A Stream of One's Own

A Stream of One's Own

Title stolen ruthlessly from Jim Groom. In my last post about Reclaim Video I talked about how a future goal was to setup a live stream camera to serve as remote viewing of movies played in the space given we now have the ability to control most of the room remotely. We had a Nest Camera in there but while the video quality is great on them, the audio is downright awful. Instead I had other reasons to setup a computer in there so we moved the iMac in our office into Reclaim Video and set it up with OBS which I had been playing with anyway for Reclaim Today episodes and then put our webcam on a tripod right in front of the TV. If you were in the room here's how that setup would look:

And the livestream itself has the carpet as a background image with a cropped view of the TV right in the center like this:

I had been streaming to YouTube but as you can probably imagine, that did not end well given our use case here.

Stream disabled due to policy violations

I think we have a pretty decent argument for fair use, but even more so the quality we're going for is about as laughable as it gets, a VHS tape we own converted to digital and then played on an old Emerson television and streamed from a budget webcam. But YouTube hit us with a few copyright notifications and as of this writing we have lost our permission to stream for 90 days, so whatever, time to find another platform.

I had considered a few and given my experience with Wowza back at UMW thought I might jump back in that pool, but as luck would have it the great Tom Woodward blogged about a new (to me anyway) software called Ant Media Server. Completely open source (it's a fork of Red5) and it was a very straightforward setup on an Ubuntu server which I had spun up on our DigitalOcean account. Within just a few minutes I had a new RTMP stream URL that I plugged into OBS and we were back in business, now on our own system. I suppose if license holders really wanted to push us they could contact DigitalOcean and get this taken down, but I want to believe the majority of "issues" we had at YouTube were a result of the well-documented larger concerns with ContentID at YouTube and algorithms that aren't designed to understand this rather odd use case.

One final thing I added to the livestream page at http://reclaimvideo.com/live/ is an embedded widget from a Discord channel I setup which is also new to me but I had heard decent things about it for realtime chat. I haven't had a good opportunity to test this in person but I want to hope if we were able to coordinate a movie viewing party that everyone could jump in there and talk together ala Mystery Science Theater 3k (which I had done a few times back in the good ole days of DS106.TV and it was a total blast).

The experimentation and fun of that space just continues to grow over time and I love both the absurdity of it as well as the opportunity for us to really think of it as an incubator to the work and play that we do day to day. If you aren't yet, follow Reclaim Video on Twitter to know when we're playing movies in the space.