In this, our third post on streaming using Facebook Live, we will share a method for streaming to Facebook Groups from a NewTek TriCaster, and can be applied to other professional production software packages designed for live streaming.
So what makes stream to Facebook Groups different from streaming to a Facebook Page, something we covered in our previous post?
Regardless of the destination on Facebook you would like to stream to, the process for setting up a stream is the same: have Facebook generate a 'STREAM KEY' - a unique identifier for the stream - and then use it to configure an RTMP stream to their Server URL - typically "rtmp://rtmp-api.facebook.com:80/rtmp/".
What is different with Facebook Groups is that there is no direct way in a Facebook GROUP interface get the STREAM KEY needed to configure the live stream. Facebook Pages offer a 'Publishing Tools' tab which gets you to their Live Streaming options for the page (under 'Video Library->LIVE'), but no equilivent options exists under Group pages.
That said, Facebook does provide a fairly rich API that will allow us to get the Stream Key associated with most of the places on Facebook we can stream to - including GROUPS!
To simplify things for everyone, we created a general web-based utility that will let you access the URL and Streaming Key that you need to stream to your own or a friend's NewsFeed (Timeline), any page you manage, as well as your Facebook Groups.
You can access the utility here: http://www.gnuralnet.com/facebook-live-streaming-utility
When you open our Facebook Live Streaming Utility page, you will see the following:
Clicking on the 'Create Live Stream To Facebook' button will open a pop-up window that will walk you through the details needed to get a Streaming Key. Make sure that you allow pop-up's in your browser or this window will be blocked.
The first selection will be selecting where you would like to stream your video. It covers a range of destinations you can use. In this case we want to Share in a GROUP.
Select that and then click NEXT.
You will then be asked to enter the name of the group you would like to stream to. Since Facebook gives you the ability to stream to any group that you are a part of, there is no way to initially display them in a simple drop down. Instead, you will need to start typing in the name of the group:
As you do that, a dropdown will appear showing the names of the groups you belong to that match what you've typed. In this case, I have a group called Facebook Live Professional Streaming that I will be sending my live video to. Select the group you want to stream to, and then click on NEXT.
This will open up the last screen you will need to work with, our Configuration Page with all of the information needed to get your stream Live.
You can add the Title for your live stream along with any tags that can make it easier to find - especially for live viewers. This page also has the STREAM KEY you will need to configure the TriCaster.
With this key, you can go to your TriCaster's streaming settings, select Legacy, and choose Flash:
This will open a configuration panel for the stream:
You will need to enter the details from the Configuration Page, along with your Facebook ID and Password, to get the stream setup. When everything looks good, then start your stream from the TriCaster.
With the stream running, just switch back to the browser popup to preview the stream. If all looks good, then just click Go Live. Note that this utility requires Flash to be installed since the preview is handled as an RTMP stream. Make sure it's installed on whatever browser you want to use to run this. (NOTE: This utility requires Flash to be installed since the preview is handled as an RTMP stream.)
That's it - you're now live streaming to a Facebook Group.
The most significant advantage you get when streaming to a Facebook Group is that you get to choose who is part of the group. If you live stream to a page, anyone that goes to that page can see it. If you are looking to stream an event to people withing a company or otherwise limit it to a select set of viewers, Facebook Groups is the way to go.
In case you missed them, check out the other posts in our 'Facebook Live' Series:
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