How to Live Stream Real Pinball on Twitch – Technical Basics

430316If you’ve ever watched live gameplay of real pinball machines on Twitch and wondered, “How can I start doing that myself?” well, this post is for you.

For a single game stream, a typical rig consists of:

  • A computer
  • Three cameras
  • A microphone
  • A bunch of mounts and stands and cables and connectors
  • A fast internet connection (upload speed is key!)
  • Software to make the magic happen
  • A pinball machine

For our weekly Twitch stream, “Bro, do you even pinball?” here’s the hardware we use:

Computer

Here’s the key to choosing a computer:  no matter what brand or model you go with, you’re going to need a fast enough processor.  Twitch relies heavily on your computer’s processor.  If you would like to stream in 1280 x 720 @ 60 FPS, please look for a CPU that’s got a PassMark of 6,000 or higher. It also needs to have a GeForce/Radeon Class (DirectX 10.1 or better) or Intel HD4000 graphics card.

Here’s website in which you can look up a CPU’s PassMark score:  http://www.cpubenchmark.net/

Cameras (Updated Feb. 2017)

We used to use 920s for everything but the C922 is great for the playfield camera because you can get 60 FPS at 720p, which gives you super smooth ball motion–just be sure to throw a bunch of light on the playfield. Save a few bucks and get the 920s for the DMD and player cam, or be a baller and get 922s for all three.

Microphone

Get whatever color is cheapest at the moment, unless you really need it to match your decor.

Stands

There are other solutions for this but we picked these because they’re easy to move around and fit nicely between machines. The player cam we put on the backbox of an adjacent game, or you can put it up on the backbox of the game you’re playing, just beware that the camera may move around if you have aggressive players!

Cables and Connectors

Plug as many cameras directly into the PC/laptop as you can, but put everything else into the hub. The clamps screw into the bottom of the Logitech cams and then clamp onto the monopod/boom stand.

Internet Connection

  • 5 Mbps upload speed for 720p HD

There’s a lot of discussion about this around if you want to try to squeeze more out of a slower upload speed, but we’ve found 5 Mbps up is what we need for a solid 720p stream. Be sure to disconnect anything else that may be eating up your bandwidth, too (a Slingbox was wreaking havoc on one of our networks until we disconnected it).

Software

This is probably the most infuriating part of getting the stream going. All the software kinda sucks and is pretty finicky. It’s going to take a bit of experimentation and Google searching to get it all right but the resources are out there. Here’s a good place to start: http://www.twitch.tv/broadcast

We use Xsplit broadcaster for our streams.  It definitely takes time to get used to, but overall, it’s our preffered choice as it’s easier to use than other ones out there and it’s free.  Sure, you can upgrade to a paid version of Xsplit, but it’s really not necessary.

One of my favorite features in Xsplit is the ability to seamlessly cut to other “scenes”.  Let’s say I want to quickly cut to a camera with just the playfield.  No problem, I just click on the scene button in which I’ve setup that camera.  Or let’s say you’ve got a tournament coming up that you want to promote and you’ve got a flyer for said tournament.  Again, no problem, just create a scene for that.  It’s simply to do and Xsplit gives you up to four scenes for free.

OBS is another option that a lot of streamers like but we don’t use it for our streams so we can’t speak to its benefits or drawbacks.

If you use this guide to set up your rig, let us know! We’ll follow you on Twitch and tune in.

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One thought on “How to Live Stream Real Pinball on Twitch – Technical Basics

  1. Pingback: This Flippin Stream | This Flippin' Podcast

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