Creating CasparCG templates in Adobe CC

Those of you who know me will know I’m quite up for doing seemingly mad things if someone throws them at me and they involve some challenges of a technical nature. Back sometime in April, already planning to go along to BUCK – Europe’s largest brony convention, held in The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK – I asked their staff if they needed any technical people to help out on the day. “No, but we need a technical manager” was the response. How could I say no?

Two weeks from the gig, and things are now settling down to the nitty-gritty of producing content for the live stream. The stream itself is fairly complex – four Sony PMW-200 cameras, two of them with Wevi HD-SDI senders, a Roland V-1600HD vision mixer and a boatload of computers feeding in video. Any decent multicam production needs a little bit of glamour in the form of lower thirds (the things that pop up to say who people are) and some title cards. Of course, this being a quite low-budget production we wanted to do this on a budget. Enter CasparCG, a superb open source playout system designed and developed by our friends at SVT, Sweden’s BBC equivalent. This is a bit of a rushed walkthrough of how I put some of the stuff together. Continue reading Creating CasparCG templates in Adobe CC

Securing Webservers (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS)

So I set up a lot of boxes and quite a few of them get hammered on pretty hard by attackers looking to break them open. I’ve been doing more than usual in the way of this lately so figured I’d do a quick round up of some of my favourite tools to make life easier. These aren’t just applicable to webservers but most of the boxes I use these on are.

Recently things have changed, with IPv6 becoming not just a nice-to-have but a need-to-have these days you’ll tend to run into quite a few tools that work great for IPv4 but aren’t applicable or don’t work on IPv6 yet.

Read on after the break! Continue reading Securing Webservers (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS)

Streaming Radio – Doing it right

This is something that has come up time and time again now, and with Amazing Radio going online-only with nothing but a single Shoutcast server streaming one format at one bitrate, now seemed like a good time to write about online streaming of radio stations.

Let’s start by briefly looking at real broadcast operations – on FM and AM we try and maximise coverage (within our license), maximise compatibility, and of course we want to add as much value as we can with metadata like RDS (and now things like RadioDNS). We’re trying to reach as many people as possible, with as little fuss as possible, and trying to give people the best possible service.

This is not what many broadcasters do with their online offerings, which is a real shame, considering the potential that many stations have. So what constitutes a best-effort service? What makes life easier for listeners, and how can you make your station’s output as widely available as possible? I’m just going to skim over the technology here and break things down. I’m also going to discuss briefly what we’ve done with the streams at Insanity Radio 103.2 FM, and how we’ve worked them into apps and our new Radioplayer implementation. Continue reading Streaming Radio – Doing it right