I have a stream - The setup

This post is mostly about technical and logistical stuff regarding the stream, in case someone cares. You never know.

 

I had no prior experience with streaming or recording video on any platform. What I had was a twitch.tv and a YouTube account for watching videos. I also had a webcam (720p), a decently powered PC used for gaming and a headset going along with that. Fortunately, there are lots of helpful guides for setting up the stream, but it certainly helps to have a good understanding of the PC and software.

 

In order to live-stream, you need to record it live and sent it to the internet (duh). Therefore, you need both hardware (PC, microphone, webcam if you want to be seen) and software that captures your stream. I tested two such programs, OBS Studio and Twitch Studio. As it turns out, OBS seems a lot more technical and complex (probably the better choice if you want to dive in deeper), but Twitch Studio Beta was extremely accessible for me and allowed me to set up the necessary details within a day or so.

 Additionally I attempted to set up a green screen behind me. A greenscreen allows for some great shenanigans, as the color green can be filtered out by the software and replaced with a picture of your choice. I was firmly planning on using some nerdy background for each lecture (such as the bridge of the NCC-1707-D, as seen in the picture). However, as it turns out, this required some delicate lighting control which I did not have in my apartment. The problem arises if one part of the greenscreen is brighter than the other, causing a lot of graphical artifacts in the picture and causing constant flickering. Since I am not at the point yet to invest into semi-professional lighting, I had to abandon this plan.

Helpful hint: It is recommended to have two monitors for the best experience, especially if you work with slides or present other material. That is for the very simple reason that twitch allows and is based on the interaction with the audience, but this interaction happens mostly via the text-chat. That means, they audience can hear (and if you want) see you, but you cannot see them. With 200+ students, two-way video interaction would have been difficult to say the least. But that also implies, that you need to monitor the text-chat all times to catch questions since the main monitor is probably taken up by the slides you are presenting.

 I do not have two monitors. But I have a work-laptop besides my PC and I have connected them via MouseWithoutBorders so that I can steer both of them with the same mouse and keyboard, essentially making them into one PC, albeit that I cannot move program windows from one screen to another. But this allowed me to monitor the chat on the laptop and show the presentation on the PC, which worked fine.

 I had my webcam, my PC, my microphone, the text-chat on the laptop and my slides and was ready to go. Next time, I'll talk about the introduction to the lecture.