Multisite Encoder

Living As One’s Multisite Encoder is the broadcast device which enables you to stream video and audio to remote sites with ease. This device will be located at the host site, which is where the video content is originating from.

The encoder is considered a “headless” device, meaning you do not need to connect a monitor in order to control it. Instead, the unit is controlled through a web interface called Multisite Controller.

Continue to the Encoder Installation section to begin setting up your encoder.

Encoder Installation

  • Physical​ ​mounting.​ The encoder is intended to be mounted in a standard 19” audio/video rack. All encoders are short-depth 2U rack mountable and should operate in a well air conditioned room with adequate front and rear ventilation
  • Plug in A/C power, ideally through uninterruptible power (UPS) and a voltage regulator.
  • Plug in a DHCP network connection to the ethernet port(s). If a Static IP is necessary please contact Living As One so one can be set for you, though, we recommend using MAC-based IP Reservation on your router and leaving the encoder as DHCP. The included USB Gigabit Ethernet adapter (if applicable) may be used for a second network connection.
  • Provide video signal source(s) with embedded audio. By default the encoder is set for SDI input and looking for audio on channels 1 and 2 of the lowest numbered input card (if multiple cards are present). If you have an encoder with more than one capture card but are only encoding one video channel, use the capture card labeled with the lowest number. If you need HDMI instead of SDI contact Living As One so the configuration can be changed. Important note about embedded audio: If you are using a BlackMagic Design ATEM 4K Switcher to embed audio, ensure the switcher’s firmware is version 7.1.2 or above.
  • Connect the monitor emulator to a video port on the GPU PCI card (not the motherboard I/O) for permanent installation. This may have been done already.
  • No monitor or keyboard is needed; you will not login to the device itself. Instead, you will use a web interface to control the encoder (see below).

Equipment Power

The order of powering equipment on and off is important to ensure all settings persist throughout the system. We recommend leaving your encoder powered on throughout the week so that it can receive automated updates.

To Power On:

  1. Check power, ethernet, and video inputs/outputs for proper physical connection.
  2. Power on any external devices (Cameras, Switchers, Converters, etc).
  3. Lastly, power on the Encoder.

To Power Off:

  1. Ensure the encoding process is not running (stopped).
  2. Press the power button on the front panel. This will trigger a system shutdown.
  3. Lastly, power off any external devices (Cameras, Switchers, Converters, etc).

Accessing the Encoder via Multisite Controller

Management of Multisite Encoder(s) and the events streamed on the platform is done through Multisite Controller. It is recommended that any user who needs to manage encoders or events bookmark the Controller page.

When a customer first joins the platform they are provided with a list of usernames for all of their Sites and an Administrator username. The administrator has access to all areas of the Controller, and the Site users may be granted specific permissions for things like Encoder Control as needed. For more information see the documentation on User Management.

Viewing Your Encoders

After logging into Multisite Controller with an Administrator user or Site user with Encoder Control permissions, a list of encoders available for the user’s organization will be available on the Encoders tab.

Regardless of the encoder’s power status, all encoders assigned to an organization will be visible in the list. Within two minutes of being powered on and connected to an internet accessible network the encoder will be available for control.

Static IP Address

Living As One recommends providing encoders and decoders with specific IP addresses through mac-based IP reservation (configured with a router or DHCP server). This avoids the trouble of having to set a static address on the device, and allows your I.T. team to manage all IP addresses from one location.

You can find your unit’s MAC address by clicking details next to your encoder in control, and looking under NICs.

If you still require a static IP you must contact Living As One so it can be set for you. You may submit a support ticket for this request and include the following:

  • Encoder Name
  • Static IP Address
  • Subnet Mask
  • Default Gateway
  • Preferred and Alternate DNS Server
  • A timeframe when the encoder will be powered on and connected to an internet accessible network with DHCP so the request may be fulfilled.

LAN-Mode

The LAN-mode feature allows encoders to utilize a local area network to distribute content while also utilizing the cloud. Cloud-mode allows content to be streamed over the internet, while LAN-mode will only send content locally. Both LAN and cloud mode can be used simultaneously. The encoder will maintain a full copy of the current event, and can provide that content to any Decoder via LAN Mode. Once the encoder starts a new event, the content from the previous event is automatically cleared to make room for the new event. In this case, Decoders which were pulling content in LAN Mode, will automatically begin to request the content from the Cloud instead. 

LAN-mode is best used on Decoders which share the same local area network as the Encoder and remote sites with dedicated internet connections.

You can identify if LAN-mode is enabled by looking for the “LAN” icon next to your encoders name.

E210x series encoders can allow up to eight concurrent connections. E220x series encoders are only limited by the maximum speed available on the 1 gigabit network card. You can disable LAN-mode on the decoder to limit connections. Instructions here.

Please note that LAN mode is not supported over VPN. We recommend blocking the Encoder’s IP address on VPN network segments as well as disabling LAN mode on remote site Decoders.

Input Detection

Multisite Encoders have a wide range of compatible input video formats. Once a video source is connected, the encoder will detect the resolution and frame rate and display this information in the details page next to your encoder. Input detection will automatically refresh once every five minutes while the encoder is in the “stopped” state.

To view the detected input:

  1. Log in to Multisite Controller.
  2. Under the Encoders tab click Details next to the desired encoder to access the Details page.
  3. Scroll to the capture cards section.
  4. The card(s) detected input will be displayed.

Events

Each time you start the encoding process a new event is created that holds the information and media associated with the event. There is no limit on the number of events you can create.

You can see the events you have created by navigating to the Events tab of Multisite Controller. From this tab, you can rename the event, view and edit any associated cues, view the creation and remove time for the event, and delete the event manually. Events which are not manually deleted will be automatically removed when their “Remove Time” expires. The remove time for an event cannot be changed.

Event Profiles

New events inherit the following properties of the “Event Profile” which was used to create the event:

  • Default name – The name of a new event will adopt the name of the Event Profile.
  • User Access – Events will be accessible by users who are shared on the Event Profile.
  • Cue Sharing – For those users who have access to the event, only users who have permission to “Share Cues” for the Event Profile which was used will be able to share new cues with others. If a user does not have permission to Share Cues, the user will only be able to create local (non-shared) cues on their decoder.
  • Delete After / Remove Time – An event’s “Remove Time” is calculated based on the “Delete After {X} Days” value of the Event Profile that was used to create the event. To change how long future events will remain before being deleted, you can modify the Event Profile’s “Delete After [x] days” value on the Event Profiles tab of Multisite Controller.

Encoder Profiles

Encoder profiles specify audio/video encoder settings for new events. These settings include things like scan-type, video bitrate, audio bitrate, number of video and audio channels, etc. Living As One creates a custom encoder profile based on information submitted during customer on boarding. If you need an additional encoder profile, please submit a request to support@livingasone.com.

To switch between encoder profiles under your account….

  1. Go to Multisite Controller.
  2. Select the Encoders tab on the left side.
  3. Click configure next to the desired Encoder.
  4. Under Assigned Encoder Profile use the drop down menu to select a profile.

Starting and Stopping the Encoder

The instructions below describe how to start and stop the encoding process.

Starting the Encoder

Important: Always ensure that the video source(s) providing the encoder with signal(s) are powered on before starting the encoding process. For example, if you are encoding two video signals – one from a switcher, and one directly from a camera – make sure both the switcher and the camera are powered on before encoding is started.

1. Within Multisite Controller you will see all encoders that are assigned to your organization on the Encoders tab. Each encoder will display its current status (offline, starting, started, stopping, stopped). Click the Green Start Button for the encoder you wish to start.

2. Under Assigned Event Profile and Assigned Encoder Profile select the desired profiles from the drop down.

3. Click on Start Encoder. The Status will update to “starting,” and when the encoder has fully initialized the status will change to “started.”

4. The encoder checks for new commands every 2 minutes. Within two minutes, the encoder status will change to “Started”. You should verify that a new event has been created and video/audio are properly configured.

It is a good idea to test the stream as early as possible. We recommend having a decoder at the encoding site to fully test the stream after the encoding process has started. This also gives users the ability to set cues for the remote sites. If you have a 2000 series (or above), LAN mode can be enabled for the local decoder allowing it to pull content directly from the encoder without having to make a trip to the internet.

Stopping the Encoder

1. Locate the encoder you wish to stop.

2. Click on the orange Stop button.

3. Click on the orange Stop Encoder button to confirm stopping the encoder. The Status will update to “stopping,” and when the encoding process has ended the status will change to “stopped.”

Stopping the encoder does not affect decoder playback; decoders will still be able to play the entire duration of the event.

Encoder Scheduling

Encoder scheduling will allow your encoder(s) to be configured with a one-time or regularly scheduled start-time, and will automatically stop after a predesignated event duration. Organizations with multiple encoders across different locations can opt to run their encoders biweekly (every other week).

Creating a Scheduled Event

  1. Click the blue schedule event button in the top right corner.
  2. Create a description for the schedule. By default, your events will reflect the name of the schedule description. You can change this under the “Name Event Using” dropdown menu.
  3. Choose your desired encoder, encoder profile, and event profile.
  4. Select the start date.
  5. Designate the schedule as recurring or one time.
  6. If using a recurring schedule, you can set an end date or let it run indefinitely. End dates are inclusive which means the schedule will not end until after the set date.
  7. Input the start time, your time zone, and the duration. Make sure the encoder will be receiving a valid video source before the start time.

Once the schedule has been created, your encoder will automatically run at the specified times.

Platform Contacts

The Contacts tab within Control is where you can list contact information for those wishing to be notified of problems which could affect your streaming event.

Living As One support engineers will refer to this contact list to proactively make notifications if a problem at one of your sites is detected. Please ensure this list is kept up to date so our engineers can do everything possible to help you have a successful streaming event. We recommend including IT admins, Tech Directors, and individual campus contacts whenever possible.

Streaming Alerts

Streaming alerts are automated messages sent by your encoder(s) to notify you when a problem is detected. These alerts are sent via email and are intended to help you and your team quickly identify and correct a problem before it impacts your event. They can include things such as low bandwidth, loss of video signal, or failure to start encoding. We recommend adding alerts@livingasone.com to your email filter white list to ensure timely delivery.

To enable or disable streaming alerts for specific users in control….

  1. Go to contacts.
  2. Click edit next to the desired contact.
  3. Toggle streaming alerts to “Yes” or “No”.
  4. Click Save Changes.

Correcting for Video Sync (Dual Video Only)

A variety of factors could effect the synchronization of two video signals coming into an encoder. For example, if Video Input #1 is sourced from a production switcher and Video Input #2 is sourced directly from a camera, Video Input #1 might appear slightly behind Video Input #2 due to a processing delay introduced by the switcher.

If you notice that your encoded videos appear out of sync, Living As One can apply a video offset to synchronize the video inputs for future encoding sessions. Please submit a support ticket requesting a video sync evaluation. For the evaluation you will need to have both input sources (cameras) pointed at the same source. The source needs to display something that is easy to identify timing, a good example is a clock — you can find an online digital clock here.

Resetting the Power Supply

Certain encoders are equipped with a redundant power supply for increased reliability. If one of the power supply units fails or loses power an alarm will sound indicating an issue. You can reset the alarm by pressing the red reset switch on the back of the unit.

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Getting Started

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Decoding