Have you ever wondered just what goes into streaming our GT Sport vSprints online? Here’s the answer! We have 3 people who come together to make it happen.
Clerk of the Course
The Clerk sets up the audio party for competitors to join and creates the room in the lobby for racing. They act as paddock marshal and timekeeper. Essentially, the Clerk makes the event happen. The Clerk will tell the drivers when to leave the pitlane to avoid baulking other drivers (required because there’s an out-lap before the hot lap) and writes down the times in a Google Sheet. The Clerk will watch the timing screen on the PS4 all the way through the event, coordinating the drivers who are there and giving briefings to the new drivers who don’t know what to do.
The Commentator has two laptops and a PS4 to coordinate their activities. They watch the live stream and commentate on it through a Zoom chat session on one laptop and have the live times and driver information on a second laptop. They also listen to the Clerk on the PS4 audio chat and the Director over the Zoom session.
The Director is responsible for getting the video stream out to the viewers. They control spectator mode on the PS4 to select the correct car on track for viewing, ensure the stream is running correctly and respond to messages on social media.
Hardware and Software
All these roles are backed up by a plethora of hardware and software to get that video to you. The Director’s PS4 is connected to an HDMI network capture device, which streams the video output from the PS4 over a dedicated streaming network to the primary streaming server. This server runs OBS, which combines the Playstation output with the live timing data, audio from the commentator (via Zoom) and pushes it out to Restream, which sends the data to several streaming services.
The timing data updates every 2 seconds using a web app that gets its data from a Google Sheet that the Clerk fills in and the Commentator uses. The primary streaming server also streams to a Zoom chat session for the commentator to use. This means that we can add extra commentators just by them joining the Zoom session.
The live stream gets sent to Facebook by a second streaming server by re-encoding the YouTube stream. It’s inefficient, but cheaper than buying the Restream functionality for Facebook Pages and still allows the primary streaming server to use the Restream OBS plugins for responding to messages on all the social media platforms other than Facebook. A laptop is used for communicating with Facebook watchers and keeping an eye on the Facebook streaming quality.
What do you think of our setup? Have you watched our streams? What do you think we could improve?
If you need a picture to work this all out, here it is in one single picture. The blue boxes are people and their equipment, the green is timing data and the video goes from yellow to orange and red as it is re-encoded. Simple stuff, eh?