24 Hour 4K Live Streaming with Z1 - How To and Setup Tips

Covers the setup of the Z1 for 24 hour (or more) continuous 360 live streaming in 4K. I focus on solutions to two main problems:

  1. heat management by upgrading to the newest firmware;
  2. battery charging while streaming at 4K by using a BC 1.2 CDP compliant USB port on your computer or a powered hub with the same charging specification.

The heat management was improved with firmware 1.60.1. The newest firmware is 1.80.1 and includes the improvements.

To keep the camera charged, you must use a USB port with BC 1.2 CDP specifications. If the battery slowly drains, you need a powered hub with BC 1.2 CDP support.

Although you do not need a current meter, it may help to identify potential problems with the battery draining.

The USB port will need to continuously support between 600mA and 900mA while streaming or the battery may slowly drain.

Most ports in my test could only supply 500mA while streaming and required the use of a powered hub. The Predator 300 laptop could power the camera indefinitely while streaming in 4K.

Testing the camera indoor (largely during colder seasons), I did not need a fan on the camera.

This video is part of a 13 video tutorial series on live streaming.

Schedule of Tutorials

Schedule subject to change.

The videos will be published on this playlist
Live Streaming Tutorial Series for RICOH THETA - YouTube

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Hi, @craig, can we use a PD (Powe Delivery) USB port with 20 volts? Can the camera do indefinite streaming in 2K resolution while being charged by the USB 3.0 port? I see the Linux development docs says the battery is dropping when streaming in 4K, but how about 2K? I’m gonna do a test soon but still appreciate your advices. :slightly_smiling_face:

You can stream the Z1 at 4K indefinitely if the USB port on your computer is BC 1.2 CDP (data plus charge) compliant.

Camera - RICOH THETA Development on Linux

Otherwise, you may need to get a powered hub that is BC 1.2 compliant. Something like this:


At 4K, you can test this with an inline current meter. You will need 0.8 to 0.9 Amps.


2K streaming works with most USB ports as it appears to require less current.

Trying to to livestream the z1 via USB extension (it needs to be on stage for a performance and the computer at the side, so we’re talking about 10-15 meters). Then hopefully have it stream for at least 2 hours uninterrupted and without overheating.

We’ve done it in the past with the Theta V, although it only lasted for 30 min max. Then it died on us just before a show, so we’ve replaced it for an used Z1 which should arrive soon! although we’re worried it might not work on the USB2 extension as the Z1 runs USB3.

Any tips on getting it sufficient power? Maybe having a powered USB hub on the camera end of the USB extension?
Looking at this powered hub at the moment:

I do not have this device below, but you may want to install a USB-C current meter next to the camera for testing.

For charging, you will need 5V 0.9A delivered to the camera, measured at the point the wire goes into the camera.

I believe the hub you are looking at can deliver 1.5A at the point it leaves the hub, before it travels 15 meters. That is a long distance. Not sure what will happen. You can try 2K streaming if the 4K fails. Are you using OBS on the laptop?

Have you tried the

from @biviel

The developer of that plug-in is active on this forum. He may be able to work with you to get your live performance working using his wireless plug-in technology.

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Thanks @craig, it can work but the new version not the old that is still available in store. Hi @luisclaragomes , if you would like to participate in alpha test, let me know. The new version Im working on may work for you, depending on environment temperature of course but in much better quality than on theta v.

Seems like the use case is similar to the use case in the original vision of Flow Tours.

Additionally, Flow Tours offers the option of pay-per-view for live events in the future.

@luisclaragomes , is there is link to the live performance group that you’re working with?

Hi! Thanks very much for the responses! I love how active this community is!

I managed to test the camera today with a 15m USB3.0 extension, and got it to stream at 4k to the computer. the extension accepts power injected at the peripheral end, so i plugged a 5V 3A PSU on the extension’s end.

I got the Z1 to stream for 2h and the battery went from 100% to 80%.
I’d still like the camera to remain at 100 (call me super cautious but my OCD would want to minimize a sudden “Could Not Connect to Theta” message on a 15m LED on stage).
How about using the powered hub at the end of the extension?
What about PD solutions via USB-C?
I will buy a voltage meter like you suggested, thanks!

To answer your other questions :slight_smile:
It’s actually my band, Moullinex - I’ve been making music for the past decade but lockdown made me reconnect with my software developer background, so I spent this time experimenting with live visuals software, then I found the Theta V and have incorporated it in the setup. In this case we use Touchdesigner.


The use case could be for virtual concerts, like you mentioned, @craig, but at the moment it’s for live visuals which are projected on stage. I’m getting the unstitched live stream from the camera and stiching it in realtime in Touchdesigner, and projecting in the LED wall behind us. our video technician is doing realtime “directing” and operating the “little planet” view of the Theta like a videogame, doing zooms, rotations etc. It’s fun!

Here’s another use case, where we used the live footage from the camera to do projection mapping onto an installation (and also drive the LED bars in sync with the music)

I’d love to try it @biviel, I’m of course concerned with the latency as this is for realtime visuals.
Wi-Fi can be unreliable on big venues with a lot of cellphones active in it so I’d need to find an ethernet solution (which I believe the Theta could support but haven’t looked into it enough) and since the latency over USB is barely tolerable, I think adding network layer would make it worse. But I might be wrong.

Again, thank you so much for all your support.

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It just occurred to me the USB cable I’m using between extension and camera might not deliver enough power, could this be the case? Even though it’s 15 cm or so, not all cables are equal.
As I bought the Z1 second hand I’m worried that might be the culprit.

That is a nice adapter. However, I can’t find the listing of the current output. It needs to be 1.5A approximately. If the Z1 battery charge is dropping from 100% to 80%, it is likely that the current is 0.5Amps and will be insufficient to keep the Z1 charged at 4K for an extended (multiple hours) period. You can verify the current with a cheap in-line meter.

In my tests, the Z1 needs about 0.8Amps to maintain a steady stream at 4K.

Those are some awesome videos! Incredible. Seems like a wonderful experience with with great music. What are you using to get the equirectangular view into the spherical tiny planet view? very cool

It’s possible, but the more likely source of the problem is the input current into the 3.5/1.35mm DC connector. It may be limited to 500mA to avoid damage to sensitive equipment. Once you get the meter, you can eliminate this as a potential source of the problem.

ordered the meter already!

Thank you so much! I love the potential of 360 visuals in a realtime setting.
I’ve been using this shader, which was itself adapted from this one.

How did you use the shader on the live stream? Is there a plug-in to OBS or something that you can apply to a live video feed? That’s such a cool look for a concert, especially with the energetic mood of the music.

In Touchdesigner, which is a node-based programming platform for realtime multimedia. It runs GLSL shaders and the code from that JS shader was ported to GLSL and runs in Touchdesigner.

Theoretically you could send it straight to OBS as Touchdesigner supports NDI input and output.

so Theta Z1 → Touchdesigner → Shader → NDI Output → OBS → the world!

For a purely open source solution, I’ve checked and OBS seems to support GLSL shaders, so I think it’s just a matter of porting it to the platform!


amazing fusion of art, music, creativity, technology and the human spirit. Even more impressive that you’re doing this live at a venue with no chance to fix a technical problem if something goes wrong. bravo!

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hi, @luisclaragomes ,
as I see you are experimenting with at least 2 different approaches or at least may need to. Clearly it’s visible that you use your programming skills to help in your passion too, congratulations from my end, nice work!

A few notes, questions if you don’t mind:

  1. “Projecting to the world” - Theta Z1 → Touchdesigner → Shader → NDI Output → OBS → the world!
    What does “the world!” mean for you? Like YouTube or Facebook or other platform?
    What is the latency there? I assume from OBS you stream to an RTMP server, right? Latency here isn’t an issue for you?

  2. “LED wall”: Theta Z1 → Touchdesigner → Shader → NDI Output → projecting in the LED wall. I assume you use Z1 as webcam on a PC where Touchdesigner is stitching, applies shader and outcome is NDI output? so your LED wall directly consumes NDI output? or its something else?
    What is the latency here, from cam to LED wall, did you measure?

Regarding my plugin “HDR Wireless Live Streaming”, it will be able to push stream in dual fisheye mode, in "normal’ preview, but what is very important, it also works in “HDR” mode which means in darker environments the stream quality is much better. Now if you stream with my plugin in dual fisheye mode + HDR mode turned on, it provides very good quality.

What is interesting with my plugin that it can stream to RTMP, RTSP but SRT is also supported. SRT is a high quality low latency format and in theory Touchdesigner may be able to use it as source? SRT | Derivative I’m not familiar with Touchdesigner, do you know if it can consume a SRT stream? I found a forum where some people were able to make stream working to TD, while some other people failed: ADDED: Add SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) to Video Stream In/Out to Enable Streaming over Internet - #29 by nettoyeur - Wishlist and RFEs - TouchDesigner forum

If you would like to push for low latency, I wonder how would it work in case of Z1 with my plugin to stream to a local network → Touchdesigner runs on a pc and it’s set to consume an incoming SRT stream and process it → Shader → NDI Output → LED wall?

Streaming to the world: Z1 with my plugin in RTMP, RTSP or SRT mode → Touchdesigner → Shader → NDI Output → the world (YouTube, Facebook, custom RTMP/RTSP?)

  1. Is it possible that Z1 get overheated after 2 hours and charging was turned off by the device? May I ask you how hot was the environment temperature there?

  2. Wifi - from my experiences people usually use their mobile network on mobile devices and not connecting by using WiFi, 2Ghz Wifi should work just fine with a proper network there, any way a good network is required if you want to stream to the world.

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Can your plug-in now do RTSP to a local source such as VLC on a local network?

It seems like the environment might allow the use of a small fan pointed at the theta. Likely noise is no problem as he’s likely not using the audio from the THETA as the audience is listing to the beautiful music of the band.

no, it can only push with RTSP at the moment.

@luisclaragomes , @craig , can a Z1 do live stream in dual fisheye mode at all as a webcam, via USB cable connected to a PC? @luisclaragomes , as you mentioned stitching happens in Touchdesigner, I assume that Z1 can stream in dualfisheye, but I’m not aware of this. Thanks!

I don’t think the Z1 can stream in dual-fisheye over a USB cable.