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Watchout Media Server and OBS integration


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My guess is that Jhannah was asking whether it's possible to use Watchout as a playback system and inject the output into OBS (or other video systems) for streaming. My other guess is that a lot of media-server operators are being asked the same question at the moment and, unfortunately, the answer is that it's not as easy as it could be. With no support for NDI output from Watchout, your options are either piping Watchout output into a capture card on your streaming server (and eating the 2-3 frame latency you will no doubt get) or using a device like a Birddog to convert a HDMI output to NDI (and maybe only dealing with 1-2 frames of latency). Which, incidentally, is one reason why I see lots of Watchout servers gathering dust in warehouses at the moment while vMix and OBS systems are flying off the shelves.

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I was asking because my University is getting into streaming for its productions this year and we happen to own a WATCHOUT media server, and I'm not certain our budgeting will allow us to buy anything new this year. The infographic for ZOOM OSC shows a information flow between ZOOM OSC and programs like Isadora and QLab running potentially on a separate media server, and so I was wondering if there was any way to use the Media server, and possibly WATCHOUT, since that is a program I'm familiar with to integrate with ZOOM OSC. I'll be up front that I'm not super up on all the tech with this as I normally serve as a Theatrical Master Electrician, but with in person events shut down for the foreseeable future I'm doing my best to learn. So if anyone has any suggestions or tips, if possible, if you could filter them through language for the layman I'd appreciate it.

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I think Jhannah is referring to this page: https://www.liminalet.com/zoomosc which shows 'Zoom OSC' software sending/receiving OSC commands to/from media software like Qlab and Isadora. The main problem there is that Watchout doesn't (currently) work with OSC so you would need a little bridge app to deal with communication if you need synchronised switching of sources and graphics, for example. However you could add your Zoom meeting as an NDI source to Watchout, add PIPs and graphic overlays as required in Watchout and then - as others in this thread have suggested - capture the output from Watchout as an NDI source in OBS for streaming. Native NDI output from Watchout has already been posted on the feature request thread but would make this kind of setup much easier - and built-in NDI would (hopefully) mean support for an alpha channel, so that one could send graphic overlays to external software without dealing with key & fill or chroma keying.

Using Watchout for streaming projects might seem like overkill but I think it offers some advantages: Final output may just be a single video stream, but a virtual studio might have several surfaces on which content can be displayed: animated backdrops, screen inserts, graphics overlays. Being able to manage content for each destination with separate Tasks & Displays in Watchout seems like a good way to manage that. For a simple project, cueing a video file from PlaybackPro or Qlab might be enough, but being able to use the compositing features of Watchout to overlay different backgrounds, PIP frames and other video content can make life much easier once things get more complex. Apart from anything else, being able to import and cue content in a different system from the streaming software (where the operator is already managing live camera switching and remote connections) seems like a good idea!

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„...but a virtual studio might have several surfaces on which content can be displayed: animated backdrops, screen inserts, graphics overlays. Being able to manage content for each destination with separate Tasks & Displays in Watchout seems like a good way to manage that. ...“

Indeed, hopefully Dataton goes this route,because this is something that for example OBS falls short. No timeline...

So, for the wishlist. Make NDI an addition or alternative to Hardware-displays. With a respective model in licensing.

It will take some time until usual events will come back, I am sure.

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