DIY: IRL Streaming Backpack using Raspberry Pi

Budget IRL steaming backpack uses the Raspberry Pi 4 and Speedify channel bonding software to live stream on Twitch and other platforms.

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The plan: build a cheap, do-it-yourself version of the LiveU Solo ($995). This piece of equipment incorporates hardware channel bonding and real-time video transcoding for maintaining uninterrupted video quality while moving around outside.

So we installed Speedify channel bonding software on a Raspberry Pi 4. We were able to incorporate the bonding part of the technology right off the bat. As for other main components:
* Video camera: Sony AS-300
* Capture card: Elgato Cam Link
* Remote: Circuit Playground Express
* Mobile connections to combine: USB cellular dongles, tethered smartphones

We programmed the remote buttons to control the stream. We're using ffmpeg on the Pi to live stream in 720p at 24 fps on Twitch.

Here are our requirements for this setup:

  • we want to stay pretty close to a standard IRL streaming setup on the outside, keeping cables as concealed in the backpack as possible. 
  • we also want to be able to use any standard HD video camera. So, to make it work with the Raspberry Pi, we need a capture card capable of transcoding the raw camera footage into a format that the Pi can upload. 
  • we also need to program a button that can start and stop the stream. 
  • to keep the stream stable and reliable while moving around outside, we want to incorporate channel bonding. This way, we could send data out over multiple 4G mobile connections from different carriers at the same time. 

There were 3 main processes we need to have working:

  1. Getting video from the camera into the Pi. 
  2. Turning that raw live video footage into a streamable format. 
  3. Broadcasting it through Speedify’s channel bonding VPN to Twitch. 

After deciding on the components, the budget is about $600, which is still about $1000 cheaper than the Gunrun backpack. Plus – you may not need to purchase all of this equipment if you already have similar items available.

We tried building OBS on the Raspberry Pi, but it is too unstable and ffmpeg works completely in the command line. This is ideal for being able to operate this setup, without an interface, in a backpack. If you need OBS features, other on-the-go streaming setups use cloud streaming services like Psynaps Servers for adding overlays, alerts, and controlling scenes. You would be able to use them with this setup as well.

So, after programming the remote (see here on GitHub), you can live stream online to Twitch in 720p at 24 fps. We’ve also tested it at 1080p and up to 60 frames per second, but the performance is not as reliable and the Pi is more at risk of overheating. If you’re using the Psynaps cloud streaming servers recommended by the Gunrun Backpack, you’re capped at 720p regardless.

Speedify is set to automatic start so it runs as soon as the Pi boots up. This way, we don’t need a UI for the Pi once we get everything together

Get the full story and details here:

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi 4 For live streaming and bonding multiple Internet connections
  • 1 × Sony HDR-AS300 Popular video camera used for streaming. You can use any HD camera that works with a USB capture card.
  • 1 × Micro HDMI to HDMI cable Connect the video camera to the capture card
  • 1 × GeeekPi Acrylic Case for Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, Raspberry Pi Case with Cooling Fan & 4 Heatsinks Protect the Raspberry Pi and cool it
  • 1 × Adafruit Circuit Playground Express Enclosure Protect the Circuit Playground Express, as you'll use it outside

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Speedify Labs wrote 12/02/2021 at 17:37 point

If you're interested in finding out more about building a bonding router for streaming, join us on Dec 2 from 5 PM EST and ask your questions live:

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[this comment has been deleted]

theNetImp wrote 09/24/2020 at 00:31 point

Jimmy did you ever get this working? 

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Lu1 wrote 09/30/2020 at 05:10 point

I've ran into the same issue as jimmy it seems, I'm trying to reach speedify for help

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stigmetal wrote 10/20/2020 at 09:17 point

Any solution before I go all in on this build?

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[this comment has been deleted]

theNetImp wrote 06/24/2020 at 08:55 point

It seems the original poster is MIA...  Maybe no longer with the company.

I was trying to build a docker container that I could publish this so people didn't have to deal with it themselves, but there is actually an issue with the compilation process, and it is beyond my experience.  I am going to try and link up with some friends and see if they can help some.  If I can get past the error I am getting  I'll let you know...

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theNetImp wrote 06/20/2020 at 00:14 point

I'm having a hard time installing FFMPEG on the Raspberry Pi following those instructions.  

ERROR: gnutls not found using pkg-config

gnutls is installed. I have set the CONFIG_PATH

That is what I get, anyone have any thoughts as to what may be the problem?  I am using Buster Lite as the OS.  I've try dropping it down to whatever version of Raspbian was out when the post was initially made, but have the same problem.

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UnisonRU wrote 04/07/2020 at 08:28 point

Have you tested 720p 30fps/60fps? What was the bitrate and stream stability?

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Speedify Labs wrote 10/03/2019 at 14:04 point

UPDATE: We tested the battery pack and streamed non-stop for 6 hours and 34 minutes. Here's the exciting video:

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Dan Maloney wrote 09/27/2019 at 16:41 point

Seems like this would be great for citizen journalists.

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Speedify Labs wrote 09/27/2019 at 20:08 point

... and not only! From what we tested, it's got similar functionalities to more expensive setups that are used by IRL streamers on Twitch, YouTube, etc.

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