The stories you are about to hear are true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
The morning of the big event, Joe started up his computer and was surprised when it kicked off an automatic update. He wasn’t particularly concerned until three hours later—when he discovered the update was still in progress. With a crowd now gathering at Joe’s church and less than 30 minutes until the beginning of the service, he knew he was in trouble. He didn’t have a backup computer with encoding software, and he didn’t know how to bail out of the update. He had no idea what his options were at this point, so at twenty minutes and counting, he simply crossed his fingers…
Max headed out to the ball field to set up the night before an important game. He’d heard all the stories about the importance of extra equipment, so he had backups for his backups, and he was confident everything would go off without a hitch. Cameras in the field, computers in the press box, and a heavy-duty cable (which had set him back several thousand dollars) were all ready for the big game. But when everything was finally rigged up, he discovered that the signal strength of one of the cameras wasn’t even close to covering the necessary distance—and at that point, it was the middle of the night, which meant he had less than eight hours to come up with a solution…
In our business, we hear stories like these all the time.
Download a complete production checklist that includes tasks for before, during, and after every live-streamed event.
You may have had your fill of scary tales by this time of year, but at Stretch, live streaming mishaps and horror stories happen all year long. We’ve heard it all—everything from equipment that acts up, to computers catching inconvenient viruses, to cables that cut out inexplicably.
Let’s face it: You can never prevent bad things from happening. Things will go wrong. Scout’s honor. And we’re of the same mind as the Boy Scouts, too, when it comes to their motto: Be prepared. For everything.
That’s what will set your broadcast apart from the legions of mediocre live streams out there—your preparedness. And the key to preparedness, we’ve found, is the pre-production checklist.
3 Live Streaming Pre-production Checklist Items
The Stretch Internet preparedness badge (if we had one!) would emphasize readiness. Just as coaches conduct targeted practice sessions, strategic analysis, and more during the week before a big game, it’s imperative to set yourself up for success. This part of the process (it’s not optional, trust us!) starts several days before the event. That way, there’s plenty of time for testing and revising your plan—and a lot less stress.
Here are three essential tasks to complete in the days leading up to a live streaming event:
- Ensure that your streaming computer, software, and other applications are up to date. This includes your encoder, your drivers, your firmware, and any other equipment you’ll be using. One word of caution: Before you update, check with your streaming provider first. There may be compatibility issues that would make an update counterproductive.
- Physically set up and check all of your equipment. Specifically, confirm that:
- The resolution on your camera is optimized based on your setup.
- The streaming encoder is configured to send out the highest quality video possible.
- The output is set up properly to send to the right location.
- The stream ID or channel name is titled properly and corresponds with your scheduled event.
- Ensure you have an archive or a recording set up to save your video file in case a backup is needed. If there are any issues with the live stream, having a backup will give you peace of mind and allow you to upload your file after the event. Stretch and some other streaming providers automatically archive your live stream, but it’s considered best practice to record locally as well—just in case.
Download Now: An Extensive Live Streaming Checklist
To find out what other steps are on the production checklist (including five more pre-event tasks, day-of tasks, and tasks to complete after the event) and some technology essentials, check out this extensive guide that focuses solely on preparing you for a winning broadcast. Don’t underestimate the importance of preparation! It’s not just for fanatic planners—it’s for anyone who wants to get it right the first time. Download this free checklist and set yourself up for live streaming success.