#1  
Old 21st May 2010, 14:42
Cernunnos Cernunnos is offline
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Default How to get higher quality?

Hi

I'm streaming Starcraft 2 at the 500kbps limit @ 25fps and 1280x720p via procaster.

My upload speed is 2.5mb, it has no lag and is running smoothly. The quality is decent, but I was wondering if there's anything I can do to improve my quality further, because it's still pretty grainy.

People like Day9 (when he was still on livestream) have so good quality streams, are they using the paid version? If not, how do they do it?
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  #2  
Old 25th May 2010, 18:17
GrizzlyAdam_ GrizzlyAdam_ is offline
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I would also like to know. I stream Starcraft 2 as well and I've been having the same issues (I'm using almost the exact same settings as Cernunnos posted above). I have FiOS and a good computer (Quad Core Q6600, ATI Radeon 4870, 4 GB RAM), and my stream quality is still grainy and fuzzy. Is there any way to get a better quality video without paying $350/mo for premium? I mean seriously the livestream plans go from FREE->$350/mo->$1250/mo, and that's a bit out of my budget range.
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Old 25th May 2010, 22:32
cseeman cseeman is offline
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Can you set your screen to a smaller size? That will give you more bits per pixel (better quality at same bit rate). Have you tried using HD preset in Procaster?
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Old 26th May 2010, 08:16
EugeeTV EugeeTV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cernunnos View Post
Starcraft 2 at the 500kbps limit @ 25fps and 1280x720p
I put that into this calculator:
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ap...te_calculator/

And 1280x720 @ 25 FPS with Slow motion (I think that's fair for RTS) requires 1536 kbps to look good. You'll need another 18 kbps for minimum quality audio, but that means you're WAY behind the bandwidth needed to make something that large with that many frames look good.

Let's take a look here. We're going to use the weakest audio (22 KHz, Mono) for 18 kbps, leaving use 482 kbps left for the video. Let's see what fits.

The motion in an RTS is probably considered Slow, so our target framerate will be 15 FPS. Now what's the biggest size we can stay under 482 with?

Looks like 768x432 will need 332 kbps recommended, so we've got breathing room. You can still set the target bitrate to 482 kbps, it just means it will look sharper and smoother.

I would try out Average motion settings too... or 24 FPS. 512x288 @ 24 FPS will need 472 kbps with average motion.

You can try 1024x576 @ 12 FPS (472 kbps) or 1280x720 @ 7 FPS (430 kbps) out, but I think you're going to be happier with one of the above two.

EDIT - Remember that by default, the video window isn't much bigger than 512x288 anyway! Even if you hide the chat 768x432 is about the right size. To benefit from a larger image, your viewers have to be in fullscreen the whole time, meaning they can't be doing anything else but watching. (I watch LiveStream on my second monitor most of the time; I'm doing other stuff.)

Last edited by EugeeTV; 26th May 2010 at 08:19.
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Old 1st June 2010, 13:20
EugeeTV EugeeTV is offline
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I thought I'd expand on my suggestions above, having gotten a chance to try WoW with the above settings.

I found that 12 FPS has been quite satisfactory. Animated movies are done in 12 FPS typically, and my WoW stream looks smooth enough, too. I play at 1680x1050, so I use 16:9 when streaming. I tried 512p, 768p, and 1024p all with 12 FPS, 482 kbps video and 18 kbps audio:

512p looks good in regular viewing (with chat to the right) and can handle a lot of motion without artifacts. Full screen it's pretty blurry though, and even large text like zone names are hard to make out. There is virtually no impact to my ingame framerate.

768p is a sharper picture, even with the stream expanded on the page, and while it wasn't able to keep up with motion on the screen as well as 512p, larger text was legible. Slight artifacts when a lot of motion was present. My ingame framerate took a slight hit, but was rarely noticeable.

1024p is a fantastic image, and very crisp, you can almost read the chat window in fullscreen. When streaming something that has very little motion already, I will definitely use this setting. Even average gameplay motion tends to cause artifacts in the image though. My ingame framerate takes a noticeable hit from this stream quality, occasionally even stuttering for a frame or two.

I'm going to keep experimenting with the three settings, but I'm very happy with the quality vs impact from all of them. I've usually left it on 512p simply because most of the time my viewers are not watching in fullscreen, so they can chat. I may settle on 768 so that it looks better when in Expanded view.

You can look at a sample of 512p on my channel page (www.livestream.com/eugeetv) in the VOD section, the Raids folder, the May 31 recording. It's just over an hour and gives a very good idea of the quality.
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Old 2nd June 2010, 00:41
cseeman cseeman is offline
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Good example of the challenge of streaming quality in which one must juggle frame size, data rate, frame rate to find a happy medium and depending on content one might need to change things.

Even in non game streams one might make different decisions if you're just doing interviews vs live action sports.
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