December 17, 2017

CHPMNK

CHPMNK, which stands for Complete Hyper Processed Media Networking Kit is Sanford News Network’s live video streaming system.  It is fully self-contained, and given one electrical socket and either ethernet, WiFi, or a strong cell signal, it can produce a multi-camera, produced, full 1080p video stream that can be watched anywhere in the world.

This system is the second generation of streaming equipment for Sanford News Network.  The original generation, which had no official name, was capable of producing a 360p livestream with hardware video switching, minimal production, and low frame rate (resulting in choppy video).  It consisted of an old, used MacBook, several cameras outputting via composite video cables, a composite switcher (hardware video switcher that had several inputs, one output, and mechanical buttons to switch which input went to the output), an audio mixer, and a wireless microphone set.  The major bottleneck in this system was the MacBook, since its lack of speed and power prevented us from having a high quality broadcast.

This CHPMNK, all of the issues with the first generation were solved, while adding significantly increased capability and expandability. A new computer was built with high-end components and 3 Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro internal cards, allowing the system to handle 3 1080p inputs at the same time, without the need for external hardware.  The new computer runs at speeds about a dozen times faster than the previous system.  This computer is mounted in a case similar to those used by musicians.  Also in the case are an integrated display, keyboard, mouse, power strip, wireless mic set, audio mixer, and a drawer for storing cameras, batteries, and the like.  The case can be closed for transportation, and contains everything necessary for a live stream.

 

Credit for this project goes to Jack Warren for planning and construction of the system, and to media adviser John Fritz for assistance in procuring components and assembly.  Currently, Martin Hunt manages what events are covered and organizes teams of Sanford News Network members to run the live streams.

About Author

Jack Warren

Certified computer wizard. jackwarren.info.

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