Live Stream Pinewood Derby

Social distancing has brought new challenges to decade-old events.  The answer to today’s issue is a very simple one – Live Stream Pinewood Derby.  Most of us understand the importance during this time, however it does not mean that we can not complete what we have done in the past. We are a great nation and people. Where there is a problem, there is always someone who finds a way to overcome.

Derby Dust, working with Derby Worx, is going to make a FREE guide to help all packs keep the derby tradition alive. And I would like to make this time to give a thanks to Derby Magic for sending us a 4 lane strip of track to help us set up our system so that we can give you real world setup. I am not a streaming expert, but I have very quickly and easily been able to familiarize myself with the overall process. And it is quite simple once you understand the role of each part of utilized software. I am going to do my best to give you a walkthrough of how it all works together.  It maybe it is time to reach out to your Troop and see if you can find someone who has some experience in this subject matter for a local contact.

Walkthrough for a Live Stream Pinewood Derby

Taking a traditional race and turning it into a live stream will require a few extra administrative hours of more work than a traditional derby. I suggest that you start the admin side of the race a bit earlier. Almost two weeks before, if you have never used the free race management software. Have the scouts turn in their cars early so that you can take pictures, and get them into the racing database. Have family members provide headshots for each participant, rather than trying to take the pictures yourself.  Get the racing database ahead of time ready for the event.  Use the time in between to set up voting polls for the voting awards.  Use that remaining time to set up the actual track and get all the right camera angles and back drops.

There are 3 parts to streaming a pinewood derby event

  1. OBS Studio – This is the software that takes all the inputs – camera, screenshots, window captures, etc and then makes them into an 1 output screen for you to stream
  2. Race Management – This is the software used on 99% of the tracks out there to date.  You can stream ANY race management software. Most race management software are paid services. I have found one that is free and that is the one that I will go into detail on using.
  3. Streaming Service – Easiest part of the whole process.  What service are you going to use to broadcast your event?
  4. OPTIONAL – polling site for uploading pictures in advance, to allow you to vote for side awards

I have found that the longest part of this process is creating the OBS overlays and camera angle and lighting setups. Practice stream sessions will need to be mastered prior to race day. You will need to get a feel on how to transition between things if you are going to get really fancy. These management tools can easily be learned and propagated, ready for streaming, in a day’s time.  Additional hardware may need to be procured such as webcams, tripods, microphones, depending how you want to display things.  What I have learned is that you can become very familiar with the streaming portion of the race without even needing a track. The track is just another input.

I ran across this derby video on YouTube and it is a gem.  This is an actual 50 car race done by a Pack. It is setup quite well and I would use it for a benchmark on how to set your race up.

Things to consider for Live Stream:

  • Will there be a slideshow of all the participants?
  • How many positions of the track will be shown?  Are we simply showing staging – or are we going to show staging, whole track, and finish?
  • How will results be displayed?
  • Is your Master of Ceremony going to be a Presented Face or simply a voice stream?
  • Awards at the end of the race, how are you going to present them?  Is there a separate backdrop for it?  Are you going to have the car with the award?
  • If a car is damaged during race, who is responsible for fixing it?

Everything this guide will go over is implemented into this YouTube live stream.  You will see why it is necessary to procure a few extra media items to ensure that you have a truly excellent presentation that everyone can enjoy! This is an excellent reference for a well streamed event is this race. It is an excellent template format, and they thought of everything! This one utilizes a free racing management software system. It also seems that he used 4x cameras and an external microphone for the master of ceremony.

Derby Magic Timer and Software

If you are using The Derby Magic Timer and Race Management software, here is their walkthrough on how to set up a virtual race. Again, another excellent job. They have utilized a 2-camera system with OBS and Twitch as well. To date, they are the only vendor who responded to any outside collaboration.

Things to consider:

  • How you are going to do the check-in? Times / judges / race compliance tooling ?
  • Live Stream Team-  How many will be there?
  • HEAD judge during the race?
  • Who is the Master of Ceremony, and are they comfortable with streaming?
  • IT/Tech support for your stream, just in case there are problems?
  • Best computer for handling streaming?
  • What streaming platform will you utilize?

And take a few hours to get familiar with the race management integration into the OBS Stream Studio so that you know how to make all the inputs output the desired results.

I will sit down over the next few weeks and get something working for everyone to be able to use. In the meantime, watch the Derby Magic video a few times to get a feel of things. Choose your streaming service of choice, get registered. Play around with streaming your windows and verify that they are working.

What are my choices for streaming?

There are 3 streaming services that come to mind for free streaming that will allow everyone to watch.

There are limitations for some of them.  Whatever version you choose, they will all incorporate the OBS Studio software as the input for streaming. Please note that some services have a cool down period of 24 hour account creation prior to streaming. I simply suggest whatever version you choose to stream from, watch one of the videos to show you how to live stream

There will be 2 subjects you’ll need to research on YouTube prior to adding this all together. We are not going to go in great depth, simply because there are so MANY videos already online to watch.

  1. How to use Twitch streaming service which is how we will bring everyone together.
  2. The OBS Studio broadcasting is the core component in this entire process. Please take your time in understanding this software. Please understand that anything on this computer can be displayed during this time. Be sure your PC is 100% G-rated just in case the internet gods are against you.

OBS STUDIO

This, as stated, is the core to the stream service. You will spend quite a few hours setting this up in accordance to how you are going to run the race. I suggest that you need to setup 5 different scenes. I have looked over the videos on YouTube and truly feel there are some great ones out there. This is the most up to date video and breaks down what OBS does. Everything else is easy once you get a feel how this work. Take the time to look at this video. And this is a great time to reach out to your tech-savvy teenagers to hold your hand if need be.

  • Slideshow of cars – show all the cars, the names of their cars, and the owners
  • Award show of cars – will be last scene of the day. I suggest show car, award, owner.
  • Actual race – webcams of track starting gate, full track, finish line, race management software showing placing and times
  • On deck / transition to next race – race management software of “on deck”, Master of Ceremony
  • Technical Difficulties – if bad things happen… probably can default to a slide show of the cars. Key here is to show Master of Ceremony at all times, so that there is not dead air. Nothing happening on a live stream is not a good thing.

Derby Dust guide to Live Stream Pinewood Derby

I am currently in the works and hopefully able to finish a complete walkthrough of my version by the end of September 2020.  I plan on using the free DerbyNet racing management with a supported track timer, free OBS Streaming Studio  mixer to make all the inputs into one screen, the streaming service Twitch as a means of streaming. The OBS software has numerous built-in streaming service plugins if you want to try YouTube or Facebook Live. Derby Dust walkthrough guide coming soon.