This video demonstrates a multiple camera YouTube live stream that I setup at CCTV Camera Pros using inexpensive HD security cameras. Many broadcasters have the need to produce live stream video on YouTube and Facebook but there are not many affordable multiple camera solutions available that are documented. This is why I started experimenting with using video surveillance equipment to broadcast.
The above video is the archive of a product demonstration YouTube live event that I broadcast on Dec. 4, 2019. YouTube gives users the option to record and archive livestream events to their channel.
These were the goals of the live stream.
- Demonstrate using inexpensive HD security cameras and a surveillance DVR to stream multiple cameras on YouTube Live.
- Test Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and an external BlackMagic Design Ultra Mini Recorder on my Macbook.
- Simulate a live product demonstration. I want to start broadcasting real events like this in the future and I also think that product demos are very useful for many other companies to do. Besides the tremendous audiences on YouTube Live and Facebook Live, Amazon recently announced that they will start allowing Amazon merchants to live stream video. I assume this will use their Twitch.tv platform which is already integrated into OBS software.
Multiple Camera YouTube Live Setup
Here is the setup that I used to create the above video stream on YouTube live. The purpose of the demo was to show customers how-to use inexpensive HD CCTV cameras and a surveillance DVR as a solution to perform a livestream event with multiple cameras. I simulated a product demonstration for this event.
Here is a list of the equipment that was used. Please note that all of the security cameras used are HD-over-Coax security cameras that use RG59 cable and BNC connectors to connect to the DVR. I am not using any network IP cameras for this project. All of the cameras that I used are 1080p / 2 megapixel resolution.
- iDVR-PRO hybrid CCTV / HD over Coax security camera DVR. The DVR is used to combine the video signals from the 4 security cameras. The USB mouse that is included allows me to easily change from a multiple camera grid view to a single camera view of any of the cameras.
- BIPRO-9004 Security Camera – This is the camera mounted to the ceiling that was recording the front of me when I faced the audience.
- HD-Q3 Turret Dome Camera – This is the camera mounted in the corner of the room that was recording me facing the LCD TV on the wall.
- HD-Q7 1080p Security Camera – This is the security camera that I mounted to a standard camera tri-pod to record a close-up of the product demonstration table.
- AHD-AD24H IP68 Weatherproof Vandal Proof Dome Camera – This is the dome camera that is mounted outside the front entrance of CCTV Camera Pros office.
- BPRO-OL952 Bullet Surveillance Camera – This is the small bullet camera that I had on the demo table and attached to the camera tri-pod during the livestream.
- BlackMagic Design Ultra Mini Recorder – HDMI to Thunderbolt 2. The HDMI output on the iDVR-PRO DVR connects to the HDMI input on the BlackMagic capture box.
- Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Adapter – The Macbook Pro that was used in this demo only has Thunderbolt 3 inputs. So, this adapter was needed to connect the Thunderbolt 2 output of the Blackmagic box to the Mac.
- Shure Condenser Mic – The Blue Designs Snowball microphone in the above image is not the mic that I ended up using for the live stream. I used a Shure condenser mic connected to a Shure XLR-to-USB adapter.
- Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) – This is the open source video broadcasting software that I used on my Macbook.
Open Broadcaster Software on Mac
This was the first YouTube Live stream that I made using Open Broadcaster Software on Mac. There were two issues that I ran into with running OBS on Mac.
- I could not get the OBS software to recognize an USB microphone. Even though the Mic worked fine with Garage Band, I could not get it to work in OBS. I found a solution online which is to start the OBS software from a Terminal window instead double-clicking on the app icon in the Mac Finder. This is the command that I ran from a terminal window./Applications/OBS.app/Contents/MacOS/OBS
- The other problem I ran into was anytime I restarted the OBS software, the microphone would stop working. To fix this, I had to re-add the microphone as an Audio Source into my OBS scenes any time that I restarted the software.
Once I figured out these two problems, everything else worked perfect on my Mac.
Using Security Cameras with Tripods
Here is a picture of the camera that I used to capture my product demonstration table.
I used this iPhone tripod mount / holder to attach the security camera to the tripod. The claw works perfect to grasp onto the base of the camera.
This is the bullet security camera that I attached directly to a standard camera tripod. This small tripod is very handy to use for product demonstrations because it is easy to move around.
More Lessons Learned & Notes
Here are some other things that I learned when setting up this live stream and some additional notes.
- The HDMI output on iDVR-PRO DVRs output 1080p video resolution at 60Hz. The BlackMagic Design Ultra Mini recorder only supports 1080p at 30Hz. So, I had to convert 1080p 60Hz to 1080p 30Hz by using an HDMI to AHD converter and an AHD (BNC) to HDMI converter. This was a bit of a hardware hack but it served it’s purpose and worked well. The higher end BlackMagic boxes and internal capture cards support 1080p 60Hz and even higher resolutions. For example, the high performance streaming PC that we custom build for customers at CCTV Camera Pros uses a Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro 4K card that supports up to 4K resolution.
- Instead of using a surveillance DVR as the hub that combines the video signal from multiple cameras, users can also use a CCTV video multiplexer. We have tested multiple camera streams using these multiplexers. They are cheaper than DVRs because they do not record. Please watch the below video to see a demo stream.
Multiple Camera YouTube Livestream with CCTV Multiplexer
Here is a YouTube live stream that I created a while back using a HD CCTV multiplexer instead of a DVR to combine the video signals from the multiple cameras. I used this desktop streaming PCs with an internal BlackMagic card instead of my Macbook when I captured this video.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about live video streaming that I receive from customers at CCTV Camera Pros.
- What is the advantage of using a platform such as YouTube Live to stream?
Streaming platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Twitch (Amazon) can scale to an unlimited number of viewers.
- Can I just use an IP camera and embed the stream on my website?
Not really. If you were to embed a video stream from an IP camera on your home network and you started receiving a large volume of requests, your home network and IP camera could not handle the volume. Besides, it is not as simple as you might expect to embed streaming video directly from an IP cameras onto a web page.
- How fast should my Internet connection be?
The faster the better. Your upload speed is what is important in this case because you will be sending your video stream to YouTube or Facebook. Ideally your upload speed should be at least 5 Mbps is you want to stream 1080p video.
- Why would I use security cameras instead of a standard video camera?
The HD security cameras used in these systems are very inexpensive and multiplexers make it extremely easy to stream up to 16 cameras. One of my main goals for testing these types of systems was to create an affordable solution for multi-camera streaming. All of the equipment that I came across to combine video signals from multiple camcorders / standard video cameras were very expensive. Last, there are plenty of outdoor weatherproof security cameras available.
- What is the advantage of using a platform such as YouTube Live to stream?
If you have additional questions about using security cameras to live stream on YouTube and Facebook, you can contact me via email here.