Streaming using RTMP is an advanced feature that’s only available as an add-on for the Advanced package. Interested in the possibilities? Contact us.

The standard way to stream with WebinarGeek is using your browser, which has the benefit of streaming in real-time and no additional hardware or software is required. In some cases, it can help to directly stream using RTMP, and this is possible. The benefits are streaming with a higher bitrate than the browser usually permits, and more control over what’s part of the stream. It usually also cooperates well with certain hard- and software by default.

Looking for an alternative method to get more control over your stream? Try using OBS, which is software that easily lets you set up your stream for e.g. multi-camera webinars or picture in picture streaming. Looking for a solution that makes connecting external equipment easier? Check out our article about using a professional camera as a webcam here. Need some more advice about the optimal solution? Feel free to contact us anytime.

Setting up webinars on your own encoder

When editing or creating a webinar, you can set the source of the live stream under the heading that says "Webinar". Here, you should choose "Use external encoder".

When this is enabled, it’s only possible to use an external encoder to live with your webinar. It’s no problem to switch encoders in between broadcasts

Broadcast process test and live webinars

When opening a test or live webinar, the system will show the settings that you need to use for your own encoder. The only difference between the test and live webinars, is the fact that test webinars won’t be recorded. The rest of the process is the same, and will look like this:

  1. Open the webinar using "Dry run" or "Open live webinar" (available 3 hours before the webinar starts).
  2. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see "Publish settings", which should be configured in your encoder. Publishing the stream happens using RTMP. The hostname and stream name will be different each time for test and live webinars. The username and password (RTMP authentication) are the same for each individual WebinarGeek account.
  3. Configure the encoder and go live with your stream. It’s important to do this BEFORE you’ll go live with the webinar within WebinarGeek. In the process of going live, WebinarGeek will check if the stream is online.
  4. When the stream is online, you can click on "Start test/live webinar" in WebinarGeek to actually start the webinar, only in that moment viewers can join the stream (unless they’re already on the viewing page).
  5. When you’d like to end the webinar, choose "Stop test/live webinar" in WebinarGeek. Now also stop the stream in your encoder.
  6. Before live webinars the recording will be available about 15 minutes after ending the stream.

Recording

When broadcasting a live webinar, the recording will start the moment you click on "Start live webinar". So feel free to start your stream beforehand and not choose to record sections of it. The recording will only start after clicking on "Start live webinar" and will be available about 15 minutes after choosing "Stop live webinar" and stopping the stream in your encoder.

Using slides and interactions

You can view the webinar as presenter with the player you see. Viewers will watch your stream with about 15 seconds delay. Everything that is connected to your stream such as slides, interactions and polls will be broadcasted with the same exact delay. So for your viewers everything will be in sync. But please note that if you start a poll, slide or interaction, that this will appear around 15 seconds later (depending on a viewers delay). So make sure to start your interactions and slides in sync with the "live" screen from your encoder, and not in sync with the player in WebinarGeek.

Tip: when broadcasting the slides in WebinarGeek without video, make sure to disable/blackout the video in your encoder during that time. Alternatively, broadcast slides through the encoder.

Settings stream and encoder

The stream is configured for the following resolutions and bitrates for adaptive streaming in multiple quality formats:

  • High - 1080p, 4000kbps
  • Medium - 720p, 2000kbps
  • Low - 480p, 720kbps

The player will choose the automatic selection by default and pick the most optimal quality setting ("Auto"), usually a Medium quality is chosen, after which it will take about 10 seconds to switch to the highest quality, if possible. It’s possible for viewers to pick their preferred video quality setting (High, Medium, Low or Auto).

So make sure you’ll go live in the encoder in a bitrate of 4000kbps or lower, and using a resolution of 1920x1080 px.

When the keyframe interval can be configured, set this to 2 seconds.

The framerate can best be set to 30.

Co-presenting with RTMP

If you want to host multiple remote presenters in an RTMP webinar, you can. What you can do is, on a computer that you broadcast, set-up a Skype, Meet, Zoom or another similar session. Then what you do is to basically broadcast the output/screen/sound of this computer through the RTMP stream. It gives you a lot of flexibility as to how you want it to appear and you can combine the powerful features of meeting/conference tools with the added value of a webinar. OBS is an example of software you can use to make this happen.

Limitations RTMP streaming

When you’re using RTMP streaming, some functionalities won’t be available, such as:

  • Using co-presenters (see above for a way to do it)
  • Real-time streaming. There will be a delay of around 15 seconds
  • Selecting camera and microphone settings (such as muting)

Example: streaming with OBS

You can stream via RTMP with a lot of different software and hardware. A lot of streaming equipment has the ability to stream directly to RTMP so that you can stream directly from your video input to the streaming server. But it's also quite easy to do this with software alone. The most commonly used software for this purpose is OBS.

OBS is open-source software with which you can stream video and audio via the RTMP protocol to a server such as WebinarGeek. The great thing about OBS is that you actually get an empty canvas on which you can place anything you like. Such as a camera, but also multiple cameras side by side, a screen or an image. Image or logo on top of your video? Easy! You can read more about OBS in our learn article on OBS. You can even use OBS for streaming via your browser as a virtual webcam, but do note this only works on Windows (see the article for more info).

Once you open OBS you can add (multiple) sources. The most commonly used source is "video capture device" for instance your webcam. But you can also attach a screen, external cameras or images.

Via "Settings" you can configure OBS for use with WebinarGeek. Go to "Stream", choose "Custom.." and fill in all details that are visible on your screen if you open the broadcasting page for a webinar which has the external encoder enabled. Do note that these details differ per webinar, even in between tests and live webinars.

Via "Output" you can configure the bitrates. These you set at 4000 Kbps for the video, the audio you can leave at 160. Do note that this means that we require you to have a constant upload speed of at least 4000 Kbps, make sure you are connected by an ethernet cable to consistently be able to send this bitrate. If you are not able to then lower the bitrate. If you need to set it lower than 3000 we advice you not to use RTMP but stream via the browser instead as that will work better with lower bitrates.

Under "Video" you can configure the right resolution (1920x1080) and leave the framerate at 30 FPS.

If you are done you can close the settings and start the stream. The broadcast page will let you know once the stream is ready for your playback. If it looks and sounds well you are ready to start the webinar. Click on "Start (test/live) webinar" to start the webinar (and with a live webinar, the recording). Keep an eye on OBS during the stream as it will tell you how it performs. Streaming in this quality demands a lot from your computer and connection so keep an eye on the OBS status for it to tell you that either of those is in the green.

References for other encoders

Some references for other encoders. If you use an encoder with WebinarGeek that is not listed, let us know so we can add the right information to it.

LiveU

We use Wowza software. For LiveU, select the "Wowza" profile and then fill out all RTMP settings as listed in your webinar in the Wowza fields.

Keywords: Real-Time Messaging Protocol, external

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