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Webinar: ClearCaster Creators Talk Facebook Live Streaming

February 1, 2018 by Holly Regan

Making Facebook Live Bulletproof

 

Want to learn how to make your Facebook Live streaming bulletproof? This webinar recording features a discussion with the creators of the Wowza ClearCaster™ appliance: Wowza Co-Founder and CTO Charlie Good, and VP of Engineering Barry Owen. Hear them talk about:

  • The common pitfalls and problems people experience when trying to stream to Facebook Live.
  • How Wowza worked in collaboration with Facebook to create a purpose-built piece of hardware that ensures the success of your broadcast.
  • Unique features ClearCaster offers for engaging your audience and producing professional live streams.
  • What’s coming next for ClearCaster and Facebook Live.

 

Watch the video here:

 

Want to continue the discussion about Wowza ClearCaster? Visit our online forum, or sign up for a personalized demo.

Full Video Transcript:

Evan:

Good morning everybody and welcome to our webinar. We are gonna get started in earnest here in a minute or two, but before we get started, I just wanted to make sure that you are able to hear us, yes? Go ahead and enter some questions or where you're from into the questions, so that we know we are live and broadcasting and you can hear us. Thank you, Eduardo. I appreciate that. Hearing us just fine. Perfect. Hopefully, the sound quality is good. Alright, we will get started in just a few seconds, once we have quorum here in the room and we have people showing up, so give him one minute.

I see we have a very international cast audience here: Mexico, Florida, Palo Alto, Nashville. I like it. Very cool. Hi Susan, how are you? Good to see you.

Alright, let's go ahead and get started. Welcome to today's webinar entitled, "Making Facebook Live Bulletproof: A Discussion with the Creators of Wowza ClearCaster." My name is Evan Paul, and I work with the marketing team here at Wowza, and I'll be your host today. I'm joined here today by two very special guests: Barry Owen, our VP of Engineering and Charlie Good, our CTO and Co-Founder. Together, Barry and Charlie are the driving force and creators of the ClearCaster.

I don't know why we have a profile shot of Barry Owen there, but we do. For those of you who are fuzzy on what the ClearCaster is, let me give you the 20 word description, and then I won't talk anymore, I promise. Simply, the ClearCaster built-in collaboration with Facebook is a purpose-built solution to provide the highest quality, most reliable broadcast on Facebook Live, or said differently, making Facebook Live bulletproof. And that's the extent of my marketing language, I swear. I won't say any more about the ClearCaster, but let's go over the reason why we're here. We're here to have a discussion with Barry and Charlie. We've gathered a lot of interesting questions and comments from the market. Both from current ClearCaster customers, as well as others who are investing in the technology, and we'll use those to start the conversation.

However, if you have questions throughout, please feel free to enter those questions in the little chat bar there, or the question bar, and we will weave those into our conversation with Barry and Charlie, as they discuss what the ClearCaster does and how it works. But before we get into the real conversation, I know that Barry and Charlie, you wanted to do a couple of shout-outs?

 

Barry:

Yeah, absolutely, and forgive me when Charlie and I stomp on each other. We're actually not in the same room. We may talk on top of each other from time to time, but that's what we do in real life too.

 

Charlie:

Exactly. That happens a lot. I'm in my basement in Cincinnati, Ohio, and everyone else is in the home office in Golden, Colorado.

 

Barry:

Cool. So-

 

Charlie:

I guess I'll start off. So, we're gonna go to the slide around Facebook. I mean, I really wanted to start off by thanking the Facebook team. We worked very tightly with kind of a close, fairly small and ... But, actually, ever-growing team of people at Facebook, and this has probably been one of the most fun projects I've ever worked on in my career, and I think Barry feels the same. It really ... It's cool ... The Facebook team was very helpful in making this happen. It was very much a collaborative effort. I definitely want to say thanks to the top three people that we worked with very closely, which was Colleen Henry, Michael Martinez, and Eric Zawolkow. They were just awesome, and we were with them every day, working hard, trying to make this thing happen extremely quickly, I think from the concept of the first piece of hardware going out to a customer was less than nine months. Again, a shout out to the extended team of Raul, Mike Gogh, and Sebastian, and Natasha, and Ian and Joyce, and Grill, and Peter, and Ron. All those folks were involved in different ways and really helpful for us getting this thing off the ground quickly. It's tough when you have two companies coming together, especially one the size of Facebook. It's tough to be nimble and quick. It would not have happened except for a team that was very focused and interested in the end goal of making Facebook Live streaming better.

 

Barry:

Absolutely. No doubt that the influence of Facebook and their constant ideas and encouragement have just been super helpful to us to get this project over the top.

 

Evan:

Perfect. That's really great guys. I'd personally like to thank the two of you for being here and doing what you do for our company.

 

Barry:

It wasn't just Charlie and I. We have a great team here at Wowza. Project engineering, QA, hardware, it was really a big group effort to be able to produce Wowza's first piece of hardware, as Charlie said, in record time. It's certainly something we didn't do alone.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Let's jump into it. See if I can move the slide. I have so much stuff here, I can't even see the question. Why did Facebook approach Wowza to create the ClearCaster? Let's start real high level. What started this all out?

 

Charlie:

Really, this is all out of Colleen Henry's ... Her vision. It was an amazing vision of how do we make Facebook Live streaming better, how do we break in more of the bigger broadcasters and folks with interesting content and the folks that want to stream often to Facebook? It was really her vision. I think we came in, Wowza came in, our team as a pair of skillful hands to help bring that to fruition. The beginning of the story is interesting, because the first goal was actually to create a piece of software that would do what ClearCaster does today, and the hardware would be really just a list of pieces and parts that you put together on your own. You'd go buy the motherboard, and the CPU, and the power supply, and the case and put it together per our specs to build the ClearCaster. It was probably two, three months into that approach that we realized that it probably wasn't going to be the right way to go, and that us building the hardware is a better way. The vision for what the product should be, the features, how it should be put together, what it should be to the customer, how to make it magical and really make Facebook Live better was all on the head of Colleen Henry. So, again, thank her for that vision. We really were, from the beginning, focused on one thing; how do we make the broadcast success rate better? How do we make it more reliable, higher quality streaming to Facebook Live. That's been the core mantra from the product from the beginning. That's what we've been working towards. That's really why the two companies came together. We came in with the coding skills that we had from Wowza Streaming and our trans coding product. We certainly understand protocols and transports. We understand how to build a streaming engine, a media server, that piece of it. But, we certainly understand the shortcomings on the encoding side, as well. We felt we could really help to make that experience better. Facebook brought in their large audience and their infrastructure, all of those pieces. It was a really perfect marriage, but again, from the beginning, it was all focused on quality and success.

 

Barry:

The Facebook team is very passionate about that. Colleen wants a super high quality, super reliable stream into Facebook. The broadcast success rate is just critical for them and that was really the driving factor. As Charlie said, eliminating points of failure and eliminating areas where someone could go astray was the key, which really led us from the original blueprint concept of, "here's a recipe, go build your own" to "we're gonna give you something that just works."

 

Evan:

Perfect answer, great. I think the big bullet points there are the key success metric and the quality of the video. I think that's what's been driving you guys, it's been driving Colleen.

 

Barry:

It's also the fact that we're building a quality stream that's essentially a known quality and a trusted quality to Facebook, and they know that the streams coming from ClearCaster are gonna be a certain format, a certain profile, a certain quality level and they trust those streams and they can take advantage of that on their side and their infrastructure, as well.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Great. Let's move on to the next one. That was a good one. What happens when ClearCaster auto configures the encoding settings? I've wondered this myself a lot of times. What's the magic there? What happens? What's going on between the ClearCaster and the Facebook API when that happens?

 

Charlie:

This is what makes ClearCaster fairly unique. Most encoders, you configure them directly and you're storing profiles and configurations in the encoder itself that's being used to pushed a stream to an infrastructure. We've looked at that inside out instead of really, and especially in the case of a Facebook or a Youtube. The infrastructure should drive the encoding settings, because the infrastructure or the streaming platform ... They're gonna know what's best for their platform and the audience, or even the situation for what type of streaming you're doing. The way that ClearCaster works is when you pair your encoder with Facebook, and when you start a broadcast, it goes into what we call a capture phase, and during that phase, the encoder will report back to Facebook the perimeters of the incoming stream that's coming in over SDI or HDMI. We'll tell it the frame size is 1920x1080 and it's running at thirty frames per second, the audio is forty-eight kilohertz stereo. We'll report all that information to Facebook, and Facebook will come back and tell us exactly what encoding perimeters to use. So, it will say I want you to use H264, High Profile, 4 v-frames, GOP size of two seconds, and then the bit rates as well. We want to encode at eight megabits per second. The audio, ninety-six kilobits per second for the audio. All of that is exchanged in that early handshake with the Facebook platform. Those settings will change based on the situation. For encoding, for 1080p, we might do one thing, for 1080p30, we might one thing, we'll do something else for 720p, and if we're doing a VR stream in the future, again the encoding settings will be different. If, in the future, Facebook wants to change those encoding settings, they literally just change it on the server side. The encoding technology will pick it up and stream with the proper settings for the new infrastructure and the new target. That's the magic. In a lot of ways, the ClearCaster is stateless, and each time you use it, it's told what it needs to do, how it needs to configure itself to best stream in that situation.

 

Barry:

What we like to say is that the ClearCaster is really an extension of the Facebook infrastructure. Once it's paired with your account, it feels like you're plugging an HMDI or an SDI input into Facebook directly. It really, not only allows us to optimize, but future proof as well.

 

Evan:

Perfect. For those who are listening, Daniel and Bob, we see your questions, we will get to them. There are slides here that are more appropriate for your questions, so we will move on and I will weave your questions into the questions for Barry and Charlie. Moving on to the next one. Why does streaming video look so good with ClearCaster compared to competitors? Being on your marketing team, I have a hard time describing this, but we get this from our customers all the time. Why is the picture quality that's going to Facebook, right now, so much better than anything else that I can use in the market?

 

Charlie:

I think there's a couple reasons. One, again, is that exchange in encoding settings. We're tuning for what Facebook needs at that time for that event. So, that's gonna lead to the best possible stream on Facebook. By far, that's the biggest reason. Second, we are doing ... We'll talk a little bit about this later in more detail, but we are modulating the bit as we stream. So, based on the network situation, we will set the bit rate as high as we can for the current network conditions, so what this enables us to do is to make sure we don't build a blatancy on the encoding side, so you get very little buffering or no buffering on the Facebook side, because we're modulating that and keeping the stream as close to the Live point as possible. That also makes sure that we can deliver the highest quality stream, highest possible stream for your network condition. Today, we're sending a contribution type stream of a higher bit rate than you would normally see for that given frame size, because Facebook infrastructure is going to generate all the different encoding files for what is actually viewed. Because of that, we want to send the highest possible quality. With this bit rate modulation, it allows us to ramp that bit rate up quite high, and then adjust for what network is available. The other thing is today, we can do 1080p streaming on Facebook. Others will in the future, but today, I think we're one of the only encoders that can do that. Again, you're gonna get higher quality stream at 1080p verses 720p, which is what you'll get if you a mobile code ... The Facebook app itself.

 

Barry:

In the future, in certain situations, since we are a trusted stream going into Facebook, we will be allowed to do pass through streams, which will lower multi-generational transcode losses through the system.

 

Evan:

We have a question here. I'm not even going to try to pronounce his name, because I would not do it service. I don't know if I can read the whole thing, but we have a problem with our 1920x1080 TV signal being rendered in 720. The question comes off ... Justin, do you have the question better? Where's the rest of it? Oh, there it is. "Rendered in 720x576 TV25 on Facebook and ClearCaster registering the input at 720x576i25. I just did two short tests of our TV signal and they came out 16x9 and 4x3 respectfully. Is that a known issue?"

 

Charlie:

No. We have had issues recently where our streams were being streamed back out of Facebook at 720p, even though the input signal was 1080p. That's been fixed in the last week or so. We certainly can dig into this problem more directly, but that's not the expected behavior. Certainly, 4x3 aspect ratio streams, there were some issues in the TalentView that we've recently fixed. Those should be addressed in the upcoming software release, but we'd have to run this one through support and dig into it more closely to see what you're exactly reporting.

 

Evan:

Lucky for us, we have support on the line, so Jason might have a conversation with, again, I'm not even going to try to pronounce his name, but Jason if you want to tackle that one, that would be good.

 

Barry:

It's also important to know Facebook has a massive infrastructure and there are times when their infrastructure may be such that they need to send streams out at 720p instead of 1080p for a variety of reasons. That does happen occasionally. They're constantly improving that and making that better.

 

Evan:

Alright. Moving on to the next question. Why should I trust a device like the ClearCaster to work perfectly?

 

Charlie:

That takes us back to the sole focus of what this project's been from the beginning, which is real quality. You look at the two companies, Wowza's always been focused on quality. We certainly understand what it takes to run a streaming service on our Wowza Streaming Cloud product as well as create infrastructure grade software for delivering streaming. We understand the protocol and the encoding piece of it, as well. We literally built this thing from the ground up to be a different kind of encoder that was really in extension of your infrastructure, where quality was built in from the beginning and that was job one. I think that's the main reason why we're asking you to trust us.

 

Barry:

We work very closely with the Facebook team to optimize API's and just ... It's a collaborative effort, and I think that leads to ... That leaves us in a great position to truly deliver the best possible stream to Facebook.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Alright, moving on to the next question. In a typical streaming workflow, where does the ClearCaster sit? We get a lot of questions like this about "does this thing record?" Which, the question that's out there right now, does it have production capabilities in it? Which, is another question that's out there already. Where would this sit in your typical streaming workflow?

 

Charlie:

I'll let you start Barry, because I'll take them all if you let me.

 

Barry:

So, typically, ClearCaster, obviously, is an encoder, right? You're going to have ... If you have a multi camera shoot or something like that, you're gonna have it behind your switcher, and you're gonna run your production piece into the ClearCaster, which then goes out to Facebook. If you're doing anything with titling or compositing, you're likely doing upstream of the ClearCaster. You're probably embedding your audio and things like that upstream of the ClearCaster. So, that's where it fits in the workflow, in a nutshell. To briefly touch on the other questions, we designed the hardware to be very flexible. We designed the software to be very flexible. We had a ton of stuff on our roadmap, we're certainly thinking about things like recording. We're certainly thinking about things like compositing and titling and things like that. I can't say when a lot of those are going to happen, but they're certainly on our mind.

 

Evan:

Hopefully that answers your questions Cheyenne. Can we add titles and news scroll? Not with the ClearCaster right now, but maybe in the future.

 

Barry:

Anymore on that Charlie?

 

Charlie:

There are partners we're working with, today, that can do that. As long as those titles or things are injected upstream from the ClearCaster, certainly, they'll go through. We are looking at adding those features in the future, but today we keep them upstream.

 

Evan:

Eduardo just asked a really good question, I think this is exactly the right time to talk about it. Why should I use the ClearCaster versus the TriCaster? My marketing answer would be, you use both, but I'll let you do ...

 

Barry:

If I needed the capabilities of a TriCaster, but I wanted the best possible stream to wind up on Facebook, I would use both. I do my compositing, and my switching in my TriCaster, and I would send that into the ClearCaster to encode and deliver it out to Facebook. As we talked about, that's where the magic is. You're going to get the highest quality and the most reliable stream from the ClearCaster to Facebook.

 

Evan:

This would sit downstream of the TriCaster?

 

Barry:

Yeah, you're TriCaster would be taking, presumably, your multi cameras in and whatever compositing you wanted to do within that system, then you would feed that out into a ClearCaster. You also get the bonus of the TalentView and things like that when you're using ClearCaster to do the Facebook side.

 

Evan:

Anything to add there, Charlie, or did Barry do well?

 

Charlie:

No, I agree. My answer would be use both. We certainly have talked to customers in the near future, where they're talking about using a TriCaster with the ClearCaster. I think it makes perfect sense.

 

Evan:

So, Barry you just brought up a TalentView. I don't know if we have any slides to talk about any burning questions that go into the TalentView very much, but we do have a couple questions about how would you talk back to audiences or how do you see comments and emojis? Both of those answers would be in a TalentView.

 

Barry:

Yeah, that's exactly what the TalentView is designed for. The TalentView allows you to, not only view your stream, so you can see what's going out, but also to react to emojis, react to comments in real time.

 

Charlie:

What was part of the design upfront was the TalentView idea to just really embrace ... Deeply embrace the internet activity of the Facebook platform. Again, that's what makes the ClearCaster fairly unique. It really is just not a general purpose encoder that you would use with any platform. It really is tuned to work well with Facebook and what Facebook is. That idea of embracing the idea of comments and reactions coming back, and the person that's giving the presentation or the talk, or presenting the video, to be able to react to them real time and Live, was an important piece of what we feel the ClearCaster should be. I think you'll see more features around that. We're looking at doing more around comment moderation and being able to make ... Allowing a manager of an event to be able to add comments that show up on that same TV view. We think there's a lot we can do there, so you'll see those sort of features in the future, but what you see now is the basics of what we want to embrace with the Facebook platform and inner activity.

 

Barry:

One of the other key features that come with View, that just popped into my head, the countdown. You could have frame accurate countdown in your TalentView, so there's absolutely no doubt in the performers mind, or the broadcasters mind when I'm actually going Live. There's not that awkward pause or getting stepped on. You know exactly when you're going Live.

 

Evan:

I think we've seen a lot of success with that as it goes through the VOD, as Facebook automatically posts it to VOD. A lot of professional streamers are really glad that as soon as it goes to VOD, as soon as you push play, it starts right away. The Talent is introducing the video as soon as you start it, which is uncommon for Facebook Live right now, I guess. Since we're talking about the TalentView, Bob asks, will you talk about the delay and low latency for real time interactions? As those comments come into TalentView or those emojis, what does the latency look like? What are we talking about form a real time standpoint?

 

Charlie:

From the ClearCaster to Facebook, the latency is literally zero. Zero in terms of other than the other kind of network latency. We're not really adding any additional latency, especially in the most recent version of the software. That's fairly near to zero, minus ping times and network time. The latency through the Facebook infrastructure, we've seen that to be, I think it's like fifteen, twelve ... No. It's pretty low, actually. It's like six to eight seconds, I believe.

 

Barry:

It ranges. We've seen seven to fifteen, probably.

 

Charlie:

Right. What you're going to see are comments coming in, probably, eight to ten seconds delayed from the true Live point of where you're at. Which, again, is not always easy to deal with, but certainly that sort of latency is fairly easy to get over in a normal event.

 

Evan:

Eight to fifteen seconds sounds like it would be very good for just answering questions on air, or ...

 

Barry:

Typically, when you see a comment coming in, you're already talking about something, so it gives you some time to react.

 

Evan:

Exactly. That's perfect. Eduardo had another great question to follow up his TriCaster question. Why would I use ClearCaster versus Wowza Cloud, and that is a very good question.

 

Charlie:

You certainly could use one or the other. We would love you to use one or the other and not something else. In the future, we're hoping to make it possible to use the two together, so we are working on features ... Actively working on them now where you would be able to stream to Facebook and Wowza Streaming Cloud at the same time. We're calling that syndication. It's something we feel is important to extend the usefulness of the ClearCaster product, and take advantage this idea of delivering reliable streams. We should deliver them to ourselves, as well, so we see the two working together.

 

Evan:

Right, but for right now, Cloud for syndication, ClearCaster for the best possible experience.

 

Barry:

You're still gonna get a higher quality and a more interactive experience using a ClearCaster than Cloud directly on Facebook.

 

Evan:

Makes sense. Makes a lot of sense. I'm gonna move on with the slide questions. The next question is why make the ClearCaster rack mountable rather than normal? What was the thought process?

 

Barry:

The short answer there is really time to market. We wanted to get a high quality device out as quickly as possible, which led us down the road of using relatively standard components. We didn't have time to design any custom hardware or build any super custom mobile hardware platforms, so we chose the path that we're good at. It's an intel based system. We know how to tune and run high quality and coders on intel based systems. We knew we could get the parts, we knew we could get the parts in volume. There was lot of considerations from the hardware design side that led us to this. Honestly, this device is targeted at broadcasters and broadcasters typically have an infrastructure where a rack mounted devices is probably preferred. It doesn't mean you can't take it in a field. We've seen them mounted in trucks, we've seen them mounted in cases, we mount our own in pelicans and haul them around. People do take them in the field. That's not to say that we aren't looking at other options and other form factors for the future.

 

Evan:

We do have a case study on our website of somebody packing up a ClearCaster and putting it into a crane and putting it over their zoo, and filming wildlife from the crane. It certainly can be done.

 

Charlie:

One quick thing, too, is we also wanted to make sure we had enough headroom to do all the things we wanted to do in the future kind of thing. There's just a platform that's very flexible for us, we're able to do 4K video, which will be coming soon as far as ... Through the entire system on the Facebook side, 1080p60 and those types of things. We felt like we wanted to really come up with a robust platform that gave us a lot of headroom in this first version so that we could experiment and play and put stuff out there to really extend our reach with the product before we tied it down to something that might be less expensive, smaller, portable, that sort of thing. That was the other reason for the choice.

 

Evan:

Perfect. You mentioned about into the future here and as we talk about this hardware, Dave asked a very good question. I know it's very near and dear to both of your hearts, right now. Is there a way to stream a backup feed in case of hardware network failure?

 

Barry:

Redundancy.

 

Charlie:

That's coming, actually. Redundancy was built in ... This is something that disappointed colleagues, we didn't get it out in the absolute first revision of the software and hardware, but redundancy is something we're right on the edge of. We need a little UI work done on the Facebook side, which is in progress. We need a little bit of work on our side to do some testing. The thing is built for redundancy. Facebook infrastructure supports redundancy and that will be coming very, very soon.

 

Barry:

We would love you to buy a pair of ClearCasters.

 

Evan:

Absolutely. Alright, moving on. How much bandwidth does the ClearCaster need?

 

Charlie:

Today, since we're really a contribution stream into Facebook, meaning that the stream gets re-encoded on the Facebook side, the maximum bit rate for a 1080p30 stream is eight megabits per second. We feel that gives you a really high quality and is an appropriate bit rate for a contribution style and code for delivery over the web. If you're doing 1090p60, that goes up to fourteen megabits per second Again, we will modulate the video bit rate based on the network conditions, so if that sounds testy for your network situation, we will adjust it on the fly for the network situation to take full advantage of it. Today, when we do a more of a pass through style stream where our top bit rate is actually what will be used for on the playback side through the Facebook infrastructure, then that number will probably go down. We're still trying to figure out what it is; four, five, six, something like that. Today, the maximum is either eight or fourteen, depending on whether it's thirty frames per second or sixty.

 

Evan:

I'm gonna allude to a question that's on here. If you're happily streaming at 1090p30 at eight megs, and everything is going hunky dory, then all of sudden there's a network issue and it slows down, what happens? What does the ClearCaster do?

 

Charlie:

We can sense that the network connection is getting backed-up and we will lower the video bit rate to match what's currently available. If that situation subsides and the network is again available at a full rate, then we will modulate back up. We are constantly, every second, monitoring the TCP connection that's going between the ClearCaster and Facebook and adjusting as you go, as the stream is being streamed, then feeding that information back into the encoder.

 

Evan:

Perfect. That happens throughout the entire course of the broadcast?

 

Charlie:

Literally, I think it's every second we're monitoring that TCP connection at a really low level. We've integrated this all the way down into the Linux Kernel where we're looking at all the different round trip times, and ping times, and all of that to determine what the best course of action is based on the conditions.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Alright, let's move on. ClearCaster sends to Facebook Live at 1080p30, but can handle even greater solutions and frame rates. When will Facebook offer these? I just want to say, we don't work for Facebook.

 

Barry:

Short answer is when they're ready. The ClearCaster can do 1080p60, it can do 4Kp30. We are certainly, actively, working on Facebook with those configurations. As you can imagine, there are lots of infrastructure hurtles to get through on the Facebook side, for some of these things. Charlie talked about just going to 1080p60 almost doubles your bandwidth requirements. That also doubles the Facebook internal trans coding requirements. There are certainly some things to get through, but it's a pretty high priority on both sides and we're moving forward.

 

Evan:

Anything to add to that, Charlie, or are you good?

 

Charlie:

No, that's true. That's where we're at. We're testing and developing and working on it actively.

 

Evan:

Lawrence is pointing out that we might have had our own little bandwidth issue or Go To Webinar might have had their own little bandwidth issue. If we blacked out there for a minute, I apologize.

 

Barry:

We really should be streaming these on Facebook Live in the future.

 

Evan:

Yep. That's absolutely correct. Okay. Next question from … Does ClearCaster support the Facebook 4K 360 API?

 

Charlie:

Again, that's in progress. That's something we're working on. If you do a 360 stream, a VR stream today, it'll be at 1080p30. But, the 4K is something we're actively working on. It's all wrapped up in the same 1080p60 work. We need to get what we call Caster Working, where our high bit rate stream is used as the high bit rate stream that actually goes back out to the flare through the infrastructure. That's a piece that we continue to work on with Facebook.

 

Evan:

Alright. Anything to add, Barry?

 

Barry:

Nope. That's sums it up. It's a collaboration and requires work on both sides.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Alright. Moving on to the next. Will, and this hasn't come up yet, will you be able to use ClearCaster with Workplace by Facebook?

 

Charlie:

I feel like we're a broken record. So, again, that's something we're on. We're actively working on Workplace. We've had some successful streams running through Workplace and tests. There's still some work to be done to finish that work, but it is something we're hoping to get done soon. We're actually excited. We think our current rack mounted form factor is a very good form factor for the kind of Workplace customer. Most Workplace customers are really only going to stream to Facebook ... The Workplace portion of Facebook. So, we think it's good for the product. Even the TalentView piece is perfect for a CEO type of speech or that sort of thing. In fact, we use it for exactly that use case. We do our own internal all hands meeting using the ClearCaster and the TalentView piece for the Colleen's coming back has been proven to be extremely useful. We think it's a great fit for that part of the Facebook offering and we're hoping to have that soon. Again, it's a matter of getting everything buttoned up and finished so that we can get it out the door.

 

Barry:

I can tell you that our staff meetings are much more entertaining using ClearCaster and Facebook Live than they have been in the past, so that's good.

 

Charlie:

Exactly.

 

Evan:

Alright. Does ClearCaster allow cross posting, Live broadcast … to Facebook? Again, repetitive answer, right?

 

Barry:

You should have just recorded the last-

 

Charlie:

Yes. It's what we're working on. Tell them we're working on mostly a Facebook issue.

 

Barry:

A lot of these things, they're definitely things that we were working on or have been working on, and it's a two way street. We can't do some of this without the Facebook API supporting it, and we're working as closely as we can to get these things out as soon as possible. We hear what people want, and Facebook feels the urgency as well. They're working hard and we're working hard. I think you'll see a lot of really cool stuff in the next few months.

 

Evan:

Perfect. I skipped over the scheduling question, because I think we've pretty much done that, right? Bob, your question about the VR release, same answer, don't know, but it's coming. Moving on to can I manage my streams from a mobile device?

 

Charlie:

This is something that we're going to enable on ClearCaster.Wowza.com. Today, the way you start a stream is you go to the Facebook.com/Live/create page and you can kick off ... Create a broadcast and kick it off from there. What we're doing is creating, in a sense, our own version of that same functionality on the ClearCaster.Wowza.com site. That will be out very, very soon. I've seen a beta of it. It looks great. That will be available …

 

Barry:

… And, it's totally on mobile.

 

Charlie:

Yeah, it will work both on the desk top and on mobile, so you will be able to manage ... Kind of start, stop, manage along with the preview that's streaming both on the desk top and mobile.

 

Evan:

Perfect. Next question, am I able to view stream configurations and monitor stream health?

 

Barry:

Very soon. This has been-

 

Charlie:

Coming in the same release.

 

Barry:

This has been one of our top priorities, to give what we're calling an engineer view into the view of the stream and even some of the health statistics of the ClearCaster itself. You will see that in our upcoming release, which is right around the corner.

 

Evan:

Good. Charlie, anything to add to that?

 

Charlie:

No, I just fixed a bug yesterday, because we weren't pulling the … from the right place. It's almost out the door.

 

Evan:

Perfect. You make it very real, Charlie, when you're actually fixing the bugs as we talk.

 

Barry:

Somebody's gotta fix them.

 

Charlie:

Exactly.

 

Evan:

Yep. Are there any additional analytics available outside of Facebook that you guys know of?

 

Barry:

Like I said, for streaming ... Sorry, I knew we'd do that at least once. The answer is not yet. We do collect some of the data from ... We have a lot of data collection from ClearCaster and we can access a lot of data from Facebook, as well. We need to figure out the best way to package up and expose that for viewers, as far as what makes sense. It's certainly on our roadmap.

 

Evan:

Perfect. I'm gonna take a couple of these questions out from the audience here. Is there a way to trigger a stream with a GPI?

 

Charlie:

That probably means API.

 

Evan:

I'm guessing it's a mistype. API?

 

Charlie:

The answer is yes. In fact, we ... Is that the question, no.

 

Evan:

No, that's not ours.

 

Charlie:

Hold on. I'm reading the question.

 

Evan: 

This is one of the questions from the audience, Charlie. Is there a way to-

 

Charlie:

I think is what is meant by that is our Live Create version of the UI will enable you do to it from ClearCaster.Wowza.com. You can certainly also use the Facebook API to trigger the creation of the broadcast and you can start and stop the stream. That all works fine with the Live encoder API that we use from Facebook, so you could do it either way. I think that's the question.

 

Evan:

Maybe, the alternate answer is you don't have to be sitting in front of the ClearCaster to start the stream?

 

Barry:

Absolutely not.

 

Evan:

It can be in a rack somewhere ...

 

Barry:

It can be in a rack somewhere, and we've actually had people have them in a rack, completely manage them remotely. Also, have the TalentView hundreds of feet away from the rack itself.

 

Evan:

Absolutely. Another question, is this portable enough to carry in a bag and stream from outdoor locations?

 

Barry:

It's a short depth, 1RU rack mount box. So, it depends on big your backpack is. Sure. It's not super heavy, it's not super big, it's a half-depth box. We have had people stream from remote locations, we have a wild animal sanctuary who streams from remote locations. I believe they mount theirs on a car or truck. If you can figure out the connectivity and the power issues, yeah. It should be haul-able.

 

Charlie:

We've got the GPI question wrong. I'm reading more of the questions in the follow-ups. There is no hardware trigger in the ClearCaster today. It's not something we've even kind of considered, but now we're seeing enough questions about it, we'll think about it. That's an interesting idea. There's actually a way to hard work trigger the start of a stream. You could certainly do it with a ... You could do it with a proper integration with some sort of piece of hardware, software running on it into the Facebook API, but not currently through the ClearCastor itself.

 

Evan:

The audience is adding to the roadmap already, so this is good.

 

Barry:

Perfect.

 

Evan:

We are getting a lot of questions, still about syndication. One more time ...

 

Barry:

It's on the roadmap. Syndication is one of our highest priorities. We're looking into it. It is certainly something you will see soon, and that's probably all I'll say.

 

Charlie:

I can see that it's best type of features we'll definitely evolve over time. I think what we'll initially do is enable something that will allow you to go to Facebook and Wowza Streaming Cloud and probably Wowza Streaming Engine, any one of those things. That's the first blush of what we were looking at doing. We've had a lot of talks about going beyond that, but initially that's what we're probably gonna do. Whatever you see in the first rev of that, that's probably not where we're gonna stay for long. We think syndication is important and we will expand it as we go, we just want to get something out quickly that serves the meet of the market, then we'll look to expand it on in the future.

 

Barry:

I do want to say, one of the tenants of our syndication is we will not sacrifice the Facebook experience. The Facebook experience will be perfect, as it is now.

 

Evan:

Cool. I think we only have a couple more pre-typed questions. What changes can we expect in ClearCasters future? This is the last question, really. I think this goes beyond all the functionality that we've already talked about; syndication and redundancy, and all that kind of stuff. What's your vision for what this becomes.

 

Charlie:

Really, this is the beginning of what feels like a very long road, which I think is great. We've touched on things like different form factors for the hardware. We're already playing around with different things. I've got all sorts of piles of small, little devices in my office that we're looking at and working on. I do think there will be some alliterations on the hardware side, for sure, on the software side of integration with Facebook ... The possibilities are endless, which is a terrible answer, but really, the short term ... The medium term stuff is a lot of what we talked about today. The idea of syndication ... We have closed-caption support coming in the next version of the software, which will be out soon. We're looking at enabling some sort of pass through where our high bit rate stream will actually be the high bit rate that's viewed on Facebook. VR enabling, VR 4K 360 streams, redundancy is coming soon. We're looking at the whole graphics ... To be able to do lower thirds and slates, and potentially graphical bugs that will be injected into the stream from the ClearCaster. You can certainly do that today at stream, but doing that in the ClearCaster. Features like recording are interesting. It's a long and varied roadmap, and we'll chunk our way through it. It really is the beginning of what we feel is a long, long path for both the software side and the hardware side.

 

Barry:

There's really no end to the possibilities of what we can do. We really want to use events like this and feedback we get from customers to help shape that. What do you guys want? What do you need? To help us work on those things moving forward, there's tons of cool things that we could do with this product. As Charlie said, it really feels like we're just at the beginning here and there's a lot of places we can go. Try one out and see what you can do. Let us know how it works for you, what it needs, what it doesn't do. Come talk to us at NAB, come talk to use wherever you find us, and give us your feedback. We love it.

 

Charlie:

I do think another piece that's important, is the core of the product is really all about streaming successfully at the highest quality possible to Facebook. So, what we do feel ... What is there today is the important piece, right? That's the part that makes it magical. It's an extension of the Facebook infrastructure, the encoding settings are gonna be set properly for every stream. That core piece of what's there now is what most people need, and a lot of the stuff that we're gonna add around it is also useful, but more icing on what's already a pretty awesome cake. That's the way we're looking at it as a platform. We really are pleased with where we're at with it from "Can I stream reliably with the highest quality to Facebook?"

 

Barry:

That really is job one. That's what we're not willing to sacrifice. That's why we built this thing, is to make that experience the best it can possibly be, and we're gonna continue to improve that. That's always at the top of our list.

 

Evan:

That's what makes this bulletproof for Facebook Live, bringing it full circle. I have a service level announcement here. When we say syndication, we mean going through multiple locations at the same time, so Facebook Live, Youtube-

 

Barry:

Wowza Cloud.

 

Evan:

Wowza Cloud, your own website, wherever you'd like to go. That's what we mean by syndication. I'm sorry. We're being streaming cloud nerds, so that's what we mean when we say syndication. Lawrence definitely thinks that the ability to start and stop the stream on mobility would be awesome, because his first mile is over bonded cellular and so that would really help his company. Charlie, if that's in the back of your head for road and map, that would be great.

 

Charlie:

Absolutely.

 

Evan:

Then, the last question that I think is relevant is will ClearCaster be available to manage with an app in the future? I think that's exactly the same thing.

 

Barry:

Yeah. Our remote admin experience is ... It's a web app, but it's mobile friendly. Could we wrap that into an app and actually deliver it as an app? Sure. Maybe we will. It really would depend on the feedback we get from people using the mobile site.

 

Evan:

If that's important to you Minnow, let us know. It's feedback like that that helps us define our roadmap.

 

Charlie:

It's forcing the entire team to learn to react. If we build and react we can reuse pieces of it.

 

Barry:

Absolutely.

 

Charlie:

It's been a positive experience for everyone, which is good.

 

Evan:

Daniel wants you to put the engineer view into mobile, too, while you're at it.

 

Barry:

Check.

 

Charlie:

Absolutely.

 

Barry:

Got it.

 

Evan:

Okay. I think that pretty much wraps up ... Again, Charlie, Barry, thank you very much for being here and doing this for us. I know that you have bugs to code, engineering things to do.

 

Charlie:

We don't code bugs. We fix bugs.

 

Evan:

Fix bugs, sorry.

 

Barry:

We fix bugs we previously coded.

 

Evan:

I just typed three words. I appreciate all of our audience for getting on and asking great, wonderful interesting questions that will ultimately help us feed

our roadmap and make this an even better product than it already its. Thank you very much to all of you and thank you for listening today.

 

Charlie:

Thank you.

 

Barry:

Thanks, everybody.

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Holly Regan

Holly Regan is the content marketing manager at Wowza. She has over a decade of experience as a professional writer and editor. Her work has been featured in major online publications, including The New York Times, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.