Category Archives: Video

My Live Streaming / Video Conferencing Setup

Telecommuting. Video conferencing. Zoom calls. Some folks shudder at these ideas, while for others these tools are second nature. Now with COVID-19 self-isolation mitigations in effect for nearly two full months, lots of folks without a heavy technical background are beginning to overcome the hurdles to reap the benefits of video conferencing tools.

I’ve been working from home “75%” since March of 2018 and I’ve been contributing to various open-source projects with people around the world since 2015 (not-to-mention that my teenage years were during ‘the rise of social media’), so the concept of online collaboration and communication have become second-nature to me.

Recently, however, I’ve been investing more into my own online-communications toolkit both for live-streaming my software creation process, as well as to enjoy higher-fidelity video conferencing. In this post, I’m going to explain my setup.

First, let’s start with the cameras. I’m a little on the frugal side, so instead of forking out $90-$120 for a mid-tier Logitech C920 (which are decent entry-level cameras), I took a critical look at one of my spare cell phones. The LG G5 (H830) touts a 5 MP, f/2.2, 18mm 1080p “selfie camera”, which is more than sufficient for calling: with the added benefit that I get an always-on monitor of my “outgoing image!”

To make this cellphone-as-a-webcam scenario work, I use an app called RTSP Camera Server on the phone. This opens any of the H830’s three cameras for access via RTSP. To get this video stream onto my computer, I use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) with the OBS-Gstreamer plugin to get a malleable real-time stream of the video from my phone’s camera into the OBS workspace.

LG G5 H830 in flexible tripod being photographed by an LG G5 H830 in my hands

Once the stream is in OBS, I’m able to refine the video (crop, adjust colors, filters, etc) and switch between different sources like a screen capture, some “be right back” text, or include video from more than one RTSP camera. I even have two of the exact same phone (the humble H830 is available for $79 on Amazon) so that I can easily demonstrate the focal point of a project or provide a different perspective without causing a “home movie” style camera movement.

OBS Video mixing screen

As you might guess, the super-rich OBS plugin ecosystem has a few options for “consuming” the video from OBS. If I’m joining a video conference call, I use the OBS-VirtualCam plugin to “connect” the output of OBS to the “input” of whatever video conferencing application I may be using (Zoom,, Facebook, etc). If I’m live-streaming a project, I use OBS’s built-in streaming functionality.

Overall, this whole video pipeline works pretty well, and gives me a lot of flexibility for both video conferencing as well as for live-streaming to or YouTube.

Moving on to audio: I use an Audix OM2 microphone which has a hypercardioid pickup pattern that accepts sound aimed directly into the microphone while rejecting noise from the sides or from behind the microphone. This narrow-angle pickup helps a lot with reducing background noise from my computer fans or from other people in the same room.

Audix OM2 Hypercardiod Microphone

Since this microphone connects via XLR, an audio interface is necessary. I use the low-cost, yet perfectly sufficient Behringer UM2 to convert the analog XLR signal into a digital USB signal.

For headphones, I use the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones. The headphones are light and feel comfortable on the ears, wile providing a very accurate and detailed sound.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones.

That’s the quick summary of my videoconferencing / live streaming setup! I’ll be glad to answer any questions or to hear what tools you’re using!

VAInfo: Verify Hardware Accelerated Video Support

On Ubuntu (and possibly other) Linux distros, run vainfo to see which Intel QuickSync profiles are supported.

For example, these profiles are supported on an Intel Haswell chip:

libva info: VA-API version 0.39.0
libva info: va_getDriverName() returns 0
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri/
libva info: Found init function __vaDriverInit_0_39
libva info: va_openDriver() returns 0
vainfo: VA-API version: 0.39 (libva 1.7.0)
vainfo: Driver version: Intel i965 driver for Intel(R) Haswell Desktop - 1.7.0
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264MultiviewHigh      : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264MultiviewHigh      : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264StereoHigh         : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264StereoHigh         : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileVC1Simple              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   : VAEntrypointVideoProc
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           : VAEntrypointVLD