To send a stream to UpStage, you need to use a streaming application on your computer or mobile phone. There are many applications you can use; the only requirement is that it can send a stream in the RTMP format (RTMP = real time messaging protocol).
This manual provides instructions for the desktop application OBS and the mobile app Larix Broadcaster:
Once you have installed the streaming application of your choice, you need to:
- create a Stream media item in UpStage, then
- configure your streaming application, and
- optimise your stream settings.
Then you’re ready to get your stream on stage!
Create a Stream media item
Creating a stream media item on UpStage generates a unique streaming key to enter into your streaming app, and allows you to assign your stream to the stage or stages where you want to use it.
NOTE: Media Management has been replaced by The Studio; navigation and screenshots here are now out of date, but The Studio has similar functionality. The manual will be updated soon.
- In the Backstage, go to the Media section and hover over the “New +” button (do not click the button).
- A dropdown menu appears with the option “RTMP Stream” – select this.
- In the media edit window that appears, give the media item a name, and enter a unique key. This key can be the same as the media name – for example, it could be your first name in both places.
- Click “Save”, and the media edit window closes. You are back at the Media section, and you should see your new Stream at the top of the list of media, with a QR code as its preview.
- If you are using Larix Broadcaster on a mobile device, you can scan this code directly to import your unique key into the Larix settings. You can also click on the green pencil icon at the right-hand side to enter the stream’s edit interface again: the QR code is also here.
- If you are using OBS, click on the green pencil icon at the right-hand side to enter the stream’s edit interface. Then click on the OBS icon for the configuration instructions. You will find the stream URL and unique key in these instructions, along with screenshots of the OBS settings. Click the red buttons to copy the URL and key, and paste them into your OBS settings.
Configure your streaming application
After creating your Stream media item, you will find a QR code in both the Media list and the stream’s edit interface. Scan this code with a QR reader app, then click to import your unique key and the UpStage streaming URL into the Larix settings. Depending on the QR reader app you are using, you may need to click “Visit URL”, “Browse website”, “Click to access” or something similar.
Then open Larix Broadcaser and click on the cog icon to access the Settings:
- In “Connections”, you will see a new stream with the UpStage streaming URL and your unique key.
- Tap the key to activate it.
- Go back to the Settings menu and make any changes that you want, such as selecting “Audio only” in the Audio settings if you only want to send audio. In the Video settings you can select landscape or portrait orientation. Other adjustments to optimise your stream are explained below.
- Go out of the settings and start your stream by tapping the red circle on the Larix camera interface. Next to this circle is a mute button to mute and unmute the audio stream.
In the edit interface of your Stream media item, click on the OBS icon. A window opens with step-by-step instructions and screenshots for configuring OBS.
Click on the red icon at the end of the streaming URL and key to copy and paste this information to OBS.
The Output, Audio and Video settings can be configured to optimise your stream. Some suggestions are below, and there are many online tutorials and discussions about optimal settings for streaming from OBS.
Optimise your stream settings
Before you start sending a stream to UpStage, make sure that you are not sending more data than necessary and have adjusted the settings to make the stream as good as possible for everyone in your audience. If you send large high quality streams, some people may have problems receiving your stream.
There are no universal optimal settings, as what is best will depend on technical variables such as our audience’s bandwidth and devices, as well as artistic choices. You will need to experiment and try out different adjustments to find what is right for your technical conditions and for the specific performance.
When you are testing different settings, make sure you always have others on the stage who can also give feedback about how they are experiencing the stream.
Resolution is the dimensions (height and width) of your video in pixels. To change the resolution go to Video in the Settings menu of OBS or Larix.
The appropriate resolution will depend on how big you want your video to be on the stage – if you want it to fill most of the stage then you will need a higher resolution than if your stream will be quite small. If you have chosen a lower resolution and then increase the size of the stream on the stage, it will become pixelated.
Tip: start with a resolution of 640×480, or 800×600 and see how this looks on the stage. If it looks great, try a lower resolution as it may give better speed. If it looks pixelated and you don’t want that, you will need to increase it.
The resolution determines the shape – for example, 600×600 will give you a square stream, while 800×600 will be a rectangle. In UpStage you can use a frame to make your stream round (right-click on the stream on stage to access this option). If your stream is square then this will make it round, whereas a rectangular stream will become oval.
The bitrate is the size of the file per second of data, in kilobits or megabits per second. Lowering this will reduce the file size, and also the quality of your stream. The default bitrate in applications such as OBS and Larix is 2500. This can usually be reduced without significant loss in quality.
Tip: reduce the bitrate to 1000 Kbps and test the stream on stage. If the quality is dropping below what is acceptable for your performance, increase it to 1500 or 2000 and test again.
If you think it’s likely that many in your audience may be on unstable connections or with older devices, you can choose to use a lower bitrate and accept a loss of quality in exchange for more of your audience being able to recieve the stream.
The default frame rate 30 fps (frames per second). Reducing the frame rate will decrease the size of your stream, however the stream may also become choppy or other noticeable loss of quality such as loss of lip synch.
In OBS, you may have the option to change the encoder (this depends on the version of OBS that you have). Using the software encoder H264 may improve the speed of your stream as this uses less of the computer’s CPU.
Both Larix Broadcaster and OBS have many other settings that you can play around with, and there are many online articles offering advice about how to optimise these and other applications for streaming. This manual is only a starting point.