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Creating a Live Video Experience from a Playlist of Recorded Videos

From live sports events to a captivating webinar, live video hooks viewers’ attention. The experience of a live video differs from that of an on-demand video, like watching live television differs from watching a recording. The viewer of a live video stream cannot fast-forward or speed up a live stream: all viewers will always be at the same point-in-time. Jumping into a live stream after it has started will take the viewer to its current location, not to the beginning.

When to Build Live Video Out of Pre-Recorded Segments

Because of these differences, it’s sometimes useful to create a live video experience from pre-recorded assets:

  • Replaying inspirational webinars or live performances with a Live Streaming experience.
  • Replaying pre-recorded training seminars or classes that are required to start and end at a specific time and must be watched fairly by viewers.
  • Filling gaps in a continuous, 24/7, live stream when no live content is available.
  • Providing a continuous video stream for Digital Out of Home (DOOH) digital signage or other public screens.
  • Playing looping brand content to bookend a major live event.

Why Not Just Stream a Playlist?

A playlist of on-demand videos, while easier to set up, creates a distinctly different user experience (useful in its own regard). A standard playlist will allow users to access the video or videos on their time, and watch them at their leisure—including pausing, skipping in a video, or skipping between videos at their discretion. A playlist can also be set to “repeat”, providing a way to power public screens with looping content. This isn’t possible or desirable in many situations, however:

  • Some training and certification courses mandate that viewers view a training recording all together, at the same time. They must not be able to jump forward or backward in the stream — like a live session.
  • Production teams may need to cut between pre-recorded video and a true live stream. This cannot be done easily with a standard video playlist.
  • Finally, digital signage or public screens may need to be synchronized. A live stream provides a simple and effective way to accomplish this.

This article explains how to stream a playlist of pre-recoded videos as a Live Stream, using Kaltura and several free, open-source tools. This process highlights Kaltura’s ability to integrate with a wide range of video industry standards and existing applications. Going through this process also allows us to become familiar with several advanced Kaltura features, like customized Syndication Feeds.

The benefit of this process is that you do not need to download and manage videos locally on your computer. Your videos remain on Kaltura and you can edit your playlist as needed to change your assets.

If you’re ready to get started with the complete how-to article, jump in: Creating a Live Linear Stream from a Playlist of Recorded Videos.

Otherwise, let’s get an overview of the tools and process.

Setting Out the Tools

In this article, we will be using Open Broadcaster Software Studio (OBS) as our live stream production application. OBS is a professional-grade video recording and streaming application that meets a wide range of amateur, semi-pro, and professional use cases. It also happens to be free and open source, making it an excellent partner for Kaltura. The software is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

In order to follow the steps of this tutorial, you’ll need:

A playlist ready to be streamed as a live experience.
Figure 1. A playlist ready to be streamed as a live experience.

Key Steps

Ready to get started with the full set of instructions? Visit the how-to article on Kaltura’s Knowledge Center.

Otherwise, let’s look at the main steps of the process:

1. Download and setup OBS Studio and VLC player on your computer.
– If this is the first time you’ve configured OBS, follow the instructions and best-practices in the how-to article.
2. Create a Kaltura Live Stream entry that will play your live video stream. You may also create a new player for this experience. Any pre-existing Kaltura player in your account will also play live streams.
3. Configure your Kaltura playlist. You will not need to download any assets locally to your computer.
4. Create a Syndication Feed in your Kaltura account, which will provide you with an XML file that you can import into OBS Studio.
-Customize the Syndication Feed using the provided XSLT file to conform it to the XSPF format, compatible with OBS and VLC.
5. Add the Syndication Feed as a “VLC Source” in your OBS Studio.
6. Begin the stream! After a minute, your Entry will be streaming your playlist as a live experience, and you can embed it using your preferred player.

OBS Studio showing active stream.
Figure 2. OBS Studio showing active stream.

Once your stream is going, you will need to keep OBS Studio running as long as you wish for your stream to be active. If you performed these instructions on an existing OBS Studio installation, you can now use this Scene as you would any other: cutting to and from it, or transitioning across other available sources. Enjoy!

Conclusion

This article explains how to stream a playlist of pre-recoded videos as a Live Stream, using Kaltura and several free, open-source tools. Streaming pre-recorded videos as a “Live Linear” stream provides many benefits for certain use cases. It ensures that viewers view the content sequentially, without skipping backward or forward though the playlist (like watching TV). It also allows a live stream to be simulated for viewers during times when real live content is not available. Live Linear streams can also be useful for public displays (including digital out-of-home advertising), or websites that normally contain live shows.

To view the complete set of instructions, please visit Creating a Live Video Experience from a Playlist of Recorded Videos on Kaltura’s Knowledge Center.

Kaltura player showing a Simulive video stream
Figure 3. Kaltura player showing a Simulive video stream.

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