10 Tips to Take Your Video Live
by Stu Sweetow
Prior planning prevents poor productions. Visualize in advance as far as possible, how the event will take place. Consider logistics such as loading equipment in and out, when the audience will arrive and how the presentations will be captured with camera and microphones.
Audio quality is frequently the most important element in a presentation. The facility may have their own microphones and amplifier system frequently connected to a soundboard. Your video producer should have the resources to connect to the output of the soundboard for clear audio. You don’t want to miss something important because of muffled sound. Your video crew will probably bring some back-up microphones, but unless there was a plan for these microphones to be amplified they would go only to the camera system.
Site survey/walk-through. At some point you will want to visit the venue to handle the myriad logistics. These include parking, security, lighting, room set-up and camera locations so that audience members’ heads are not in the way.
Cameras frequently need to be elevated on special risers. Most banquet rooms and hotels have risers that are a little shaky; when you are zoomed in, the image can be even more shaky. Ask your producer about providing stable risers designed for professional video cameras.
Connecting to the Internet. The two most common ways to connect to the Internet are with Wi-Fi and with an Ethernet cable. Wi-Fi can be susceptible to interference because it is wireless. A wired ethernet cable is usually the preferred way of handling live video streaming. Either way, make sure that the upload speed is at least 8 Mbps (megabits per second). To be safe look for 50+ Mpbs. That’s upload speed, not download speed.
Video audiences expect the live video to start immediately. Live presentations rarely start at the appointed time, but television broadcasts do. Your viewers may have that expectation. When planning a live streaming video, prior to the actual start of the presentations, plan on having music or just crowd sounds transmitted over the live video stream, rather than nothing. You don’t want your viewing audience to see a live camera aimed at the podium while the presenters are fumbling around with microphones and slides; that could be embarrassing. Or you could mention that a message could be displayed eg. Your Live Stream event will start shortly..stay tuned!
Better yet, create a pre-recorded video to be shown while waiting for the program to start. Or simply create slides that show sponsors’ logos can. Consider producing short commercials for sponsors and vendors. Not only will it fill the waiting time, it can pay for the live video production.
Multiple cameras are more like real television. Viewers expect visual variety and that makes it more likely that they stay for the duration of the program. One camera can be stationary in a wide-angle position. The second camera would get close-ups of the presenter. Add another camera if you have a panel discussion in order to capture interaction between panelists. A fourth camera could be used for audience members’ comments, and be sure to have handheld wireless microphones available so that you could also hear the audience comments. Make sure someone is available to pass mic around audience
Slides and video clips frequently are part of presentations. Your producer should have the right kind of equipment so that the presenters’ slides could be plugged into the live-streaming equipment. Avoid simply aiming a camera at a projection screen. If video clips are shown, they usually have audio. Your producer will need to have the right kinds of audio adapters to be able to hear audio as well as a video in your live stream.
Legal considerations. If you are recording or transmitting slides or videos, make sure that you have permission from the owner of those intellectual properties. It is a good idea to have releases signed, not only by the presenters, but by audience members if they are going to be filmed. This is not to be taken as legal information; contact your attorney to develop contracts and releases for you.
Promoting your live video. Facebook Live is one of today’s hottest marketing techniques. Check with the organization to see if they want the live video streamed over Facebook or other social media, or if they want to use one of their own webinar platforms such as Zoom, WebEx and GoToMeeting. Well in advance, the organization can send out notices and set up an event if they want viewers to have free access. Or they can arrange for passwords and fees to be paid to watch the live stream.
Archiving the Video. Many producers have the capability to produce high-quality recordings, and some may even be able to provide separate recordings from each camera, so you can perform post-production editing. Ask your producer about making a “Save the Date” video to promote next year’s event. It could include energetic audience comments recorded at the close of the event.