Oklahoma State University Streams to Facebook Live and YouTube with Monarch HDX
While OStateTV serves its purpose as a centralized video resource, the university felt the need to widen its audience reach by leveraging popular social media platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube. Their existing technology—a content management system (CMS) and turnkey video production units—did not allow them the flexibility to live stream to multiple platforms in parallel.
With limited staff and budget, the university needed something that was simple and easy to use, without adding several extra steps to their live-stream workflow. Knowing they wanted a dual-encoder appliance that was affordable and readily portable, the university researched options, starting with Matrox® Monarch HDX. Happy with the performance of other Matrox products they had procured for earlier workflows, the university came out ahead once again with the Monarch HDX dual-channel H.264 hardware encoder.
Streaming Set Up
Owning several Sony® cameras and camcorders, and a variety of portable video production switchers, the university uses a mix of both HDMI and SDI inputs, with the selection dictated by the event. Depending on the event, the setup could be for a rudimentary one-camera stream of a speaker, or multi-camera live stream for bigger occasions such as pageants and convocations. The Monarch HDX encoders are also used in outside broadcast trucks for live streaming of college sports.
At the university, the Monarch HDX is connected to a Gigabit Ethernet switch and the LAN. Taking inputs from the video production switcher, the Monarch HDX is the principal encoder that enables simultaneous streaming to different platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube, as well as their own video portal at 720p resolution, and at a bitrate between 1 to 5 Mbps.
The stream settings are configured within the unit itself, making it much simpler to manage the encoding. Through the Monarch HDX’s Command Center graphical user interface, the encoding settings are easily modified when required, for example, inserting the Facebook Live stream key that is unique for every live stream.
Multi-Channel Streaming, Widespread Reach
“The Monarch HDX encoder appliance gives us several options when it comes to streaming,” says Andy Wallace, associate director of OStateTV. “It provides the flexibility to harness the power of social media and seamlessly webcast our unique content. For events where we just want to take a camera, laptop, and microphone, and do a simple stream—that process is now way easier.”
Through the university’s broad video distribution platforms, they reach current and future students, their parents, faculty and staff, donors, and alumni members, no matter where they are. Parents of international students for example, are able to watch their children participate in a variety of events—including Mr./Ms. International Pageant, Cultural Night, or varsity sports games—and that’s a highly satisfying experience.
Following through on their commitment to being more accessible, Oklahoma State University now streams to two extra viewing locations besides their own site. They are able to accomplish this with the same number of employees, taking just half the man hours that was required prior to using the Monarch HDX. This allows OSU to not only quickly turnaround events, but also increase the number of events they can stream during the school year—thereby attracting new audiences.
Blake Schaich, video content producer for OStateTV, couldn’t have been more pleased with the end result.
“For a simple one- or two-camera set up, the Monarch HDX encoders exceed expectations. You click the button and it’s a guaranteed go. The units are so easy to use. They help us tremendously with our day-to-day workflow as setting up for live streams is much quicker than we ever imagined, resulting in effective use of the available crew. Ramping up further should be easy with additional Monarch HDX encoders.”