UB Information Technology


Helix Documentation

Introduction

Students, faculty, and staff can create and distribute RealMedia files via the university's streaming media server. The use of this service must be for academic or University business purposes only.

Creating RealMedia Files

Before you can create RealMedia files, you must download and install the RealProducer program. You can download RealProducer Basic for free from RealNetworks at
http://www.realnetworks.com/products/producer/index.html.

After you have installed RealProducer, click start, select All Programs, then RealProducer Basic 10 to begin the program.

Recording from a File

To record from a file:

  1. Select Input file from the Input (left) side of RealProducer Basic.
  2. Enter the path to the file you wish to convert to RealMedia format in the box provided, or click Browse to find it on your computer. Click Open. The file should appear in the Destination field of the Output (right) side with a .rm extension.
  3. Click Audiences. Choose your desired Audio and Video modes. If you are converting a video file, select RealVideo 10 in the Video codec field.
  4. Under Audiences, select the appropriate rate/quality for the file's encoding. Choose the rate and click on the right arrow icon on your keyboard to add the audience to the job. Close the box when finished.
  5. Click Clip Information. You may enter any relevant information. Close the box when finished.
  6. If you want to edit the destination file location, right-click the file under Destination, then select Edit Destination. Browse for the new location, then click Save.
  7. To convert the file to RealMedia format, click Encode in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  8. When the status shows Done, the conversion is complete.

You can now upload the RealMedia file to your web space on Wings (for downloading) or Stream (for streaming) for access to the file via the Internet.

Recording from a Media Device

If you are using a video camera device for either the Record from Media Device or Live Broadcast options, do not open or run the software for the camera device before using RealProducer Basic. Having a video capture program already open or running will cause problems when RealProducer Basic attempts to initialize the video camera. Instead, keep all of the video camera programs closed, and let the RealProducer Basic initialize the device.

To record from a media device:

  1. Select Devices from the Input (left) side of RealProducer Basic.
  2. Choose the Audio and Video sources from the pull-down menus. Click Settings to make adjustments to the device.
  3. Under the Destination field of the Output (right) side, click on the r icon to Add File Destination. Enter the filename (with a .rm extension) and choose the location to which you want to save the file.
  4. Click Audiences. Choose the desired Audio and Video modes. If you are converting a video file, select RealVideo 10 for Video Codec.
  5. Select the appropriate rate/quality for file encoding under Audiences. Choose the rate and click the right arrow to add the audience to the job. Close the box when finished.
  6. Click the Clip Information button. You may enter any relevant information. Close the box when finished.
  7. To start converting the audio/video source to RealMedia format, click Encode in the lower-right corner of the screen. When the conversion is complete, click Stop.
  8. When the status shows Done, you are finished.

You can now upload the RealMedia file to your web space on Wings (for downloading) or Stream (for streaming) for access to the file via the Internet.

Streaming a Live Broadcast

Before you attempt to stream a live broadcast, you must submit a request for a username and password for the Real Producer Basic on Stream. You must be a current University at Buffalo faculty member, staff, or student in order to receive an account. Once you have received your Real Producer Basic username and password, you can proceed through the steps outlined below.

To stream a live broadcast:

  1. Choose Input file or Devices from the Input (left) side of RealProducer Basic.
  2. Under the Destination field of the Output (right) side, click on the Add Server Destination icon.
  3. In the Server Destination box, enter the following information:
  • Destination name: Stream

  • Stream name: e.g., stream.rm

  • Broadcast method: Select Push, Account-Based Login (Helix Server)
  1. Under the Broadcast Method Settings enter:
  • Server address: stream.buffalo.edu

  • Path: leave blank

  • Port/Port range: 7080

  • Transport: select TCP

  • Username: The username supplied by the streaming service support team

  • Password: The password supplied by the streaming service support team
  1. Click OK.
  2. Click Audiences. Choose your desired Audio and Video modes. If you are streaming a video file, select RealVideo 10 for Video Codec.
  3. Select the appropriate rate/quality for encoding under Audiences. You can choose up to three rate/quality values for streaming. Choose the rate and click the right arrow to add the audiences to the job. For more information on selecting the best choices for rate/quality, click on Audiences. Close the box when you are finished.
  4. Note

    Clicking Stop will end the broadcast. RealProducer Basic must be open and encoding during the entire broadcast.

  5. Click Clip Information. You may enter any relevant information you desire. Close the box when you are finished.
  6. Click the Encode button in the lower-right corner of the screen to begin the live stream on Stream. While you are encoding, the stream will be available at
    rtsp://stream.buffalo.edu/broadcast/streamname.rm (replace streamname with the name you used in Step 3).
  7. When you finish, click Stop.

RealMedia Files on Your Web Page

There are three ways to view your RealMedia files on the Web:

  • Non-Live Non-Streaming: This option is used with RealMedia files created from an existing file or media source with the purpose of being downloaded to a local hard drive. These files can be viewed at any time without connecting to the Internet.
  • Non-Live Streaming: This option uses RealMedia files created from an existing file or media source. However, a non-live streaming file is sent to a requester in such a way that he or she does not receive a copy of the file on his or her hard drive for storage and access. The file is buffered during transmission and begins to play in RealOne Player seconds after the link to the file is clicked. The requester listens to or watches the file during download.
  • Live Streaming: This is the only option available to those using the Live Broadcast option. The file is accessed through the Real Producer Basic server on Stream and streamed to the requester so that he or she receives the content in real time. As with the non-live streaming method, this option does not leave a copy on the requester's hard drive.

The following sections describe how to set up the three ways of viewing your files. These sections assume at least a passing familiarity with HTML coding.

Non-Live Non-Streaming Files

To allow your RealMedia file to be accessed in a non-live, non-streaming manner, upload the saved RealMedia file to your webspace. Next, create a link on the web page:

<a href="http://www.buffalo.edu/
~ubitname/filename.rm">Click here to access my RealMedia clip</a>

ubitname is your UBITName and filename is the name of the file. You can substitute any machine name (e.g., wings.buffalo.edu) and any text for the hyperlink to suit your needs. A user who accesses your web page and clicks on the link will be prompted to open the file or save it to a disk on a local hard drive. The clip will not play until it downloads in its entirety.

Non-Live Streaming Files

Note

A common oversight in this procedure is forgetting to set the proper permissions on your files. Set your files to be world readable and world executable (the same as your web pages) by using the command:
chmod a+rx filename, where filename is the name of your file.

When you stream your .rm file, you actually send the user your audio/video information in the same way you send him or her each of your .html pages. Provided that the user has RealOne Player installed on his machine, the open browser should recognize this "stream" and start playing it a few seconds after the download begins.

With non-live streaming, you can use the Real Producer Basic server on Stream and directly send (or "stream") your RealMedia files to a user. Streaming is much faster and easier to set up than non-streaming, and is more user-friendly. Streaming does not waste time downloading a copy of the entire clip to the user's local hard drive.

If you wish to create a page that streams RealMedia files, you must have a directory or file space available to you on the Stream disk through the UBUnix directory /net/stream. If you do not have this directory or file space on Stream, you must submit a request to have a directory created for you. After you receive notification that it is ready, follow the instructions below.

  1. Copy your encoded RealMedia files to your space on Stream via ubunix.buffalo.edu, using the directory information sent to you by the streaming service support team.
  2. In your HTML document, create a hyperlink to the file you saved in the following form:

<a href="rtsp://stream.buffalo.edu/
directory/file.rm">Click here to access my RealMedia Clip</a>


directory is replaced by what follows after insecure/ in your directory on Stream, and file is the name of the file you created. If your HTML page also resides on Stream, you can use a relative path to the file:

<a href="rtsp://file.rm>

file is the name of the file. The most important thing to remember is to use rtsp for the protocol, not http.

  1. When a user clicks on the link leading to the file, it will begin to download. The RealOne Player should start automatically and begin playing after a few seconds. The entire file does not need to be downloaded first.

If you do not have RealOne Player, you can install it on your computer from the following URL: http://www.real.com/realplayer.

Live Streaming Files

There are two methods of accessing a live, streamed broadcast that you are encoding. You can access it by clicking a link to the file on a web page, or by opening RealOne Player and entering the absolute path to the file.

  • To view a Live Broadcast through a web browser:
  1. There will be a few seconds of delay on your system from the time you open the hyperlink until the content is actually played in RealOne Player because encoding is not instantaneous. Additionally, the broadcast must travel over the network to the second computer, and a buffer is created to reduce breaks in audio/video due to network congestion. These delays ensure reliability and cannot be avoided.


  2. Type the following in your HTML document and save the page:
    <a href="rtsp://stream.buffalo.edu/ broadcast/filename.rm">Click here to access my RealMedia clip</a>

filename is the Stream Name you specified in the Server Destination field when you began encoding the live broadcast. This creates a link for your Live Broadcast.

  1. Use a web browser to view the page that you just edited, and click the link marked Click here to access my RealMedia clip. RealOne Player will start, and you will join the RealMedia broadcast in progress.
  • To view a Live Broadcast through RealOne Player:

Start RealOne Player. In the Address box, type the following URL, and press Enter on your keyboard:
rtsp://stream.buffalo.edu/broadcast/filename.rm

filename is the Stream Name you specified in the Server Destination field when you began encoding the live broadcast.

Selecting Target Audiences for Media Optimization

RealProducer Basic allows for a maximum of three audiences per job. Selecting your target audience for optimization is a process based mostly on a trade-off between audio/video quality and file size. While this is the user's decision, there are some guidelines regarding these trade-offs.

Non-Live Non-Streaming Files

Choosing the right settings for non-live non-streaming files depends on whether the file is audio-only, video-only, or video-audio.

If your file is an audio-only file, choose only one setting, based on the quality of the source file. Choosing more than one setting will result in an unnecessarily large file size.

Trial and error is the best method for finding the optimal balance of quality and file size. Create several files using different speeds and play them through RealOne Player to find the best quality for an acceptable file size.

The 128k Dual ISDN/100kbps setting is the most efficient setting for near-CD audio quality. Settings lower than Dual ISDN will save more disk space, but also reduce quality. At 150k LAN/150kbps the quality exceeds that of CD audio. Any higher rate will waste usable disk space with an unnecessarily large file.

If your file is a video-only or audio-video file, as with audio-only file, you should choose only one setting based on the quality of the source file. Trial and error is the best method for finding the optimal balance of quality and file size. Create several files using different speeds and play them through RealOne Player to find the best quality for an acceptable file size. If you do not have time to experiment with settings, use 128k Dual ISDN/100kbps for video-only files and 150k LAN/150kbps for video-audio files.

Live Streaming and Non-Live Streaming Files

Choosing the right settings for streaming files (both live and non-live) is simple if you follow these guidelines.

  • If your audience will access these files by dial-up modem only, choose three "Dial-up" settings, such as: 28k Dial-up, 26k Substream for 56k Dial-up, and 56k Dial-up.
  • If your audience will access the stream by direct Internet connection only through a local network or ResNet, or a high-speed connection such as ISDN, Cable, or DSL, choose these three settings: 128k Dual ISDN, 256k DSL or Cable, and 512k DSL or Cable.
  • If your audience is a mix of modem users, local network users, and ResNet users, choose these three settings: 56k Dial-up, 150k LAN, and 512k DSL or Cable.

Document Information

Title: RealMedia RealMedia
Document Category: Windows
Document Number:  WIN-017