gaming but twitch flew under my radar. Once I saw what Megan was doing and I started to understand how twitch worked, and how it can be used for videos that are not about gaming, I became interested.


The problem with video production is post production. Post production is a lot of work. It takes a long time. There's always a few more tweaks that can make it a little bit better. It can wear you out.


Live streaming takes post production out of the equation. Like the evening news it happens in real time, it's as good as it is, and it's done when it's done. There's no post production and even when videos are excerpted from the stream post production is minimal.


The tradeoff for no post production is the setup. Sure, you can stream with just a laptop, phone, tablet, or game machine. But since it goes out live with no post that can be dull. The goal is a live show that's entertaining. It can be high energy or chill but it can't be boring. So you have to put a lot of thought into the desired look of your stream and then figure out the hardware and software to achieve that look.


The key element is OBS, Open Broadcaster Software.


https://obsproject.com/


I have used OBS for recording podcasts on Discord but I didn't realize it's real power until I started using it for twitch videos. OBS is free and open source. The good thing about that is that it's legal for others to build on it. For my stream I chose Streamlabs OBS because of the ease of setup and features like the onscreen chatbox and the ability to include running programs in the stream. You can do these things with OBS too and there are other options to explore but my most direct route was Streamlabs OBS.


https://streamlabs.com/


I watched several videos on Youtube about setting up streaming for DIY streams and other streams that use live video instead of gaming screens as their primary focus. This opened my eyes to what is possible and led me to dream about what I actually wanted to do and how I wanted to setup my screen to be helpful and interesting.


So here's my big idea.


The name of my stream is Hairy Larry Practicing Piano. A big part of why I wanted to do the stream is to add discipline to my piano practice. I practice every day and sometimes for several hours a day. But what I was missing in my practice was scheduled rehearsal of a specific repertoire. My twitch stream provides that.


And choosing my repertoire I decided to practice all songs that I wrote. This avoids copyright issues and it allows me to tailor the repertoire to the stream. Practicing improvisation is easiest with short changes that have one or two interest points. Baby steps.


And so once I decided what I wanted to do on my stream I began to visualize the screen. I wanted the central focus to be me, practicing. I wanted to be able to pull a microphone over to talk to the audience and sing but I also wanted to be able to push it off shot for instrumental numbers. I wanted an angle shot that would show my hands on the keys. And I wanted it to feel like a live jazz show.


There are many musicians teaching jazz piano on the internet and they almost always have a top down view of the piano keyboard across the bottom of the screen. I like that, it's helpful and visually appealing. So I decided to include that in my screen layout.


I am using iReal Pro for my backing tracks providing bass and drums. The iReal Pro screen shows the chord symbols and highlights the chord being played. I wanted to include that screen as part of my display.


Twitch uses text chat for the audience and voice chat for the performer as it's standard chat format. The performer can also type but it's easier just to talk and shout outs from the performer to viewers in the chat box are the way it's done. So I wanted to include the text chat on the screen to provide context for my shout outs and other responses to the ongoing text chat.


And I wanted to be chill. Many people use twitch as background noise while they go about their business. I wanted it to be easy for people to just let my stream play in the background, enjoying the music, without having to be fully engaged. Kind of like Bob Ross or Mr. Rogers but practicing piano instead of painting or telling stories.


So that's my big idea. In future posts I will discuss equipment, both purchased and DIY, software setup, extracting videos from the stream, bandwidth issues, and even home renovation.


In the meantime you can enjoy my stream here.


https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland

hairylarry
Tonight on Inspired Unreality our opening topic will be really old school. RPGs predating D&D. Whether you played back in the day or just have some knowledge about it we will be glad to hear your input.

Inspired Unreality open game chat is held every Monday night at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic. If you are new to Tenkar's Tavern we have an invitation for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

ZDL got a new game from Thinklab Games. It's a 16 circle peg and tower game. She posted a picture here.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/4011

We're on twitch! Well at least Megan and I are on twitch. Megan plays games with family and friends on megantopia. I practice piano on hairylarryland. Please check us out.

https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia

https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland

Do you stream on twitch? Or somewhere else? Do you host a regular chat? Or semi-regular? Let us know. My contact info is below or, better yet, post on Gamer+.

https://gamerplus.org/index

They say that word of mouth advertising is the best and that's good because it's all we can afford. Please tell a friend about Gamer+ or forward this email to your gaming friends.

Thanks,
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc - on the fediverse
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

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