GFQ Network Broadcast Live Streams to Air with AJA KONA 4 and Wirecast

August 19, 2015

Andrew Zarian founded GFQ Network in 2009, originally as ‘the Guys from Queens’, because he was largely producing local shows for friends and friends of friends. Fast forward to 2015, and GFQ Network has evolved into a national brand producing 15 shows a week. The network’s most popular show is “What the Tech” co-hosted by Zarian with tech journalist Paul Thurrott, but GFQ also runs specialized call-in programming for niche audiences. In order to manage their live production workflow, the studio relies heavily on KONA 4 video I/O cards from AJA for their multi-channel streaming needs.

“There are so many all-in-one box live streaming solutions, but they cost a fortune and are overkill for our network’s needs,” said Zarian. “With two KONA 4 cards I get 8 SDI inputs at a fraction of the cost of any other existing live-streaming box, and the interoperability between KONA 4 cards and Telestream Wirecast is really excellent.”

In the studio, GFQ has four Canon HFG20 cameras on tripods feeding AJA HA5 Mini-Converters for HDMI to SDI conversion sending video streams into one of two production machines with KONA 4 cards. One of the custom Intel-based PCs handles the video switching and other is doing the live encoding of hosts on the show, or used for Skype lines in the case of hosts or guests who remote into the studio. All of this feeds into Wirecast software for live streaming video production, enabling GFQ’s producers to switch across the four cameras and to four different Skype channels—and also run combinations of shots in real time. While most programming is streamed live-to-air in 720p, an in-house editor cuts short segments in Adobe Premiere Pro to introduce upcoming shows, and recorded episodes are also available as video-on-demand content. 

“When we originally started broadcasting to a live stream, all of our talent was in-house. Now we’re down to four hosts who come into the studio and the rest are all over the country and because of Skype HD video and product like AJA’s KONA 4 cards, each host can connect via their own location and remotely log in, manage switching and production remotely without compromising professional image quality,” continued Zarian.

“Working with KONA 4 and the HA5 HDMI converters has also enabled us to move all of our equipment out of the studio and into a server space with support for SDI runs,” Zarian continued. “The quality of AJA really stands out, we don’t ever have dropped frames or frame rate issues and the fact that it’s one card with four inputs is a huge value.”

GFQ recently completed the build of its new Los Angeles studio to better accommodate its West Coast based programing. The current plan is to stream Spencer Kobren’s The Bald Truth, which was formerly nationally syndicated through WestWood One Radio in Culver City, Ca, as well as Kobren’s new program, Plastic Surgery Live in 1080p starting in the fall of 2015. For more information visit www.gfqnetwork.com.

About KONA 4

KONA 4 is a powerful video and audio desktop I/O PCIe card with unparalleled features for handling everything from SD, HD, 2K, UltraHD, and 4K with up to 12-bit 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 sampling for fantastic image clarity. With integrated support for the most popular NLE, visual effects, and streaming software, KONA 4 has the power for the work you do today and into the future.

About HA5

The HA5 Mini-Converter converts HDMI to SDI or HD-SDI, in a compact low-power design. Up to eight channels of HDMI audio are embedded into the SD/HD-SDI output allowing a convenient single cable audio/video connection. The HA5 provides two SD/HD-SDI outputs and supports long HDMI cables on the input. The HA5 is useful for connecting HDMI cameras to SD/HD-SDI equipment.