pod: Streamlined workflow v1.2 and OBS and Zoom bugs

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pod: Streamlined workflow v1.2 and OBS and Zoom bugs

OK, if you can believe it, I'm now doing four podcasts a week. Ok, two are private "video journals", but still that's a lot of videos. In the course of this, I've learned how to crash OBS and Zoom (a lot!) and how to bring a 64GB M1 Pro Max to its literal knees. that is quite an achievement!

I already went through a version 1.1 workflow for doing this and an initial v1.0 podcast workflow, so here is an upgrade that covers the common bugs I've found while recording and also some speedups in the post-production.

OBS and Zoom Freezes: Require Restart and Reboot.

This is probably the biggest issue, what I'm doing is pretty complex (if fun). That is, I have a Zoom Window with the remote co-host, this gets fed in as a MacOS Capture, then using Virtual Camera, this gets fed out to Zoom so that the co-host can see the composited screens. But I can get a bunch of different hangs. My current solution is not to leave this stuff up for long, so before a session, reboot the machine and start afresh because it sure feels like a buffer overflow problem

  1. Outstanding Bugs in OBS Virtual Camera to Zoom. This is a huge boon to folks because it allows the remote co-host to see exactly the video screen. The problem is that it can get really flaky. For one thing, you can get into a state where the Virtual Camera refuses to update. Some folks are trying to go back to OBS 28.1, but the symptom that I see is that the OBS Virtual Camera input hangs. The fix seems to be to reboot Zoom. But I've also found that OBS can get unresponsive as well. This is really frustrating as I can't tell why it is happening, but a full reboot of the Mac helps.
  2. OBS hangs with Zoom or Application input using MacOS Application or Windows. I'm using the new MacOS Capture tool a lot and it is not clear what is more reliable Screen Capture, Application Capture, or Window Capture, but what happens is that the Zoom input gets laggy. Apparently, this is a new driver and the legacy one is Display Capture which seems to work while Application and Window Capture is new, so I might try to go back to that, but if I go back to Display I think I lose the audio input which Application and Window capture give you.
  3. OBS gets laggy on Logitech BRIO camera input. A similar problem, suddenly, OBS starts to lag and the frame rate for the camera input slows to 1-2 frames per second. The fix seems to be to restart OBS which isn't super great. There are reports that this is BRIO-specific and that downgrading to 1080p is the answer. Not such a great answer as this is a 4K camera, but on the other hand in my videos, I never show this full frame. Also, it says to leave buffering off which I do.

The good news is that looking at the OBS Stats window, it isn't a problem with the SSD, but I do see GPU utilization go to 80%, so I think there is something spinning away madly between this software. It is great when it works.

Managing Windows and Color: Resizing is a pain

I need to invest in something that snaps the windows and restores them all. This is because when using the MacOS Capture, it forgets the Windows once an application closes. So if you want have a browser in a window in your scene, it works fine but when you close OBS, it forgets that's the window and you have to reset all your MacOS Captures specifying which display (I have three!) and what applications.

And I find that you have to really care about the sizing, you want reproducible sizing. Fortunately, I use Rectangle, so I can get that which is great, but I need an application that remembers all the applications running and then returns them. I'm sure there is such a thing, but it is a pain to have to go through all your OBS scenes to make sure it all works particularly because due to the memory bug, you can't just leave it all running.

The ideal thing I think is to have a dedicated Mac for Podcasting and just sleep the machine, but even then it looks like you can only last 30-50 minutes before memory leaks take you down. It definitely means that I'm not doing three-hour podcasts which is probably a good thing.

Microphone checks are vital

With the Gain filter in OBS, it's so easy, but vital to do a mic check before recording, for whatever reason, the volume that comes in when you Application Capture Zoom is different, so make sure to do a Mic check and if you have a microphone, you can use the analog gain from the A/D converter, otherwise, use the digital gain.

OBS MKV and Remux, not Handbrake to save hours.

The final thing is that because of all this crashing, I nearly lost a 30-minute session because OBS started spinning because MOV and .MP4 files need to be finalized and you can lose a whole session. I didn't want to use MKV which is resistant to this because the Handbrake conversion was taking hours at 12 fps or so. Turns out that Mac Handbrake is CPU only. It is slow because I can't figure out how to make it just rewrite things without decompressing and recompressing.

The much better solution is a strange utility built into OBS that is just that. It doesn't actually recompress, it just rewrites the container so it is a MOV file. The thing that is complicated is that MOV, MP4, and MKV are container formats, the data which is the video can stay the same so just rewriting the container bits is very fast, to 1000x faster. (There are many strange utilities), but basically, if you do a File/Remux then you get a display where you can select your MKVs. It is confusing because when you select the dialog goes away, but you select File/Remux again and at the bottom push the button and it remuxes to MP4 in seconds vs hours.

YouTube and Spotify Uploads are Slooww at 4K HDR and Manual Restarts

OK, I admit it part of the reason my files are so big is that I'm recording in archival 4K HDR format, so a YouTube upload takes a day. I have found that using Brave Browser is more reliable than Safari for maintaining a connection for that long. Same with the Spotify Video upload. I actually load them in series, so that YouTube goes first, then I upload Spotify so that I'm more likely to get a single video up since a failure means the upload has to start all over.

As an aside, the upload rates seem to vary a lot. I can get about 1MBps when I first start, but I find that it slows a lot and sometimes seems to stall, so keep an eye on the network statistics and don't hesitate to start again

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