Event streaming with MistServer
Tackling your first setup to stream your events can be overwhelming. Luckily MistServer is made to make your experience both easier and enjoyable.
Streaming your first event can be overwhelming. Whether this is the first of many or a temporary setup for an event that only happens once, MistServer has some key features to make things easier. Let's see how MistServer can help you out at every step of the chain.
Your Live Camera Input
Cameras come in many variants; you could be working with a simple USB camera or a professional-quality camera. We would always recommend going with what makes sense. Keep in mind the reason for your stream and the desired quality. Luckily, you will not have to think too much about whether your camera is supported, as MistServer can work with any camera capable of delivering an encoded image.
Some cameras might be able to push or provide a stream directly. In this case, you can use those methods to get the stream into MistServer. If this is not the case, you will need to use a pushing application to send the feed to MistServer. If you are completely unfamiliar with these, we would recommend starting out with OBS, which is a great open-source project capable of streaming the source towards external addresses. In general, you would also need to use applications such as these when your server is not running on-premise, and you need to reach it over the public internet.
The very first step would always be to decide whether you want to host the stream or use another platform. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Hosting it yourself would mean additional work to make sure everyone can watch. However, you are in full control of your content. Using another platform can make distribution extremely easy, but once the feed is on their platform, you lose a certain amount of control. Sometimes, however, you just need a reliable way to reach your platform of choice.
Hosting Your Own
MistServer makes receiving a feed and distributing it in a format for consumer consumption trivial. By default, any stream coming into MistServer will be available in all activated protocols, which means no matter what format the stream comes in, there will be a watchable feed available immediately without any additional hassle.
Of course, hosting a media server has its own challenges. Bandwidth is something to keep in mind as servers generally run out of bandwidth before anything else. This means that if your stream is too popular, you would either need to drop the quality or add additional servers. Especially if this is the first time or just a single-time event, this could be a reason to consider using other platforms.
Leveraging Other Platforms
Using streaming platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook could be a big boon to your event streaming. Having them take care of the problems that come with distribution & viewability can be especially tempting. Even here, MistServer could play a critical role.
Most streaming platforms require you to use older streaming methods such as RTMP, which works great when you are using a reliable network. However, when your network is not as reliable, things tend to go wrong quite fast. In cases such as this, you will want to use MistServer as an in-between method. Run MistServer on a reliable server and use more modern streaming methods such as RIST or SRT, which can reliably work in bad network conditions, and then transform the feed to RTMP from your reliable server to reach the stream platforms of choice. Sometimes this could even mean running a MistServer locally and on another server to make sure a reliable transport can be used.
Showing Your Stream
When using MistServer, showing the stream to your viewers is easy using our embedable player. The player will automatically adapt to the streaming method most suited for your playback device, so you will not have to think about it at all. The only step you will have to do manually is add HTTPS support to your server.
If you're using another platform, you will most likely end up using their website to show the stream. If this is a dealbreaker, you will need to use your own server.
Guides to Making Your Platform
We fully realize that saying what needs to be done and actually doing what needs to be done are two completely different things. Not everyone gets stuck at the same step, and some form of help or guide to follow can go a long way in making sure you can keep going. In this case, we'd like to refer to our How-to guides within the MistServer documentation. Below are a few key guides, but of course, feel free to contact us when you would like more personalized help!