IP cameras, which are also called network cameras, have many advantages that make them popular among broadcasters for live streaming. The biggest advantage is that they provide a greater sense of control and security.
RTMP technology is what makes streaming with this type of camera setup possible.
Considering the increasing popularity of IP cameras for live streaming, we’re going to take a closer look at how this type of camera works. We will look at how to use it to live stream on an online video platform with RTMP ingest. Specifically, we will cover how to use the CamStreamer app with the Axis Camera to successfully stream from a private network.
Throughout this post, we will cover different software and applications that work well together for streaming with an IP camera and RTMP ingest. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to stream on a private network of your own.
Table of Contents
- What is an IP Camera?
- How Does RTMP Streaming Work?
- Using the CamStreamer App for Live Streaming
- Setting Up the Axis Camera with CamStreamer
- Choosing an Online Video Platform
- Integrated Graphics with CamOverlay
- Using CamOverlay to Successfully Deliver Your Message
The content of the original article was provided by CamStreamer. This post was updated in January 2021 to reflect the most recent developments in RTMP streaming with IP cameras and related technology.
What is an IP Camera?
An internet protocol (IP) camera is a video camera with a built-in RTMP video encoder, its own IP address, and often considerable intelligence. The camera’s IP address works just like the one on your laptop.
The first IP camera was released by Axis Communications in 1996. From that time on, Axis has been a leader in the field, continuously working on the technical development of its products.
Looking at the product portfolio, we see that Axis cameras particularly excel when used outdoors. They’re highly resistant to impacts and weather fluctuations, including extreme temperatures, water, sunlight, and other adverse conditions.
Since IP cameras are equipped with the technology that we mentioned above, they can communicate with other devices over the internet. This comes with many benefits.
Some of the advantages of this include:
- The IP camera’s video stream can be pulled from the camera by other devices with internet access
- The camera can be easily moved
- The camera can leverage its intelligence (advanced video analytics) and autonomously track objects of interest
- It is easy to control the camera from a remote location.
This makes network cameras especially suitable for 24/7 streams, broadcasts from poorly accessible locations, and shorter events that don’t require the physical presence of a cameraman, such as conferences, trade fairs, and lectures.
Besides quality based on years of cumulated expertise, Axis cameras have another unique advantage – thanks to their open platform, called the Axis Camera Application Platform (ACAP), space has been created for developers to come up with applications designed to meet specific customer needs.
How Does RTMP Streaming Work?
Traditionally, RTMP streaming refers to delivering video content to Flash video players. However, in the context of IP cameras and most modern live streaming technology, RTMP is responsible for ingest.
RTMP ingest is the process of transporting video files from the encoder to an online video platform. In order for this process to work, each component must have RTMP compatibility.
In the case of streaming via an IP camera, both RTSP and RTMP come into play. A video signal provided by an image chip inside a network camera must first be encoded into the H.264 video format. Then, it can be sent over the internet.
In principle, all network cameras pack encoded video into RTSP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol) that are used to send such a video stream over the network. RTSP is a so-called “pull” type of protocol, meaning that you need to connect to a camera via its public IP address and forwarded port and pull the video from it.
This technique is okay for the video management systems it was designed for, but online video streaming platforms, such as Dacast, need something else. They need an IP camera with a built-in video RTMP encoder to “push” the video stream to them. RTMP pulls the RTSP video stream from a network camera and repacks it into RTMP.
Using the CamStreamer App for Live Streaming
Running directly onboard the camera, the CamStreamer application is a simple piece of ACAP software. Its primary function is to repackage the RTSP video stream provided by the camera into the RTMP format, which the online video platform can then easily work with.
This brings several advantages since broadcasters using this technology don’t need a computer or a public IP address. They also don’t need to set up port forwarding.
With a few simple clicks, you’ve got the full potential of the IP camera at your fingertips. The camera is a computer in and of itself, so it can connect to the online video platform without any additional hardware, excess cables, processors, and so on.
A few seconds is all it takes to get a live broadcast up and running thanks to the intuitive settings and no extra costs.
Setting Up the Axis Camera with CamStreamer
The first step to setting up the Axis IP Camera with Cam Streamer is downloading the CamStreamer app, which you can find on their website.
Next, choose the right installation package according to your camera type, and enter your camera’s IP in your web browser. Once this is set up, you can connect to your camera.
In the CamStreamer setup, all you need to do is to choose the desired streaming platform. You can choose Dacast, as it’s one of the preset streaming platforms. From there, simply enter your RTMP stream details from your Dacast account. Since Dacast is a preset streaming platform from CamStreamer, the RTMP connection will be made automatically, which saves you another step.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to stream.
Choosing an Online Video Platform
The combination of CamStreamer as an application and Dacast as a streaming solution can deliver great results. Using this combination, you can easily produce professional-grade content.
Dacast includes all of the tools you need for a professional broadcasting experience. Our platform supports video monetization, video player customization, reliable security and video delivery, private video sharing, a powerful content management system, and more.
Unlike YouTube and Facebook, which as streaming platforms don’t allow audiences to be divided up for more efficient marketing, Dacast offers all the tools needed to make streams effective, attractive, and profitable.
Of course, Dacast is simply one of many online video platforms on the market. Feel free to check out our online video platform comparison post to see how Dacast stacks up to some of the other top options on the market.
Integrated Graphics with CamOverlay
CamOverlay is an app that works with the CamStreamer application to help broadcasters to add their own graphics to a stream.
This tool is useful for adding additional information to the screen to increase the viewers’ experience. CamOverlay supports multiple sources, which gives broadcasters added flexibility on what they can do with their live streams.
Just like CamStreamer, the setup of CamOverlay is very easy. There are preset templates to choose from, or you can create your very own graphics. Both options give you control over your stream’s appearance, timing, and position.
Now that we’ve covered the “whys” of using CamOverly, let’s take a look at how to use this app. Here are three steps for setting up CamOverlay:
- Install the CamOverlay application on your camera
- Select one of the preset templates or generate your own graphics
- The application then inserts the graphics directly into the video stream
That’s all there is to it. The types of information added to live broadcasts can vary. The most common uses of CamOverlay are for displaying advertisements, presenting partners and sponsors, and for providing information that’s useful to viewers.
Using CamOverlay to Successfully Deliver Your Message
Unlike other methods of adding your own graphics to a live broadcast, CamOverlay has two specific advantages that result from the fact that displayed graphics become part of the live stream.
The first is that the graphics are immune to ad blockers, and the second is that there are no compatibility issues with different types of players.
The graphics are simply a part of the live stream, so you don’t have to worry about things like keeping them in focus, the way they look in various types of browsers, administration, timing, etc.
The biggest benefit to this solution (and this isn’t true only of CamOverlay but of overlay graphics in general) is that you can make simple streams more attractive with information that gives the broadcast a story, an idea, and some context.
It works well, for example, in the live camera streaming of the Prague skyline (which is pictured above). Besides weather data, the stream displays facts about the individual monuments the camera is focused on.
Thanks to CamOverlay, viewers get useful information from a plain reality stream, in this case regarding the history and beauty of the capital of the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, you can also choose a different call-to-action (CTA) and get results based on marketing or other needs.
To summarize, an IP camera (like Axis) is a good investment for those who are serious about broadcasting. This broadcast setup streamlines many processes thanks to the camera’s built-in RTMP encoder and other technology.
With the tools from CamStreamer, you can equip your camera with software and applications that will save you a great deal of time, energy, and resources. All of this makes the product the ideal solution for many different types of organizations who want to use live video streaming to fulfill specific objectives, such as generating publicity, educating, sharing activities with the public, and more.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, robust platform with broad streaming capability, try Dacast. You get 30 days of free access to see why we were selected as the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice for Best Small/Medium Business Platform several years in a row. No credit cards or hefty startup fees required.
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Thanks for reading, and happy streaming.