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I still need to test it properly, but I think it is very much possible to use ffmpeg to stream to tunemelt (a video CDN) directly. We can stream ffmpegs DirectShow input to the Tunemelt RTMP.

Update: Apparently even though Tunemelt accepts the stream, it is not properly linked to the Stream Name. I suspect the problem lays in the unconventional way of authenticating, where user/pass have to be entered in the path. I’m not sure if there’s any way around this…

In order to do so, the first step is to find the device name of the webcam and sound input. Do this by typing the following command:

ffmpeg -list_devices true -f dshow -i dummy

Example output is:
ffmpeg device
In my case, we need the “General Image Devic” and “Line In (2- IDT High Definition”.
Use the following command to start streaming this device to tunemelt (-r for frame rate of 30, if necessary, specify the proper output resolution of -s 1280×720).

ffmpeg -f dshow -i video=”General Image Devic”:audio=”Line In (2- IDT High Definition” -c:v libx264 -r 30 -f flv rtmp://[email:password]/[stream-name]

For added bonuspoints integrate a logo overlay. Use a png with transparency and use the -vf overlay command.

ffmpeg -f dshow -i video=”General Image Devic”:audio=”Line In (2- IDT High Definition” -vf “movie=logo1.png,scale=120:120 [watermark]; [in][watermark] overlay=10:10 [out]” -c:v libx264 -preset ultrafast -r 30 -f flv rtmp://[email:password]/[stream-name]

The end result is a nice video stream with logo overlay sent directly to Tunemelt.

Together with some guys from /r/realdubstep we started a new radio station. It’s a very community driven radio station, but with DJs pushing the sound nonetheless.

Anyways, I did my best to face all the technical challenges that go around in creating a radio station and website for this, and in the coming weeks we will be going live with the latest website. I plan on writing a description of the steps that I took for creating what I did, for documentation sake and in hopes of spreading some of the information for people that face similar challenges.

In short, the entire radio system runs on a VPS hosted at Icecast for the radio backend.

  • WordPress for the website.
  • jplayer for the onsite radio player.
  • qwebirc for the onsite chatroom.
  • And some self-coded PHP and Python for chatbots and twitter bots and stats all.
    • In addition the analytics part of the website is quite advanced, providing us insight in how well the DJ’s on the website are doing (how many listeners the DJ’s attract, how long the listeners stay).

      I will chop up the entire system in two or three parts and describe them along the following weeks.

    We spent a long weekend cycling in Sardinia. Going all around the north coast. In total we cycled 360km.

    The route started in Alghero and went over 4 days as follows:

    1. From Alghero via Porto Torres to Castelsardo
    2. From Castelsardo to Santa Teresa
    3. From Santa Teresa to Perfugas
    4. From Perfugas via Sassari back to Alghero

    In addition we brought a Rollei Youngstar action cam and edited some of the footage in some music. All put underneath the lush vibes of Trashbat’s Dreaming of Fiji off of his Mindstep release Hanako. Check it out!

    -“You want to be a PhD student because you are afraid to leave the safe haven of university.” –“You go into corporate life because you’re not smart enough to be in academia.” Two sentences I have heard illustrating how some highlight differences between these the academic and corporate worlds. However, these two worlds can benefit from each other greatly.

    Too fundamental

    In academia PhD students – for example – devote four years of their professional life to the pursuit of knowledge. Regardless of how proficient the student is, practical applicability is not a requirement of their track. New, fundamental knowledge that can later be used, or ignored, is the main product: Innovation in its purest form.

    However, this approach runs the risk of losing connection with the ‘real world’. The knowledge may end up in a dissertation that is cited a number of times within a confined area of research and that’s it.

    Risky Innovation

    In the corporate world innovation is a business risk. Only a percentage of new ideas lead to profitable applications so it is often smart to be a quick follower rather than a first mover. This risk creates a trade-off between exploration (or the aforementioned innovation) and exploitation (doing everyday business producing revenue).

    Exploration is an activity you can only engage in if revenues generated through exploitation cover the risk of time wasted on explorative work that does not lead to future revenues. The result of this risk is that companies lack an incentive to generate new knowledge or ideas even though they often face questions that go beyond every-day activities.

    Combining the two

    The two worlds described in the previous paragraphs can benefit from each other tremendously. If the two can meet somewhere in the middle, collaborations may result in applicable innovations that contribute to the academic state of the art.

    In my current job I am expected to embody this combination, which is translated in its structure. I work 40% as a Technical Consultant, exploitation as described above. I work 20% as a PhD student. The remaining 40% I spend in between these two worlds.

    An example of the work in between these two worlds is the current master thesis I am supervising. In this study the owners of the website acknowledged that the audience of their website may have changed over time. They however do not have the means (time and knowledge) to investigate this themselves. Drawing on the body of scientific literature provided a way to answer this question, which resulted in a study on their website that answered the original question and an additional, academically relevant question here broadly described as “what can we tell from objective behavior of visitors on websites?”.

    This first step in combining corporate questions and my own academic research illustrates how a “real-world” question can be answered in a way that is beneficial for both a company and academia.

    In general

    This type of collaborations is the future. Budget deficits in the university departments increase the need for external funding. The need for innovation in companies increases. And both these needs create room for negotiation for the two to meet each other in the middle.

    And both worlds can benefit from these collaborations: Companies have a way to access innovative power with a limited investment, and by ‘out-sourcing’ the research they provide resources to an academic partner. Apart from monetary, these resources also consist of the opportunity of moving research away from the university campus into society, increasing ecological validity and thus scientific value.

    For universities knowledge valorization is becoming a prominent issue on the agenda, with the goal of moving academic research towards the market, increasing visibility and possible revenues. Collaborations between companies and universities guarantee this knowledge valorization.

    Apart from benefits there are challenges. One example is the possible issue of intellectual property. A university is appraised on publications that may result in a company losing its leading position or first mover’s advantage. Another example is the different standards (i.e. corporate research reports are not assessed with the same level of scrutiny as academic publications), thus finding the right balance here is another challenge.

    Even though corporations and academia are said to be worlds apart, instantiating collaborations between them in the right way will advance both worlds. Acknowledging the benefits and challenges and simply trying collaborations in this form will be way to move both of these worlds forward.

    Tomorrow I leave for Dublin to attend RecSys2012. Together with Dirk Bollen and Martijn Willemsen I performed a study on how memory effects influence the ratings people will give. The main finding is that as time passes between watching and rating, people tend to give less extreme ratings. Presumably this is because people forget the details on how or why they liked or disliked the movie.

    Using our psychological background we were able to predict that submitted ratings would change over time. The next step is researching these effects more in-depth and using it to better model user preferences. The poster that I will be presenting is below. A link to the proceedings will be added when they are published.