When BirdCam Goes Mainstream

If you read my articles on when I originally set up BirdCam a few years ago, you'll remember I did it with compatibility in mind. At the time of this writing, BirdCam is simply an HTML page with the JavaScript language to refresh the images constantly, in order to create a low-fps video stream of sorts. One of the frustrations is that if I want to rearrange camera images or add a new camera (check out my recent article "Build Your Own Raspberry Pi Camera"), it means a lot of complex HTML coding. It also means the "stream" is less and less reliable, because it depends on multiple images refreshing several times a second. I want to do something more powerful.

Enter: YouTube.

My goal is to get BirdCam to stream a live video to YouTube Live, so it can be embedded on Web sites, viewed on mobile devices and even "tuned in" via Roku or Fire TV. I tried in vain to get ffmpeg and/or VLC to stream video to YouTube from the command line, but I couldn't ever get it working reliably. I haven't given up hope, but until then, I'm planning to play with Open Broadcaster Studio.

It's an open-source, cross-platform studio package that allows you to put multiple video streams, text boxes and still images into a single window that is encoded and streamed to YouTube. I couldn't get the OpenGL version required to work on my Ubuntu laptop, but the OS X version worked flawlessly in my test. With a little bit of tweaking, BirdCam 3.0 might be a legitimate 24/7 YouTube stream. If you want to play around with streaming live to YouTube, check out the awesome open-source studio software here.

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.