A few weeks back, just a few days before the GCCR Conference started, Felix rang up and asked if we could Video Stream the event LIVE on the website! I was quite skeptical and said it would be better to just record it and upload the recording a few weeks later. However, I was curious and since this was something I never attempted before I thought why not research a bit and give it a go. Also, it was a long time since I did something challenging. :)

Two issues popped up immediately.

The first was to find a low-cost or better still free video streaming service. After going through a lot of sites, I came across Stickam.com. It’s got a lot of good reviews and no evident limitations for a free service. And better still, an easy process to start streaming. The tests I ran with my webcam looked good. A few days later I was also put in touch with Chito who had access to a premium LiveStream account used by the Fillipino community. This was a more advanced video streaming service and the video quality was much better. One benefit was that Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder could be used to stream the video directly. Yippee!

But the next issue, and probably the biggest challenge was to get an external video feed into the laptop. Although using the built-in webcam or an external usb cam would be easy, the best quality video would be a direct feed from the professional video & audio mixing equipment. Now most professional cameras will have either a RCA or HDMI output. And for web streaming, I didn’t see the need for HDMI so I stuck to RCA. This would mean investing in a RCA to USB video card. I figured this would set me back about KWD 60 to 80 cause a few years ago, that’s what they cost. But finding this adapter at the last minute was harder than expected since none of the large retailers had it in stock. So I headed down to good old Ibn Khaldoun Street in Hawally and after darting in and out of a dozen or more IT shops, I found one selling an EasyCAP RCA to USB adapter. And best of all… for about KWD 7.5/-. If you need to pick up one, the shop next to Blink stocks them.

The EasyCAP adapter is a very simple device and the software driver installation is straight forward. However, after an over night of fiddling around I couldn’t get the audio to capture through that card unless I used their recording / playback software. This meant that it simply would not work with any other web streaming software. :( So what next? The standard mic port on the laptop seemed like a good choice for audio. I picked up one of those audio adapter cables which have a single jack at one end (for the laptop) and two ports at the other for input from the mixer and all the hardware was now in place.

To stream video on the net, all I had to do was select the EasyCap driver as the video source, my standard mic port as the audio source and the whole world could watch the event live!