Living As One Leans on Blackmagic DeckLink for Live Streaming in UHD

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Living As One systems integrator specialises in highly resilient multi-site and live streaming systems for houses of worship and non-profit organisations. Among other products, they have developed a turnkey package of streaming services called the Multisite Platform that delivers UHD video to remote locations, and to the web, with a high degree of reliability and quality. The complete package includes Multisite encoders for realtime video capture, LAN and Cloud distribution for scalable delivery, Multisite decoders for live/DVR playback plus weekend support.  

Living As One, located in Texas, focusses on improving communications within and between geographically dispersed organisations. The company was founded in 2014 as one of the few in the professional video market capable of a reliable live streaming system. They now serve a growing number of multiple-location, non-profit and for-profit organisations around the world.

Important components of  the Multisite Platform are Blackmagic Design's DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K and DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K, which are used for capture and playback. These cards both support all SD, HD and Ultra HD formats up to 2160p30. They are low profile, 4-lane generation 2 PCI Express cards with 6G-SDI and HDMI 2.0a connections. They will support broadcast quality 10-bit YUV and 12-bit RGB video, as well as Rec 2020 colour and HDR formats and metadata. Both DeckLink Mini 4K models are also compatible with the Blackmagic Desktop Video SDK, making them useful for OEMs or developers building custom playback or recording systems.

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CEO of Living As One Paul Martel said. “Using the DeckLinks, our Encoders and Decoders can successfully transmit video content throughout the entire streaming path, from the broadcast location, to our cloud transcoder, to any location in the world, even in the case of a complete internet outage. The DeckLinks have been reliable and affordable, carrying out consistent quality capture and playout of professional video signals in a compact system.”

The Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K is responible for the Multisite Encoder's real time video capture, and the DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K is used for live/DVR playback with the platform's Decoder. With this system, Living As One delivers predictable streaming of one UltraHD broadcast or two 1080p60 feeds with synchronisation at playback sites.

Multisite Encoders, available in Single Channel and Dual Channel models, capture audio and video through HDMI and SDI and use either h.264 or h.265 (HEVC) codecs to compress one or two channels of video and up to 16 channels of synchronised audio. Feeds are then live streamed to the Living As One CDN while, using a proprietary technique, the encoders automatically resend content that may be lost during transmission, regardless of the duration of any network interruption.

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The Multisite Decoder, which is designed with volunteer operators in mind, includes a simple to use video player that runs on dedicated hardware and allows playback and pausing of live video. Regardless of whether the video is playing or paused, Multisite Decoder’s algorithms will continue to buffer live video ahead of time to a local SSD to prevent interruptions in playback. Living As One used the DeckLink SDK along with the DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K to create the Decoder application supplying these zero-content-loss playback capabilities.

For Living As One, one of the most useful aspects of the hardware is DeckLink's ability to support 16 channels of audio and any standard video format. “The 16 channels of audio make the remote viewing experience much more immersive because audio from any element of an event can be streamed and played in remote locations in whatever way works for those venues. For example, Crossroads Church in Cincinnati Ohio broadcasts their band’s instruments and click track - audio cues used to synchronise sound recordings with a moving image - on individual audio channels so that the bands at their remote campus can sync and play together,” Paul said.

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“Other churches send audio from audience microphones to give an ‘in the room’ experience to viewers at remote venues. Some, like the Global Leadership Summit, send audio from multiple real time language translations that can be distributed locally at the remote venues with RF headsets or even a phone app. We were able to build these capabilities into our platform through the DeckLink’s SDK, another great advantage of using Blackmagic Design.”

Paul also noted that the introduction of the DeckLink products removed the price barrier for many developers to purchase high quality video capture and playout devices and, in turn, allowed Living As One to focus on creating their resilient streaming platform. He said, “In effect, this gear has helped us change the way organisations broadcast media around the globe.”