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BigVEncoder Quick Start Guide
Overview and Introduction
BigVEncoder is very versatile. It's primary intention is for streaming live video and audio, however,
it has many other uses as well. It can be used as a simple video player to view video files from your
hard drive or from the internet. It can be used to re-encode a video or audio file. It can pull streams
from just about any source whether it be from a live camera or microphone or from a file or internet
stream. Likewise, the output can go to a file or to an internet server or you can simply view it on
Let's take a look at the various parts of BigVEncoder and what you need to know.
The image above shows you what you will see when you launch BigVEncoder for the first time. This is the
setup page where you configure all the settings for the task you are about to perform.
On this page, you
can set the location for the source media, which is where the input stream will come from. This can be
a file, an internet stream, or a live camera/microphone feed. You set this up in the box that is titled
"Media source". In this box, you have radio buttons that identify if the source will contain
video and audio from the same location, or if they will be coming from two different locations, or if
you will be pulling in audio only. There are two drop down menus that let you decide if the source will
be from a "file or internet stream" or from a "capture card" connected to the computer.
If you are getting the source from the internet, you will manually type in the URL in the space provided.
If the source is from a file on your hard drive, you can either type in the location or click the browse
button to select it from a dialogue box and the location will be entered for you.
In the Media destination box, you will enter the location where the output is going to go. This can be to
a file on your hard drive or it can be to a media server on the internet. If you click the browse button,
you can select a folder to save to as well as a new file or an existing file if you wish to overwrite the
If you are sending the stream to a media server, you will enter the complete URL address in the space
provided. This will include the app name and stream name too. For instance, if you are sending an rtmp
stream to a server located at "mymediaserver.com" and the app name is "live" and the
stream name is "mystream", enter it like this:
Video output settings
In this box, you will enter the settings you would like the resulting video stream to contain. This is
quite self-explanatory. Some default settings are already entered for you that will work for most cases.
If you are streaming live to the internet, start out with very conservative settings until you learn
how much data you can push through your upload connection. This is the most important thing to understand
when streaming live video to the internet, most people want to use the largest resolution and highest
bitrates, but that doesn't work with slow to moderate internet connections.
Audio output settings
Just like the video output settings, this is also quite self-explanatory. Pick the settings that will work
for the encoder that is being used. Most encoders will work with the defaults that are initially provided.
Setting for Icecast streaming
While we are looking at the Audio output settings, let's learn how to stream to an Icecast server. First
select "Audio only" in the Media source box and enter the audio source. Now, in the Audio output
settings box, click the audio format menu and select "mp3/icecast". This entry won't show up
until you first click "Audio only". Now, enter the Icecast username and password that is required
for the server to accept the stream.
In the General settings box, you can select "realtime" if you are streaming a recorded video to
a media server for live viewing. It will be streamed at the same speed as if it were live. Leave this
setting turned off for when you are encoding a video and want it to get done as fast as possible.
Enter the number of CPU cores your computer has if you are doing a very CPU intensive task and you would
like to make more use of your available resources. For most moderate encoding tasks, 1 or 2 cores works OK.
Select "timed stream" if you wish to have the encoding stop after a certain length of time. You
can enter the amount of time in seconds. You can also have the audio and video begin a certain number of
seconds into the file.
Up near the top, you'll see "Current profiles". When you get all the settings to work the way
you would like, you can save a profile. Just enter a name for the profile and click the Save button. When
you restart BigVEncoder, you can select a profile and all the settings will be filled in for you including
the location for the source and destination as well as settings found on other pages. If you only have one
profile saved, it will automatically be chosen. If you have more than one saved, click the Default button
to make the current profile be the default and it will begin with that profile. The Reload button will reload
the settings from the profile if you have made changes and wish to revert back to the saved settings. The
Delete button will delete the current profile from your computer and will load a different one in its place.
Now, let's take a look at the Monitor page.
This page is very simple. Once you have your settings all configured, this is where you start up the encoder.
Just click the "Start Encoder" button and if everything checks out, you will have a stream flowing.
The text on the button will change to "Stop Encoder". Click it to stop the stream.
Before you start streaming, you can click one of the two probe buttons to get information about the media source.
Sometimes this is handy to check the resolution of the source video or audio stream or maybe you want to see
what encoding was used on the original. This will also let you know if you have the address location entered
correctly. If there is no stream available, Probe might hang for awhile waiting for a stream. If it seems to
be taking too long, just click "Stop" and then go double check the address you entered.
Always check the "output format" to make sure it is set for the format you wish to use on the
outgoing stream. BigVEncoder tries to guess what it should be and will set it for you. Look at the setting
to make sure it chose correctly. Change it if necessary.
You can also view the incoming stream by clicking "Show Input". A new window will open up to display
the incoming stream. Likewise, once you start streaming, you can click "Show Output" to view the
stream from the location where it is going to. NOTE: In some cases, when pulling a stream from a camera, you might
not be able to view the camera input once the encoder is running.
In the text box titled "FFMPEG messages", you will see info presented from ffmpeg about the stream
just before it is about to start up. Sometimes, you might want to review what it displayed to make sure the
settings you chose are actually being used.
While the encoder is running, you will see the stats in the "FFMPEG running stats" box. This will
display the number of frames, the frame rate, the amount of data sent, the total bitrate of both audio and
video combined, and any frames that are duplicated or dropped in order to keep the frame rate at the desired
On the advanced page, you will find some additional settings, mostly for when using a camera and microphone
for the incoming streams. There are 4 buttons and each one changes what is displayed in the right half of the
Click the "Video Capture Settings" and you will be able to configure the camera or the video
capture card. You can select the video capture device if at least one is available. You can select the resolution
for setting the incoming video as well as the pixel format that will be used. In the text box, you will see all the
available pixel formats and resolutions supported by the chosen device. Find the pixel format you want to use
and select it from the drop down menu. Look through the list in the text box and see which resolutions are
supported by the pixel format you have chosen and set up the camera accordingly by entering the width and
Click the "Audio Capture Settings" button to select the incoming audio source if at least one is
If you are encoding in the H264 format, click the "x264 Options" button to select the desired x264 profile
and preset that you wish to use for the resulting outgoing stream.
The "Init Capture Devices" button is only needed if you have plugged in a camera or USB device after
launching BigVEncoder. This will rescan the available hardware and set up the menus to list the devices. This
prevents you from having to shut down BigVEncoder and restart it. The devices are scanned during the intial
startup and again if this button is clicked.
I'll save the documentation for the Remote page for a later time. There is a server program that has not
yet been released in order to make use of this function. The program is very functional and is being used in-house
and will be released soon. To be brief, this feature allows 2 or more BigVEncoders to communicate with
one another. One can be set up as the slave while the others are masters. The slave does all the encoding
work and is in full control. The masters can see all the settings from the slave as well as the FFMPEG output
and can also start and stop the encoder on the slave in addition to being able to change any of the slave's
settings. In short, the master has full control of the slave. This
allows a camera crew to focus on what they do best, the camera work. Meanwhile, someone else back at the studio
can be running the encoder remotely.
Tips and Tricks
When streaming live from a camera and/or microphone, it works best if you keep "realtime" turned off.
The live stream is already in real time. Testing has shown the encoder to work best with this setting off. Use it
when you are streaming a recorded video and wish to simulate a live stream.
If your stream isn't smooth, try to determine where the problem is. In many cases, there might be a bottleneck
on your outgoing internet connection. When this happens, you usually notice the frame rate dropping or while viewing
the output, you might see pauses and jitteriness. Use lower settings such as a lower bitrate or fewer frames per
second or a smaller resolution.
Sometimes, the performance of your computer is the limiting factor. If you have a single core processor, you might
not be able to decode and encode large resolutions and high frame rates. The better the computer is the better you
can make your streaming video. However, if you are simply re-encoding an existing video and saving it to your hard
drive, it doesn't matter. Use high settings if you want, it will just take longer to get the job done.
If the encoder fails to start, there is almost always a clue in the "FFMPEG messages" box. You might find
that you have chosen an incompatible x264 profile, for instance. Go to the Advanced page and try a different profile.
You also might find that the audio bitrate or sample rate isn't compatible with the audio format you have selected
on the Setup page. Sometimes the encoder will fail to start if "auto" is selected for the output format on
the Monitor page. Choose a format that you know should be used such as flv or mpegts, etc.
If you are encoding in the H264 format and want the best possible quality, go to the Advanced page and choose a preset
that is slower than what you usually would use. The slower you go, the more CPU load your computer will have and it will
also take more time to encode each frame. For live
streaming, this is not the way to go, but for saving to a file on your hard drive, it is OK because it might not matter
how long it takes, you are looking for the best quality. For live streaming, choose a faster preset, one that won't
slow your computer down. "fast" usually works very well and has decent quality for live internet streaming.
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