Tom Glover

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Tom Glover has been interested in stage and event lighting from early 2003, after having a taste of backstage life, in his Year 6 production of Bugsy Malone. Tom has since worked on many productions for Coopers, Itaila Conti and other Independent Theatre and Film Groups. Since September 2010, Tom has been studying FdSc Broadcast Technology at Ravensbourne, a two year Foundation Degree, with an Optional one-year top-up to BSc (Hons) Broadcast Technology.

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iPhone Streaming

I’ve finally done it after two long days working with VLC and my Mac and iPhone I finally have a native live video stream to an iPhone.

iPhone Streaming

I started by looking at this site which explained a way to stream to iOS devices using HTTPStreaming and in particular adaptive HTTP Streaming. This tutorial was however out of date, like many I had found either VLC was many version behind the current or the software used to segment the stream no longer existed.

Since version 1.2 (now in version 2.0.1) VLC has been able to create HLS live streams as part of its core streaming functionality, this function though I have found to be poorly documented as it is very similar to the standard progressiveHTTP Streaming module.

Stream Requirements

  • A Video or Stream Source
  • VLC –  dummy or web interface
  • A webserver, Apache or similar

You used to also require the mediastreamsegmentator from Apple, however a version of this software has now been written into the core of VLC after the Unwired Developer created a module for VLC back in early 2010 to help streamline the process, this module has since become core functionally of VLC.

The Working VLC Code

The code below is the final code that I used to start VLC into dummy mode from the command line, then transcode and re-stream the incoming stream or video file.

/Applications/ -v -I "dummy" rtsp://  :sout="#transcode{vcodec=h264,vb=512, venc=x264{aud,profile=baseline,level=30,keyint=30,bframes=0,ref=1,nocabac},acodec=mp3,ab=96} :std{access=livehttp{seglen=10,delsegs=true,numsegs=5, index=/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/iPhone/stream.m3u8, index-url=stream-########.ts}, mux=ts{use-key-frames}, dst=/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/iPhone/stream-########.ts"

The first bold item is the incoming stream, for this I used a random RTSP stream I found online for testing, This can be replaced with a file that you wish to stream “as live”, there is also another option in this code to allow “On-Demand” videos to be created like this, but I will go into that another day.

The second bold (index=) item is telling VLC the file path of where it should store the “playlist”, the file that controls the stream, and the one you link to in the video players.

Screen Shot - Many Code Attempts

The third bold (index-url=) item is telling it how to link the .ts (Transport Stream) files in relation to the playlist file, in most cases these are stored in the same location, which means I only had to provide the file name of the stream files. The #### signifies a number which is auto generated by VLC with each file.

The fourth and final bold (dst=) item is telling VLC where to store the .ts files and what to call them, this is that system file path, similar to the index= above, including the filename.

On the right you can see the many code variations I went through first to come up with the winning combo above. The above code still needs a few tweaks to find the optimised quality to bit rate, and also a few tweaks to the number of .ts files created. Each .ts file holds approx. 10 seconds of video, and after 5 have been created it deletes the oldest and replaces it with the next 10seconds of footage, this currently allows for 40seconds or so of rewind during a live show.


To distribute HLS or AdaptiveHTTP streams is quite simple, in its simplest form all you require is a web server (Apache, Nginx, IIS) and a webpage with the <video> tag.

Mime Types however are critical and are not set as standard for most web servers, these simple flags are enough to break a stream that is otherwise behaving perfectly. To find out more about mime’s have a look here:

Configure the following MIME types for HTTP Live Streaming:

File Extension MIME Type
.M3U8 application/x-mpegURL
.ts video/MP2T

If your web server is constrained with respect to MIME types, you can serve files ending in .m3u with MIME type audio/mpegURL for compatibility.


The above quote came direct from the apple HLS Developers Site here.

For Apache systems its as simple as creating a .htaccess in the site’s folder or editing the main httpd.conf with the following two lines:

AddType application/x-mpegURL    .m3u8
AddType video/MP2T    .ts


AddType audio/mpegURL     .m3u
AddType video/MP2T    .ts

Busted iPhone - No Way to get back to Safari via Touch Control's

This then tell’s the client that the file is video and in a mpeg transport stream, which allows it to process it accordingly. Without one of these MIME flags being set, a .m3u8 file is classed as text/plain and all you load is a 10+ line document with reference links, no video.

Also without the MIME type’s being set you can end up with a black screen on the iPhone Safari, the only way to get out of this black screen is to fully exit Safari and then stop it before it loads or Exit Safari and stop the web server, this then forces an error on the iPhone and allows you to navigate the control’s again.

The Web Page

The webpage I used for this test was extremely simple, and included two lots of the <video> tag. The top set was a reference file that can be found on apple developer site, and the bottom one was the stream from my mac.

    <title>HTTP Live Streaming Example</title>
    <video src="" controls></video>
    <video src="" controls> </video>

The above code and system works flawlessly on an iOS 5.1.1 and OSx 10.7.3 (Safari 5.1.5).

A rough idea of the new set and lighting - Pre Final Focus

Snake Pit – Take 2

A rough idea of the new set and lighting - Pre Final Focus

A rough idea of the new set and lighting - Pre Final Focus

This week we have been a part of Snake Pit, the Easter school held at Ravensbourne for years 10,11,12, and 13 from local schools. For this event we provided a lighting plot and its associated rig, and then left it to be programmed and operated by Martin Higgins. The rig was fairly simple yet another experimentation ground for all involved, the Lighting plot included some extremely new fixtures (Mac AURA’s) as well as some older generation LED and Moving Lights (Chormastrips and Mac 250’s).

The majority of the lighting rig was LED with the back-wall wash, audience and truss being illuminated by LED. Source 4’s provided the the main key and fill lights for the 3 judges with the back light provided by 1k Pup’s, the Mac 250’s provided the key, fill and back light for the contestants as well as effects.

The Christie Projector shown in the photo was not used during the performance and was only on during the rig and de-rig to allow music to be played out of the house system.

3D Storytelling Conference 2012 – Lighting

The 3D Storytelling conference is over for another year and has once again been an enjoyable yet stressful experience. This years conference I (Tom) was in charge of the event’s lighting, which entailed transforming buildings bland look and creating a cinema / main lecture space, which is subtitle for 3D screenings as well as live broadcasted keynotes.

The event itself was on the 22nd and 23rd of march and consisted of a few main spaces. These main spaces were the Primary Lecture Space, this also doubled as a realD Cinema, an Exhibition Space on Level 4, a Secondary Lecture room in 212/213 and a 3D Games room in 209/10.

Way-finding for the event was assisted by colour coding the individual floors, with the same or similar colours being used on the banners and event guides. This involved gel’ing nearly 300 separate lamps ranging from standard florescent tubes to small circle spots, this itself took nearly 2 day’s on and off between 4 people. But the effect achieved, certainly enhanced the buildings character as well as completed the objective to make way-finding as easy as possible.

Along with colour coding each floor I decided to stick with the theme of colour and light the Ground Floor and Level 4 atrium walls, this was achieved with some success, through the use of 4 Studio Due, City Colours per floor. During the day these were fairly effective at colouring the walls with certain colours working a lot better than others, mainly due to the sun and the great big white tent across the road, called The O2, both helping to wash out the efforts of the City Colours. The ground floor atrium’s city colours were also used during the after event networking and this is where they really performed and brought the building to life.

I also used two Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1200HPE’s per floor to provide a break up to the solid wall of colour. This could have been very effective with a little bit more programming and timing between all fixtures. The lack of time partially came from the 1/2 day it took to get the Clay Paky’s up and running, due to a simple fault/menu which prohibited the lamp from fully striking, once this was solved they individually outperformed 2 or more of the City Colours, and were very easy fixtures to use and program.

The Alpha Spots and City Colours, were two new fixtures for me and this event was the first time I had used either of them. We had some initial trouble positioning the City colours due to there planned location (Level 4 Balcony) being designated a fire lane and a new location being sought rapidly to cover the same wall. The new compromised location’s were on Level 1 and Mezz in 3 spread out locations. This caused a few focus issues, but the final results was better than originally planned with the new positions uplighting the wall, creating a far better look from the ground floor, which originally would have been quite shadowy with all the deep circle windows.

The Walker Space, which was the main Lecture space and realD Cinema, used a completely generic rig consisting of pars, pups, and source 4’s. The main goal was to provide a dark theatre like space that kept in theme with the ground floor of the building. The walls were washed pink and originally had a slightly darker pink break-up on top. Due to complaints of inadequate light from the hospitality team the breakups were refocused from the walls onto the seating and the gel was removed, this provided some speckled white light in the room between lectures.

Overall I’m fairly happy with the outcome of this project however there is a lot I would change such as:

  • More audience lighting in the Walker Space
  • 1k’s or Strand Coda Floods for the wall wash
  • Checking Gel’s before purchase, from swatch and not relying on the Lee Filter’s Website
  • Possibly Top Hat’s on the Source 4’s to stop glare for the presenters
  • Black Wrap or Source 4’s as backlight to remove the spill onto the realD screen
  • Lighting columns or spot locations by day and whole walls by night
  • Having more time to program and adjust programming
Photo Credit: Simon Blunt and Scott Campbell

The Deets Present: Battle Of The Bands

One very long day with some amazing results and we’ve pulled it off. Today we were working on The Deets Presents: Battle Of The Bands at Coopers Technology College in Chislehurst. This event was a small budget, Battle of the Bands gig for Coopers Students to battle for the chance to win a day in the recording studio with a professional sound engineer. Using 2 Strand Coda’s, a few Strand Quatet’s and a couple of profiles we managed to knock together a great looking show with nearly no budget. We even managed to take apart the and repair Cooper’s own smoke machine.

Check out some of the photos from the event below:


More can be found on our facebook page here:

The Deets Present ‘Battle of the Bands’

We are proud to announce we are working on this next week, so if you in the Chislehurst area on Friday, pop along. Click on the image below for more details.

The Deets Present 'Battle of the Bands'

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