Travel Thoughts – Hearst Castle Live Stream Fail

Well, I attempted to live stream from Hearst Castle in San Simeon, and I failed epically at it, but did manage to record this backup.

I was all set. I had all the cables (and then some) a man might ever need in his life. I had a massive external battery pack that could literally power everything for days. I had tested my RX0 and made sure it would send video to my live streaming box properly. Even with all this proper prior planning to prevent problems, none of it mattered. It still didn’t work at all.

I shall explain.

You see, you can plan and prepare every bit of hardware to your heart’s content, but if you want to live stream none of this, including your live stream hardware, amounts to a hill of beans if you don’t have cell reception – which I didn’t. As nearly as I can tell, William Randolph Hearst must have been a Verizon Wireless customer because, well, I’m on AT&T and got no service at all there, which sucked. When I tour museums, I have a personal policy of not being distracted by using my phone to consume digital content in any way. But I do need a solid outbound connection for the purposes of sharing content and unfortunately, Hearst Castle is not the place to go for AT&T Wireless customers.

My setup was designed with redundancy and high quality archiving in mind though, so I was able to bring back a copy of all footage taken there, but I have to admit, it did not come out great as this was my first time running this setup and I came away with a ton of notes. In a separate series of posts, I’ll chronicle my attempts to build a small, efficient, smooth, and stable live stream/vlogging setup, which has been quite a journey in and of itself.

What I will say here is that I had too much going into this, and need to refine things. After all, it’s only money.

This video was shot utilizing an Sony RX0, mounted on my backpack strap, which was outputting 4K UHD raw video to an Atomos Ninja Flame. I won’t get into the live streaming because it failed miserably, so there’s no point. Unfortunately, my workflow simply isn’t powerful enough to process the 4K ProRes 422 footage the Flame enables, and so I wound up having to downsample the footage to 1080 in order to have something I could grade, denoise, stabilize, and render out in a reasonable amount of time. The result wasn’t great, but as with most things one stumbles through in life, this was a learning experience.

Hearst Castle itself was marvelous. I had not been since I was a young lad, and I had no memory of the interiors at all. They were stunning and I couldn’t imagine being invited to this place to just hang out. A selection of high resolution photos can be seen on Behance or in The Gallery. As always, no license is granted without prior permission and licensing. Enjoy.