Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the livestreaming industry has been experiencing an unprecedented boom. However, the industry was already growing before the pandemic.
Today, businesses, organizations and individuals worldwide livestream to engage their customers and business partners. Frequently, productions choose to use PTZ (Pan/Title/Zoom) cameras for livestreaming. While a PTZ camera is a solid choice, there are some undeniable benefits to using a livestreaming-capable cinema camera, like the RED KOMODO. While the RED KOMODO is a cinema camera often used for film or pre-recorded studio productions, its feature set makes it well-suited for professional livestreaming environments.
In this white paper, we will discuss how the KOMODO can fit into your livestream productions. We will also discuss topics such as planning your livestream with the KOMODO and how the camera lends itself to remote, multi-cam productions and everything you need to consider to livestream.
Let’s dive in.
The who, what and why
To first determine whether or not the KOMODO is a good option for you and your production, you first need to look at the who, what and why of your production: Who is livestreaming, what are they livestreaming and why are they streaming.
Who is livestreaming?
Livestreaming has become an important avenue for small creators and influencers to reach their audience and stream content. But that’s not to say it isn’t impacting business and larger productions. Livestreaming today extends the reach of a diverse array of organizations. Houses of worship livestream to spread their messages to a wider congregation outside of their immediate geographical area. Large education establishments, such as universities, livestream to teach students no matter where they’re located in the world. Even city governments are increasingly livestreaming their meetings and committees.
When it comes down to it, almost everyone with a camera today can livestream. However, that doesn’t mean everyone needs a full studio of equipment. A gaming content creator on Twitch will have different gear needs than a house of worship livestreaming a sermon. For some, the KOMODO is a clear choice; for others, it’s not as clear.
What is being livestreamed?
The second consideration is what is the content of your livestreaming. Consider the subject and nature of your stream, as it will determine the type of gear you will need to achieve your plan. Do you need a camera that can handle low-light environments? Will you be streaming in a small location or a full-fledged production studio? Do you need a multi-camera setup to switch between multiple speakers on the fly? Your gear needs will vary depending on what you want to stream and how you want to present it to your audience.
Why are you streaming?
Last, consider why you and your production are streaming. What is the end goal? This ties in with what you’re going to stream, but also includes what you hope to achieve by livestreaming. If you’re hoping to record a high-production, multi-cam production with multiple speakers, then that would lean towards using a camera like the KOMODO.
The RED KOMODO’s top five features
The RED KOMODO is one of the most affordable cinema cameras on the market, and it comes with great features that instantly boost livestream production quality. Let’s discuss what specifically the KOMODO offers to livestream productions.
Global shutters, when compared to rolling shutters, are often hailed as the superior option. While rolling shutters do offer speed, they come at the cost of distortion during panning or when recording fast-moving subjects. Global shutters avoid that by reading the whole sensor at one time. Sometimes its necessary to move your camera during a stream; the KOMODO’s global shutter makes sure that the stream won’t become distorted during the adjustments. Plus, it prevents any horizontal banding issues caused by flashing lights, making it great for live music and event venues.
REDCODE RAW is a leading industry standard RAW recording format. It’s 16-bit and has efficient compression to maintain image quality while effectively reducing your file sizes. In addition to streaming live, you can simultaneously capture the event in REDCODE RAW to produce a theatrical quality version of the event or a highlight reel for sharing later. You can opt between three compression settings: HQ (the highest data rate), MQ (the mid data rate and the default) and LQ (the lowest data rate). Depending on your project’s needs, you can opt for HQ for the highest data rate if you are recording an event under 30 minutes. If your event is going lover, you can opt for MQ or LQ that longer.
When the 6K sensor is downsampled to 4K over SDI and sent to the mixer, it produces a detailed 4K image that allows for digital zooming and panning, giving flexibility to adjust the framing remotely during a live production. Getting both a wide and a tight shot simultaneously from one camera.
The higher resolution also gives you more scope for stabilizing your recorded footage in post-production. Also, you can use post zooms to reframe your shots without losing quality when delivering in 4K or HD.
RF lens mount
The KOMODO’s RF lens mount gives you great flexibility. It supports a wide line of lenses and can be easily adapted for use with EF and PL lenses, increasing your lens options. In addition, the shallow flange depth of the RF mount means that you can adapt most other lens mounts to work with the KOMODO. There are also lens adaptors that give you extra features, such as in-body variable ND filters.
16 stops of dynamic range
While dynamic range can help improve the quality of your livestream’s image, it can also help in undesirable dark or light areas. The KOMODO and its 16 stops of dynamic range make it ideal for filming in environments where lighting levels can vary dramatically. Say you’re shooting with a PTZ camera on a set with a dark background. Since PTZs have a more limited dynamic range, they may struggle to expose simultaneously for both foreground and background, resulting in either a dark foreground subject, or over exposed and clipped background elements like screens or lit stage design.
How to integrate KOMODO into a livestreaming environment
The RED Control App
Remote operation is an essential component for every livestreaming setup. After all, getting up to adjust your camera will wreck the flow of your stream. PTZ cameras often allow users to control their positioning and settings remotely. The director can watch all camera video streams WIRELESSLY on their iPad Pro and give direction to the video controller(s). The KOMODO offers this as well via the free RED Control App. It allows you to operate your KOMODO and change any setting without needing to be near the camera. This is a key offering that many cameras and webcams lack. You can even use it to remote Focus Control of EF Lenses.
The RED Control app lets control one camera at a time, which would suit most RED users. However, RED’s planning to release a paid RED Control Pro App for productions using multiple REDs. The paid app will allow you to control multiple RED Cameras from a single device. The Pro App will also allow you to link features.
With KOMODO LINK connect multiple cameras and a laptop via an ethernet switch. This gives ability switch between those streams using something like OBS or ManyCam as well as control every feature of the camera, individually or ganged, via RED CONTROL PRO.
This is a relatively inexpensive way of doing things and is a unique advantage of the KOMODO. This method is vastly different than what people traditionally think of when they think of a switched live stream program.
Choose your streaming platform
There are a few factors that you need to consider when choosing where you want to stream. There are a ton of livestreaming platforms out there; thankfully, many of them are quite flexible with their requirements. As long as you have a computer, mobile phone or a console capable of encoding live video and audio for broadcast, a camera and some type of mic, you can livestream.
When choosing where you want to stream, every platform has its own benefits. Let’s run through what those are.
As the leading livestream platform, Twitch offers the most advanced monetization and user interface than any other platform. Twitch offers a max bitrate of 6,000 kbps, which is way more than enough for most streamers. Twitch also supports 4K streaming but requires an upload speed of 8 to 9 Mbps. It’s most common for Twitch streamers to settle with Full HD.
Though YouTube’s livestreaming space isn’t as developed as Twitch, YouTube has made major improvements to its livestream tools and continues to add on. YouTube requires you to have a verified account to livestream, though that just takes 24 hours. However, you need at least 1,000 subscribers to livestream on mobile. YouTube supports a maximum bitrate of 51,000 kbps, which allows users to stream in 4k 60 frames per second stream.
Facebook Live is another player to consider. Facebook requires users to have a key frame size that does not exceed 4 seconds. Additionally, it recommends users go above a bitrate of 15 Mbps. However, Facebook caps its streaming resolution at Full HD.
All Vimeo livestreams are automatically archived in 4K. This means you can make your events available to your audience even after the stream ends. You can also overlay lower thirds, logos, and full-screen graphics during your livestream. However, you can only livestream on Vimeo with a paid-for Premium or Enterprise account.
3rd-party streaming apps
If you have multiple audiences you would like to stream to simultaneously, you can do so by using 3rd-party apps. Restream.io is a popular option for this; you can use it to send your streams to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook simultaneously.
Wireless single-camera livestream
For livestreams outside the studio, wireless support is a must. The KOMODO fits perfectly into wireless livestream setups because it has Wi-Fi built-in. In fact, it has two Wi-Fi modes: Ad-Hoc mode and Infrastructure mode. Ad-Hoc mode connects the camera to your smartphone via the RED Control App. With Infrastructure mode, the KOMODO connects to a network that already exists. So, if you want to access the camera through a network using a smart device or a computer, you can.
Between the two modes, it’s best to use Infrastructure mode whenever possible simply because it helps ensure a stronger connection. Though, Ad-Hoc mode is a good option when you don’t have access to an already existing network.
Audio is just as important as your stream’s image quality, and the RED KOMODO delivers on that front as well. Its integrated dual-channel digital mono microphones deliver uncompressed 24-bit 48 kHz recordings. For the highest-quality audio, you can connect a field mixer to the KOMODO and run several microphones.
The KOMODO doesn’t work natively with XLR devices or provide phantom power. However, several third-party devices, such as the Beachtech DXA RED, add XLR functionality.
How to set up KOMODO for a remote director
Whether a production is streaming in a huge conference room or during a religious service in a House of Worship, the director can’t always be near the camera. Sometimes, the director simply can’t be there, like in multi-camera productions. The KOMODO’s remote control capabilities are ideal in all these situations; here’s how you would set it up in a remote setup.
Full control via IP address
Start by using the KOMODO’s Infrastructure mode. This allows you to access one or more KOMODOS remotely using their IP addresses and give your remote director full access to the user interface for every camera’s settings. This includes exposure, ISO and white balance. The director can also connect to the camera using their smartphone, allowing them to monitor the video output live.
How to use KOMODO for multi-cam production
Industry-wide, it’s best practice to monitor through SDI. This is because it can be used with much longer cables than HDMI and is notably less expensive than HDMI. The KOMODO uses SDI for video output and supports these settings:
- 12G-SDI: Up to 4096 x 2160 4:2:2 for 60p
- 6G-SDI: Up to 4096 x 2160 4:2:2 for 30p
- 3G-SDI: Up to 2048 x 1080 4:2:2 for 60p
- 1.5G-SDI: Up to 2048 x 1080 4:2:2 for 30p, 24p
When working with a multi-camera livestream, you will need a switcher to seamlessly swap between the output from the different cameras. Switchers are available as both software and hardware options. These are some of the most popular options:
- Streamlabs OBS
- XSplit Broadcaster
- Blackmagic Design ATEM SDI
- NewTek Tricaster
- Wirecast Gear
Several digital audio workstations (DAWS) have software audio mixers. Adobe Audition is available as a standalone program or with Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription. Reaper is also a paid-for option; however, it uses a one-time payment buying option instead of a subscription option.
WavePad and MixPad are other options and have similar recording features. However, WavePad is better suited for converting media files from one format to another, whereas MixPad is more convenient for editing media in batches. Finally, Audacity is a fully featured DAW that is open-source and free.
There are also many hardware switchers you can choose to use for your livestream. Here are some of the best options for switcher hardware:
- Focusrite Scarlett
- Tascam MixCast
- Universal Audio Apollo
- Apogee Symphony
- Stream deck
At conferences and large live events, you can sometimes use the audio feed from the premises’ audio mixing desk. However, you will often need to supply microphones to record the sound for your livestream. Lavalier microphones are great if the speakers are moving around and you want to hide the microphone in the shot.
If you’re livestreaming an interview or in a studio environment, consider shotgun microphones. They capture superior sound compared to lavalier mics, as they only pick up sounds near them. However, they do need to be within a few feet of the speaker.
Wireless microphones are also an option. They’re easy to set up and manage since there’s no wire management. Though, they do need batteries and can be affected by emissions from other electronics.
Last but not least, you need an encoder. Encoders take you video signal and convert it into a format that can be uploaded to streaming platforms. They can either be software-based, like Streamlabs OBS, or be hardware-based, like the Blackmagic Design ATEM SDI, NewTek Tricaster and Wirecast Gear. Be aware that software-based switchers can introduce delay into the video signal, creating desync between the video and audio.
Taking livestreaming to the next level
The RED KOMODO is one of the best cinema cameras you can get on the market today. Its feature set makes it a top-tier camera in film production; however, its feature set also lends itself to livestreaming. Its image quality dramatically increases your stream’s production value, and its remote capabilities make multi-camera productions at live venues manageable. To learn more about the RED KOMODO, talk to the helpful people at Videoguys.com.