Enhance Your Ustream Video Feed
Often, I get asked about the setup on my live stream on live.bwana.tv. People are curious about the IRC chatroom overlay as well as other effects including my sponsorship ads. Chris Pirillo put together a nice tutorial a while back as to how he set his up, so I decided to do the same here, but with a little bit more detail.
A pre-requisite for all of this is that you make sure you have a Ustream.TV account, and show created. It is very easy to do this, simply click this link to get started. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to dive in!
- Download CamTwist for Mac OS X. This is the software to have for this task. If you’re using a Windows based machine or Linux, then I recommend using WebcamMax, Manycam, or Superwebcam. These instructions will be written specifically for CamTwist on the Mac OS X platform.
- Download Colloquy for Mac OS X. I use this IRC client specifically for its color scheme abilities and its “Smart Transcript” functionality. This allows you to strip out IRC channel joins, parts, quits, kicks, bans, and all those other things you don’t want on your stream. Feel free to use your favorite IRC client if it does all of the above.
- Configure Colloquy for your IRC Channel. Don’t know your channel name? Click “Open Chat Room” on your Ustream.TV show page, to see what it’s called. Most times, it is the same name as your Ustream.TV channel name.
- To get started, open Colloquy, then click the Window menu and select “Connections”
- Next, click the “New Icon” in the toolbar to bring up the New Connection window
- In the New connection window, input the desired nickname, leave the Server protocol to “IRC (Internet Relay Chat)” and input “chat1.ustream.tv” in the Chat Server Box. Click the “Details” button to configure other optional parameters. I recommend checking “Remember this connection” and putting your IRC Channel name noted above in the “Join Rooms” list. When it’s all said and done, your New Connection window should look like this:
- Next, click “Connect” in the New Connection window to test your connection. If all goes well, Colloquy should be connected to Ustream.
- Now, select the appropriate theme to use for Colloquy. My favorite is “DecafBland – Inverted”. I recommend increasing the font size for this theme within Colloquy. If you wish to further customize options later on, click the “Customize Style” button and type in a new name when Colloquy prompts you for a variation. “Ustream” should suffice. I recommend making this style your default unless you wish to use Colloquy as your main IRC client as well.
- Then, create a smart transcript for your channel. This will eliminate unwanted IRC noise in your chat window and give a much cleaner look once the chat is embedded on your stream. To do so, click the File menu, then Smart Transcripts, then “New Smart Transcript”. In the new Smart Transcript window, give your transcript a name and change the ruleset to match the following: Source’s name matches MyIRCChannelName where MyIRCChannelName is your IRC channel. It should look like below:
- Open the Smart Transcript and leave it open for the next step. File -> Smart Transcript -> [Name you chose]. Resize the Smart Transcript window for your channel to a smallish rectangle. We’ll resize again later if needed.
- Configure CamTwist for your stream. The main elements you need are the following:
- Webcam – This is your webcam source. CamTwist recognizes built in iSights as well as supported USB Webcams under Mac OS X. It also recognizes camcorder cameras connected via Firewire.
- Chat Overlay – This is the Colloquy IRC chat we just configured.
- Image Overlay – For any sponsor ads or generic logos you wish to place over your stream.
- Clock – To show your viewers what time it is.
- Text – To provide a URL or some other kind of branding for your stream.
The first thing we’ll tackle is the Webcam:
- The first thing we should do is open the Preview window to get a glimpse of what’s going on. To do so, click the “Preview” menu in CamTwist and select “Show Preview”
- Choose a source from the CamTwist dropdown. Ensure that it is the right camera that you want to use for your stream. If you don’t have any cameras to select in this dropdown, ensure that a webcam is connected.
The next thing is the Chat Overlay. This is the hardest part.
- Create a new element in CamTwist for PIP Desktop. To do this, select “Desktop” in the Video Sources list, then click the “PIP” button on the bottom.
- Under the “Adjust Settings” section, select the new entry to configure the settings. We don’t want to the entire desktop (which is the default) but we want to choose a selection. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings list and uncheck “Full screen”. You’ll notice the “Select Capture area” button becomes ungreyed. Click the Select Capture button to activate the capture outline.
- Move the capture outline over the Colloquy Smart Transcript and resize appropriately. See the following video to see the process.
- Now adjust the chat window within CamTwist settings. To do this, go to the Settings section of CamTwist and move the black dot around until you get the positioning correct. I recommend positioning the chat at the bottom of your ustream feed. Adjust the scale and position until it looks correct. This video demonstrates the process.
Now let’s add some images to our feed.
- Add a new element to the feed called “Image Overlay”. To do this, go to the “Step 2: Select some settings” section and double click the “Image Overlay” effect. Open Finder, and browse to the folder which contains your desired image. Drag and drop the image into the well in the “Settings” section.
- While in the Settings section, adjust the scale, position, rotation, transparency, or whatever else you feel is appropriate.
Now for the Clock and Text
- Add a new element to the feed called “Clock”. To do this, go to the “Step 2: Select some settings” section and double click the “Clock” effect. By default, you’ll see a digital clock in red text. In the “Settings” section, adjust the font, font size, color, and position of the clock.
The next element we’re going to add is the branding text. This step is optional but adds some value if used appropriately.
- Add a new element to the feed called “Text”. To do this, go tot he “Step 2: Select some settings” section and double click the “Text” effect. By default, you’ll see a string of text that says “Hello World!” in a giant font. In the “Settings” section, adjust the font, font size, color, and position of the text. I recommend using your channel name, website name, or personal identifier as the text.
- The most important step of all. SAVE!!! SAVE!!
- Click the “Save Setup” button in the “Step 3: Adjust Settings” section of CamTwist. Give it a name like “Ustream” or “Mystream”. If you wish to use the configured camera source all the time, uncheck “Don’t include video source”.
- Once it appears in the “Saved Setups” section in the bottom, click the “Auto load” button to ensure the configuration launches once CamTwist launches.
You now have your own pimped out stream complete with embedded IRC chat, images, and a clock. CamTwist is a capable tool which can do much more than what I’ve described here. This should be enough to get you started. If you have any questions regarding this writeup, feel free to leave a comment or contact me at email@example.com.
Post written by Bwana