Configuring RICOH THETA S with Twitter Periscope 360

Enable Periscope Producer and Periscope360

You need a Periscope account that has both Periscope Producer and Periscope360 enabled. Both are free, but on a waitlist. Signup now.

Periscope Producer Waitlist
Periscope360 Waitlist

Overview of Components

You need to use an encoder on your desktop machine. Plug the THETA into the USB port of your PC. Run an encoder on your PC. The encoder on your PC will stream to an external server with rtmp. The Periscope app on your mobile phone will communicate with the external server to broadcast video from the THETA to the Periscope audience.

For more information on live streaming with the THETA, read the 360 Live Streaming Guide. The guide covers installation of the RICOH software and OBS.

Periscope test was done with Android. iOS should work the same.

Configure OBS as Periscope Encoder

I’m using THETA UVC HD Blender, not THETA UVC FullHD Blender. It may work with THETA UVC FullHD Blender as well. Please confirm if you test it.

Under Video, the base resolution is 1280x720 for the THETA UVC HD Blender. In my test, I believe that the Periscope documentation is wrong in specifying 1440 x720. The video sphere showed a gap. Downscale Filter is Bicubic. FPS is 15 for UVC HD Blender. The Periscope documentation states 30 fps for UVC HD Blender, but the UVC HD Blender has a max of 15fps, so that’s what I set it to.

In the Output section, set Streaming Bitrate to 1500 to 2000. If you have good upstream bandwidth about 2Mbps, set it to 2000… The Keyframe Interval needs to be set to 2.

Under Output → Audio, set Audio Bitrate to 96. It’s AAC or AAC-LC if you need this info.

Under Stream

Get Stream Information from Periscope App

Input URL and Stream key from the Periscope mobile app.

Click on your profile info in the upper right corner.

Click on Settings

Scroll down to Advanced Sources. Press the button.

IMPORTANT: You will only see Advanced Sources if your Periscope account is enabled as a Periscope Producer account.

You will only see the Preview Broadcast button if OBS is streaming with the proper server and stream key. Take the information from the screen below and type it into OBS. Once you start the OBS stream, you will see the Preview Broadcast button.

IMPORTANT: You should see Create External Encoder [360]. If you do not see the 360 portion, you do not have Periscope360 enabled on your account.

iOS screen below contributed by Daniel Rojas Roa.

Test Video on Periscope App

Press Preview Broadcast

You should see a 360 video that you can navigate with touch and swipe.

Cloud-Based Stitching for HDMI Output

I heard from Bob Hildeman, the CEO of Streambox, that his team tested the THETA S streaming 360 video to an Avenir Micro with embedded modem module with four modems and then used their Cloud Stitching platform to stitch the dual-fisheye stream into equirectangular for broadcast on Periscope360.

The AVENIRMicro bonds all 4 modems to achieve an effective streaming bitrate from the THETA mobile feed of up to 12mbps. In their experience, 5mbps is normally enough for the THETA camera feed.

Reference Links

Below are two official Periscope Help Center links related to this guide. I’ve found the information to be incomplete but am including them here for reference.

Just announced: Periscope Producer API. If anyone is testing this, I’d love to get more information.

It lists the following examples:

  • With Telestream’s Wirecast software, you can broadcast through a number of devices including live camera feeds, iOS cameras, computer desktop and web feeds. Wirecast allows broadcasters to go live on Periscope and Twitter directly from the software and add elements such as live switching, animated titles, transitions and lower thirds.
  • Livestream’s Mevo camera enables anyone to broadcast, edit and produce high-quality live video directly to Periscope and Twitter from anywhere with a Wi-Fi or LTE signal. Additionally, broadcasters can use Livestream Studio to share live video with multiple cameras, graphics and other professional production features.
  • Switchboard Cloud’s web platform makes it easy to simultaneously publish live content to Periscope and Twitter, as well as additional destinations and social platforms.
  • Teradek’s high-quality video encoders and software applications can now broadcast directly to Twitter and Periscope in 1080p.
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New information from @ellabondella

The settings above are likely out of date. I suggest the settings from ellabondella.

I am able to stream via Periscope Producer using OBS and through trial and error (many trials and still trying) the best settings I have found are:

  1. reduce the GPU - under device mgr/System Devices- I disabled the HPET (high precision event timer);
  2. OBS settings: Output mode/Advanced: Encoder x264; Rate Control: CRF @ 20 with 2 keyframe interval; veryfast CPU;
    *I am deviating from the recommended setup which opts for a 1440x720 resolution. Instead, I used 1280x720 but I need to tweak that bit.
    I wasn’t getting a great quality picture but much better than what was suggested. Now, I am trying to get a good setting for a dark room in terms of ISO, etc.
    I don’t know anything about computers but maybe this could help someone? I’m using this on a dual core/i5 but will test on my quad core if time permits. Thanks again for your input and I can’t wait for the plug-ins. WLAN bridge would be nice for the S!
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I also discovered a significant increase in clarity and less lag for my periscope, I simply changed servers because logic tells me there could be a lot of traffic in my region; so I am scoping on Ireland’s server with the optimal resolution I have scoped thus far.


Given that this works with OBS it seems logical this would work with any other platforms using OBS to broadcast yes? Its simply a video source so id imagine it might work…though some user being able to move visual may be something else that would need to be supported id imagine.

This is my first look into 360 cameras and I’m wondering how it would work in terms of user visuals. Lets say for example im streaming to a platform and someone wants to see whats behind me and they move the camera’s viewing angle…will others simultaneously be able to see visuals unique to their experience, will everyone view whoever moves it or will that be up to the streamer/administrator to adjust accordingly?

The interface with Periscope is an industry camera. Any 360 camera will work. Though, I think the THETA V has advantages with live streaming 4K video. Please check the specifications and user feedback for each camera you look at. You can see on this forum that live streaming with the THETA V is popular. Note that the THETA S can only live stream at 2K. I highly recommend the THETA V over the THETA S for live streaming.

Each person viewing the live stream can see a different view.

The “viewer” angle changes, not the camera. The camera is in a tripod and does not need to move. If you move the tripod, the viewer can still rotate their head or use a mouse to change the view.

See this article:

Wow thanks for the quick reply! Been trying to find someone who has used one of these on twitch but have not found anyone who has. I see that a lot of these are very expensive so was looking in the $100-200 range. Since there’s no mention of using on twitch I’m not sure if it would even work

The streaming standard is called RTMP.

I do not know of anyone using a THETA with Twitch. It should work, but best to find someone using it in your target use case before you buy.

If you’re using Twitch primarily, suggest you rent a camera first or buy a camera with a solid return policy in case it doesn’t work. You can look on eBay for a used camera. Just remember that the 2K resolution is NOT the full viewable area. The viewer will only see a portion of the 2K screen and thus it will look like SD. Go onto YouTube and look for 360 videos of different resolutions.