vMix offers a variety of different products that are centered around video production. This guide includes both hardware and software products that vMix offers.
This particular guide is focused on their Windows only encoder, which is called the vMix Live Production Software. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are using version 23 of the software. To ensure your live streaming setup is compatible, check out our post on the minimum vMix system requirements.
What is an Encoder?
Encoding is a process used to convert the RAW video files captured by a camera into digital files suitable for live streaming over the internet.
vMix is an example of a software encoder that is used for live streaming. This means that the encoder feeds digital video files to the streaming platform in real-time.
vMix offers a powerful encoder with many options. It’s particularly efficient at streaming with a lower consumption of CPU power. This capability is noteworthy, as many encoders often monopolize available resources when you use them on a laptop or a desktop.
One of the unique aspects of vMix is that it makes it possible to stream to up to three destinations at the same time.
You can use vMix to encode live events, such as webinars, company-wide meetings and podcasts.
Required Encoder Settings
The following settings are required for live streaming with Dacast, regardless of your selected resolution and bitrate:
|VIDEO CODEC||H.264 (x264 may work)|
|FRAME RATE||25 or 30|
|KEYFRAME INTERVAL||2 secs (or 2x frame rate)|
|ENCODING BITRATE||Constant (CBR)|
|AUDIO BITRATE||128 kbps|
|AUDIO CHANNELS||2 (Stereo)|
|AUDIO SAMPLE RATE||48 kHz (48,000 Hz)|
Get Started with vMix: Adding Inputs
If you haven’t already, start by downloading vMix. To download vMix, click here.
Next, launch the vMix program. You should see a basic layout that looks like this:
Before you configure stream settings, you first need to add an input. Depending on your broadcasting needs, an input can include a camera, a video file, or even a still image.
To do this, click the ADD INPUT button located toward the bottom of your screen in this layout:
This will open a new window titled “INPUT SELECT.” It comes with over a dozen input options.
Most users will opt for the Camera input. If this is what you choose, your computer should automatically detect any compatible camera that is connected. It would also detect a camera with a capture card. It will present these options in the drop-down menu.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to manually set the resolution to one that your camera supports. Sometimes these settings are auto-detected, but not always. Luckily, the encoder will tell you if it is not set up properly.
For example, if you select an HD resolution on a built-in webcam, you will get an error message like this:
In the case above, the encoder tells you to use 640×480 as the maximum resolution. At that point, you can make that change in the RESOLUTION SETTINGS and then click “OK.”
From here, return to the main layout. You can click to add more inputs at this time if needed. vMix is set up to make it easy to change sources. For example, broadcasters can quickly transition from live streaming to previously recorded video.
It is important to note the layout shown above at this point in the process. The left side works as a “staging environment.” The right shows what’s currently broadcasting.
There is also a switch, located in the center below the Zoom and FTB buttons. This feature allows you to switch between these areas. For example, want to switch to the Green Check above? Click the switch (the slider) to do so. In addition, above the green check you will see alternate transition options. You can access these options to employ a specific effect in your transition.
Configuring Streaming Settings
Once you have set up your input, you need to configure your stream. This will establish your eventual destination, in this case streaming live content via the internet. To do this, first click the gear icon found to the left of the word STREAM located at the bottom of the layout.
At this point, you will see the STREAMING SETTINGS window as shown below.
There are several ways to proceed from here. However, you must first click the DESTINATION drop-down selection.
There are two options you can choose from: the Dacast option and the Custom RTMP Server.
Live Stream with the Dacast Method
Using vMix to stream with Dacast requires setup in both the Dacast and vMix platforms. We’ve broken the process down into steps required in each portal.
Steps Within your Dacast Account
Create a live channel if you have not already. Complete all steps up to the ENCODER SETUP. Make sure to remember the name of your live channel.
Steps Within vMix
Select “Dacast” from the drop-down menu for DESTINATION.
Here you will need to enter your Username and Password. This is the email address and password that you use to login to your Dacast account. (Please note that this is not the username and password provided in the encoder setup section.)
Enter your credentials and then click “LOGIN AND UPDATE CHANNELS.”
In case of error in this step, return to your Dacast account and reset the password (under Account > Profile). This generally resolves any connection issue you may experience.
Your channel list will now populate. Select this area and choose the live channel to which you want to broadcast.
Edit Quality Settings
Most broadcasters opt to edit their quality settings. The default quality setting is 1500 kbps. This may be too high depending on your upload speed.
Not sure what your upload speed is? We recommend doing an upload speed test at Testmy.net. You generally don’t want to exceed 50% of your upload speed for the bitrate you choose. For example, if your upload speed is 2 MB per second, 1 MB per second is a good range of bitrate quality.
Be considerate of your viewers, too. You don’t want to exceed 950 kbps in many scenarios unless you offer multi-bitrate streaming. Otherwise, your viewers with slower connection speeds will experience buffering.
NOTE: to offer multi-bitrate streaming, you need to use the “Custom RTMP Server” method instead of the Dacast one.
To edit the quality of your steam, click the gear icon to the right of QUALITY.
This will launch a new screen where you can edit the bitrates for your stream.
For the Dacast option, you need to stick to a single bitrate. Also, note that your profile should be “Main” and the keyframe frequency should be 2. This is generally the default setting, please see our Encoder Configuration page.
Once you are satisfied with your settings, you can either click “SAVE AND CLOSE” or “START.” To preview your stream, return to the Dacast backend and click to edit your live stream, then click on “Theme.”
To test your stream in a browser, you can also copy and paste the Share Link (found under the General tab) in your browser search bar. Note that it can take up to 50 seconds to come up online.
Live Stream with the Custom RTMP Server Method
If you prefer to use the manual method, you can select “Custom RTMP Server” from the Destination drop-down. We’ve broken this process into the steps required within your Dacast account and those steps required within vMix.
Steps Within your Dacast Account
If you haven’t done so already, create a live channel now. Move through to the ENCODER SETUP part, which includes the three steps demonstrated below:
- Go to your Live Channel and click the “Encoder Setup” button.
2. Write down the Login and Password for your stream.
3. Copy and paste the Stream URL and Stream Names.
Steps within vMix
Click Custom RTMP Server from the drop-down menu for DESTINATION.
First, you need to copy and paste the Stream URL into the URL field. Next, paste the Stream Name into the “Stream Name or Key” field.
Now click ADVANCED. This will provide a screen where you can enter a username and password. These will be the login and password that you wrote down during the “ENCODER SETUP” step within your Dacast account. Enter these credentials and click “OK.”
After completing these steps, you are ready to live stream with Dacast.
As mentioned above during the Dacast destination method, you may want to change the quality setting. The default here is 1500 kbps. You should choose a setting best suited for your own upload speed and intended audience.
Once you are satisfied with all of your streaming settings, click “SAVE AND CLOSE” or “STREAM.” To preview your stream, return to your Dacast account, then click on “Theme.”
To test your stream in a browser, you can copy and paste the Share Link in your search bar. Keep in mind that it can take up to 50 seconds to come up online.