Professional broadcasters, like yourself, have high standards for video production. When you’re investing a great deal of time, money, and effort into video productions, you want to be absolutely sure things go off without a hitch. To ensure that this happens, knowledge is power. Questions like “how can I record streaming video?” can easily be answered. In this article, we’ll address when and why you might want to create a live stream recording of your event. We’ll dive into how you can record a live stream, the equipment needed, and which online video platform to choose.
Here are the specific topics we’ll cover in this article:
Table of Contents
- Live Stream Recording of Events
- Encoders For Live Stream Recording
- Direct Recording via Encoding Software
- Live Stream Recording via a Hardware Encoder
- Recording Through an Online Video Platform (OVP)
- How to Monetize Live Streaming Video
We’re covering a lot of knowledge in this article. If you’re looking for just one section, be sure to scroll down to find what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to become an expert in how to record streaming video, let’s start from the top.
Live Stream Recording of Events
There are a number of advantages to live stream recordings. Some key reasons to do live event broadcasts include:
- Saving footage for backups
- Using recordings for promo reels, advertisements, etc.
- Continuing engagement after live events have ended
- Generating revenue via on-demand video
With these motivations in mind, let’s turn now to the specific of how we record live stream video.
Encoders For Live Stream Recording
While you may be wondering how to record live streaming video, it’s actually not such a difficult process. Once broadcasters get the hang of their first few live recordings online, it becomes second nature to them when creating content. One of the simplest ways to record live stream events is via your encoder directly. Your particular approach to live stream recording for your event will depend on the encoding method you choose. But first, let’s define what encoding is as well as the different encoding types.
What is Encoding and How Does It Work?
To use and store the large amount of data that broadcasters use, they must rely on video encoders. Encoding is the process by which raw video is converted into a digital format (which is compatible with online players and devices). Encoders are the hardware and software devices that facilitate this process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics of each.
As the name implies, software encoders are video conversion programs that run on a local computer. Software encoders have graphic interfaces to manage the conversion process and allow control over elements such as bitrate and stream quality.
Software encoders are appealing because of their low cost and ease of operation. They also support future performance enhancements as the software can be upgraded as new features or product versions are released.
However, the main drawback is that software encoders are not dedicated devices. Computers are designed for multitasking and perform multiple actions at once. They lack the robustness and speed of hardware devices since they cannot dedicate their full resources to the live stream encoding process. Dacast uses the popular open-source encoder OBS Studio. Not only is this program free, but easy to learn and operate as well. OBS is a great option for new broadcasters and those looking for simplicity and reliability in their recording setups.
Hardware encoders are the opposite of software encoders – they are standalone, dedicated devices that do NOT require a pc to run and whose only purpose is to encode raw video into streaming data. They often come in small, portable cases but can also be set up as large, permanent fixtures.
Hardware encoders have specialized internal components and firmware and don’t share resources with any other processes. Because of their efficiency, professional broadcasters (and enterprise brands) tend to use them more often.
This high speed comes at a price though (literally) as these devices are considerably more expensive than their software counterparts. Hardware encoders are also less flexible overall.
Encoding Software vs Transcoding
Now that you know the different encoding software and hardware, it’s important to know the difference between encoding and transcoding a video. Transcoding is how we refer to the process of creating several “renditions” of the same video. Each rendition is encoded at a different quality level, allowing you to offer your viewers different video qualities. There are two main benefits of video transcoding:
- Maximizing video quality for viewers
- Ensures compatibility and playback across all devices
Generally speaking, there are two ways to transcode video: locally, or in the cloud. There are benefits and drawbacks to each approach. For in-house processing, you can use tools like Handbrake, Premiere Pro, or Compressor. These tools run on a computer and allow you to transcode in the studio or office. In most cases, local video transcoding is slower. It also results in multiple files that you must upload and manage separately. However, it’s a free approach to video transcoding.
Cloud transcoding, on the other hand, may entail specific pricing plans. In some cases, limited transcoding may come with an online video platform. When you have a large and growing content library, want to deliver multi-bitrate adaptive streaming video, or don’t want to tie-up in-house machines on time- and processor-intensive transcoding, you’re better off looking for cloud video transcoding tools.
Live vs VOD Transcoding
When you transcode a live video, it improves the viewer’s experience by delivering the video in different bit rates to match the viewer’s internet speed. You don’t need to transcode all VOD content. At Dacast, we only recommend that you transcode the files that are non-natively supported.
What’s a Codec?
The final knowledge base piece we need to cover before we move on is codecs. To shrink a live video recording into more of a manageable size, content distributors use codecs. This coder-decoder or compressor-decompressor adds an algorithm to the video to shrink it down for storage and transmission and later is then decompressed for viewing. H.264, also known as AVC, is the most common video codec.
Direct Recording via Encoding Software
Let’s say you’ve chosen a software encoder package running on your computer of choice. Now, you can set-upstream recording on your internal or networked drives. However, this approach does require two important components: spare processing power and disk space.
First, note that streaming solutions, in general, require a good deal of processing power. Simultaneously transcoding your stream into a commonly recorded format (e.g., MP4) can tax mid-range computer hardware. A powerful machine should be able to tackle this task.
Secondly, you’ll need access to disk space. Video recording takes up a great deal of space. Depending on your encoder, recordings you save directly to local drives will encode in the format the camera sends.
Often, this file arrives at a much higher bitrate than the online stream. As a result, you’ll need considerable storage space. For a multi-hour event, that easily amounts hundreds of gigabytes. In that case, multi-terabyte hard drives may be necessary. Factors affecting this requirement include recording resolution, audio quality, frame rate, and other settings that affect the bitrate.
Live Stream Recording via a Hardware Encoder
With a hardware encoder, on the other hand, live stream recording is a somewhat different process. First, you want to explore your encoder settings to determine if this method is possible.
Some hardware encoders feature internal disk space to which you can save content. Some, like the Matrox Monarch HD, are optimized for this usage. Others may require you to plug in an external hard drive before recording content.
In addition, some hardware encoders don’t support simultaneous live stream recording at all. Before depending on a hardware encoder to record your live stream, consult the manual to make sure it’s possible.
Recording Through an Online Video Platform (OVP)
The other main way to do record live streaming video is to record via your online video platform (e.g., streaming provider, like Dacast).
Your streaming platform may or may not offer this feature. For example, some video hosting platforms either don’t offer live stream recording or don’t offer live streaming solutions at all. Make sure to review all the features for the platform and plan you have before you try to record your live streams.
When available, live stream recording via a streaming service is usually as simple as enabling an option in your account settings. You may also need to enable streaming for the specific live stream/channel that you plan to record.
In fact, there are quite a few advantages to record live stream video content on a professional live streaming platform. For one, the processing power for transcoding locally isn’t required, nor is the storage space. This approach also means that you don’t have to worry about local disk failures. Why not? OVPs record to redundant RAID-based servers. You also maintain control and rights to all of your content when you stream with a professional OVP like Dacast. In that sense, it’s a win-win!
Potential Disadvantages of Recording Streaming Video via an OVP
As with anything, there are disadvantages to this approach as well. The main disadvantage is that your OVP can only record live streams in the highest quality of content you send to the platform. Since you’re likely significantly compressing your video between the camera and streaming to the internet, you can lose a great deal of quality here. This is especially true for broadcast-quality cameras, which may record at 30+ Mbps. From there, video files must be compressed down to 5 Mbps or less for streaming.
However, these potential drawbacks aren’t unconquerable issues for most broadcasters. Unless you’re worried about doing a lot of video editing in post, files recorded online should be of sufficient quality for many uses. Even professional broadcasters who are recording locally may want to enable cloud live stream recording. That way, you have an automatic off-site backup in place should issues arise!
Troubleshooting Live Streaming Issues
Additionally, it can be quite frustrating when issues arise in the middle of a live stream. We’ve witnessed first-hand the complications that can arise, and we know that the average broadcaster can’t don’t have the financial or technical means to address all of those issues. We’ve put together a thorough guide with our top 10 tips to help you troubleshoot live streaming issues and identify the root of the problems. Using the troubleshooting framework we’ve laid out, will get your stream back on track in no time.
Auto-archiving Via The Dacast Platform
Now, let’s turn to look at one specific example: the Dacast OVP.
Dacast is an online video platform that offers hosting for both live streaming and on-demand video content. In addition, we also offer a beta-version of an auto-archiving feature. This exciting feature makes it simple to record live stream events with minimal extra effort.
To use this feature, first sign up for a Dacast account. Within your Dacast account, turning on the auto-archiving feature is easy.
Here’s how to activate auto-archiving from your Dacast account:
- Log in to your Dacast account, which automatically re-directs you to your Dashboard.
- Create a new live streaming channel. For existing channels over which you’d like to enable auto-archiving, click “Publish Settings.” [Note that only channels with the following settings are supported at this time: HTML5 channel type, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, maximum bitrate 3.5 Mbps, and channel status set to “on.”]
- Click the “Auto Archiving” slider to toggle it to the “on” position.
Your account will now automatically record all live streaming video you do. (Of course, you can always decide to disable this feature within your account.)
Please note that when you record streaming video events, it does count toward your bandwidth usage. Specifically, each recording is equal to one user at your maximum bitrate. Also, individual files must be a maximum of two hours in length. If your stream runs over two hours, our system will divide your stream into multiple parts.
Finally, auto-archived live stream recordings save to the “Video On Demand” portion of your account. These files are in mP4 format. Once recorded, you can share, embed, monetize, and download to advance your broadcasting goals.
To learn more about how to record live stream broadcasts with Dacast, check out this auto-archiving video tutorial.
Live Stream Recording with Other OVPs
Other platforms, including Vimeo Live and Wowza, also offer live stream recording functionality. Both of these providers also output files in the MP4 format, and files are archived in your account. IBM Cloud Video has similar functionality as well.
When it comes to how to record live stream video, however, each platform is a bit different.
Some have unique features, and some are easier to use than others. Here at Dacast, we’re proud to offer pro-quality, feature-rich streaming solutions at very competitive rates. But you don’t have to take our word for it! Sign up for our 30-day free trial below to test our OVP for yourself. And remember, it pays off to do some research before choosing the right OVP for you!
How to Monetize Live Streaming Video
In today’s highly digital world, video is the most significant asset. In fact, we recommend that any business, organization, or individual consider high-quality prerecorded video content as solid gold. Simply put, if you manage it properly, you’ll get high returns. Instead of just throwing something out there for viewers, put it to focused and advantageous use.
For example, let’s briefly consider the NBA. If you’re not aware, the NBA now generates the majority of its revenue via live broadcasts on TV. However, it also records all live-streamed content and makes that coverage available to subscribers. This expands the NBA’s revenue potential while making true fans very happy. For avid sports fans with busy lives or no cable, live stream recording allows them to watch every game from their favorite teams on their own time.
On that note, we highly recommend that you don’t skimp when it comes to video backups! Storage is cheap these days, and we strongly suggest that you save all of your video broadcasts. It’s a pretty simple rule and one that pays off in the case of unexpected issues or file losses.
The takeaway: live streams are just the beginning of the assets of video. Once you’ve learned how to record streaming video events, you can do so much with that recorded content.
Now, let’s dive into some specific applications of live stream recording in more detail.
Reach New Audiences
Perhaps the biggest advantage to live stream recording for events is the ability to reach new audiences.
With live events, this tool becomes especially valuable. Due to scheduling conflicts and other issues, it’s likely that no more than a small portion of your total potential audience can tune in to a given live event in real-time. Given that reality, you can easily double, triple, or quadruple your total audience by creating a recording.
Furthermore, recordings allow you to reach people whose internet isn’t fast enough to handle live-streamed events. With proper buffering, download offerings, or even DVD/USB stick-based files, you can expand your reach to almost everyone.
Give Viewers a Second Chance to Watch
Another key reason to do live stream recording is to give viewers a second chance to watch. Case in point: a fan of a non-profit at which I volunteer recently shared that he had watched one of our programs more than 20 times! All of these views took place after the initial live stream of the event in question.
In fact, making live streams available is particularly beneficial to your biggest fans. Cultivating these dedicated followers is an asset; they are the viewers most likely to watch your live stream recording multiple times. True fans can be extremely powerful, and live stream recording can help you to capitalize on this potential.
Extend Revenue Generation
Of course, the main reason for video content online is to generate revenue. If this is your approach, record live streaming video. Recording live video can greatly impact your bottom line.
As we noted above, it’s likely that the majority of views for any given program will occur after the live event. However, that’s only possible if you make the content available. To extend your revenue generation (both in terms of time-span and total sales brought in), it’s time to start charging for your content. At Dacast, we offer secure video monetization. This means both you and your viewers are protected. All data collected by the paywall system is enforced and protected. Viewers can purchase content securely by credit card. All payments processed by the system are SSL encrypted to protect data during transmission.
There are a number of ways to generate revenue through video monetization. There are three main monetization models. Let’s go through them together:
1. SVOD (Subscription video on demand)
2. AVOD (Advertising video on demand)
With AVOD, users are given free access to content with the stipulation that sponsored ads are part of the experience. YouTube is a perfect example. AVOD allows broadcasters to generate revenue without requiring paywalls or ongoing subscriptions.
3. TVOD (Transactional video on demand)
TVOD is the least common of the three options. This type of monetization is based on users paying to view specific content not available elsewhere. A pay-per-view model such as HBO charging extra for a boxing match or concert broadcast online is TVOD in action.
Depending on your monetization strategy, you’ll want to choose a provider who offers one (if not all) of these VOD options.
When it comes to paywalls, it’s time to give you subscribers a longer window of access. Pay Per Views and subscription packages can be set up for all your video content. Our paywall supports charging viewers in over 140 currencies and purchases can be made through credit card or PayPal transactions. You can set up as many pay-per-view streaming prices as you want on your video content. Control rates, promo code and viewing window. Dacast’s integrated payment system will handle all transactions directly in the player for fast and easy access to your video.
Promo Reels and Previews
Finally, other great use-cases for previous footage include commercials, promo reels, and demonstrations of your past work. Even if the old footage is worthless in its own right, it can be valuable as “b-roll” or background shots.
During video editing, use footage from previous events to create a montage. You can illustrate the efforts of a certain company or organization. A rapid series of cuts showing various events, speakers, gatherings, and other pre-recorded content can communicate a great deal in a short time.
Yes, it may eat up storage space. But as we’ve said throughout this article, video is valuable! We can’t emphasize that point enough. The more viewers who want to watch your video content, the more valuable it becomes. If for no other reason than the possibility of future use, we highly recommend keeping old stream recordings around for the long-term.
Final Thoughts on How to Record Streaming Video
After reading this article, we hope it’s clear that live stream recording for events is a smart move–in multiple ways! In particular, video recordings are adept at reaching new audiences, extending engagement, and galvanizing your true fans. And let’s not forget, they can also improve revenue generation and impact your bottom line. We know businesses care about ROI.
Remember, live stream recording approaches differ depending on whether you use a professional OVP, like Dacast, or an encoder. However, no matter what method you choose, the recording is important. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “set it and forget it.” That way, you’ll have a high-quality recording waiting for you after every broadcast.
Are you recording your live streams? Why or why not? We’d love to hear from you! We know that many of our readers are experienced live streamers themselves. Drop us a note in the comment section, and we’ll get back to you.
And if you’d like to try Dacast for free, you can sign up today (no credit card required) by clicking below. You can enjoy free streaming and all our great features for 30 days!