Wirecast Basics

If you're new to Wirecast, this is a great place to start! In this article, we'll walk you through the essential things you need to know to send a stream to Stretch. Once you're done in here, feel free to check out the  Wirecast page for more in-depth articles on some of its other features. Now let's get started!


Interface

While it may look daunting at first glance, we think you'll find that Wirecast is very user friendly. Here are the key things you need to know about interface:

Stream/Record

Located in the top left corner, the stream and record buttons are the easiest way to start your stream and/or recording. When you click each button, you should see a solid red light and the timer to the right will start counting up. You will need to set up your Output Settings before utilizing these buttons (see below).  

CPU %

The CPU % in the top right corner will give you an indication of how hard your computer is working while streaming and/or recording. If you see this get to 70% or above, your stream may start to drop frames or buffer. If CPU % is a concern for you, reach out to our support team and we'll see if there's anything we can do to help!

Preview

The preview window allows you to prep a video shot or graphic before sending it to the live feed. When you select an item from one of your layers, it will show up in the preview window but will not be sent to your stream. This window can be helpful if you're switching between multiple cameras or adding graphics. 

Please note: For one camera broadcasts with limited graphic use, you may find it easier to turn the preview window off. You can do so anytime by unchecking Preview from the Layout drop down menu at the top of your screen.

Live

Anything in the live window will be sent to your stream or recording. If you're using audio, you'll want to make sure you see green audio bars to the right of the live window. 

Go to Live

Located in the middle of the window, the Go to Live button is used to move your video or graphic from Preview to Live. You can add different transitions to the left of this button but it will default to a simple cut. When you select an item from one of your layers, don't forget to press Go to Live to send it to your stream!

Layers

The layers are where you will add your camera shots, audio devices, graphics, scoreboards and any other elements you plan on using in your broadcast. There are five layers at your disposal and they work from bottom (layer five) to top (layer one). In other words, if you want a scoreboard on top of your camera shot, you could add your video on layer two and your scoreboard on layer one. To add an item on  one of your layers, hover your mouse over the circle with a plus sign and select one of the four icons. Here is a good example of how your interface might look once you incorporate all of these elements:


Output Settings

Outside of the interface, Output Settings menu may be the most important thing you'll need to understand when learning to use Wirecast. This is where you will go to set up your live stream to send to Stretch. You'll also need to access this menu if you plan on setting up a local recording. Lucky for you, we're here to help! 

To get started, go to Output (located in the menu bar at the top of your screen) and select Output Settings.

If you're setting things up for the fist time, the window that pops up should look like the one in the image above. Follow the steps below to set up a live stream or local recording.

Live Stream 

1.  Select Stretch Internet from the Destination drop down menu and click OK.

Please note: If Stretch Internet does not show up in the drop down menu, click "More..." and make sure there is a check mark next to Stretch. If you do not see Stretch after clicking More, give us a call so we can add it for you!

2.  Choose your encoding from the following options: 

  • 16:9 - If you're not sure which encoding to select, this is likely the choice for you. This is a standard definition stream that will send a full image (no letter boxing) as long as your camera is outputting a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (most of them are).
  • 4:3 - If you are using a firewire or analog converter (yellow, white and red cords) to bring your camera shot in, this option is likely your best bet. This will produce a standard definition stream with a 4 x 3 aspect ratio and is mostly used with older cameras and equipment.
  • 16:9 High Quality - This option allows you to send a 16 x 9 stream with an elevated bitrate and resolution. You will need approval from Stretch to use this encoding so feel free to contact us if you're interested. 
  • HD - Our high definition encoding will give you the highest bitrate and resolution for your stream. We do charge a little extra to stream in HD, so if you're unsure whether or not you're set up to do so, go ahead and give us a call!
  • Audio Only - Pretty self explanatory!
  • Low Bandwidth - If you're streaming from a location with limited network connectivity, you may want to select this encoding. Low Bandwidth will send a stream at a lower bitrate to alleviate buffering. 

3.  Enter your username and click "Authenticate" to type in your password. When successful, the channel drop down should become available.

Please note: Your username and password should be the same ones you use to log into the CMS.  

4.  Select your channel from the drop down menu. IMPORTANT: This must correspond with the channel you select in the CMS when scheduling your event. 

5.  Click OK.

6.  OPTIONAL: Save your Wirecast file by going to File > Save As. All output settings should be saved so you'll only need to set them up again when you create a new Wirecast file. 

7.  MANDITORY: Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! 

When complete, your Output Settings window should look like this:

Please note: If you selected  Separate Audio & Video Feeds when scheduling your event, you'll need to click "Add..." in the bottom left hand corner and repeat the steps above with Audio Only selected as your encoding. 

Local Recording 

While we're proud to record all of your events on our our servers, we always recommend recording locally if you have the means. In rare cases, recordings in our system can be impacted by issues like poor network connectivity on site. If this were to occur (again, it is rare), a local recording can save the day! To set up a local recording, open a new Output Settings window (go to Output > Output Settings) and follow the steps below:

1.  Select "Record to Disk - MP4" from the Destination drop down menu. 

2.  Choose your encoding. We recommend selecting one of the Stretch Internet presets (see above) if available. If you don't see those as options, be sure to select one that starts with "H.264..." You may record at whatever quality you'd like but keep in mind: the higher the quality, the more taxing it will be on your computer (see CPU % in the Interface section above).

3.  OPTIONAL: Name your recording and select where the file will be recorded to by clicking Browse. 

4.  Click OK and move on with your day!

Please note: If you plan on streaming and recording at the same time, we always recommend testing ahead of time to ensure that your computer can handle it. Give us a call anytime and our support team will be happy to help you out!

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