Interested in adding live streaming to the menu of services your production company already provides? It wouldn’t be such a leap, since you already have the necessary expertise and most—if not all—of the equipment you need to get started. There are one or two things that might make your life easier, though, should you decide to take advantage of the opportunity.
Live Streaming Production Considerations
A Live Production Switcher
If you’re currently using a video switcher or a production unit that doesn’t have a native live streaming option, consider adding one to your workflow. An all-in-one video switcher (we always recommend TriCaster) does the same efficient work of helping mix and manage your production sources while also giving you the ability to live stream your output in real time.
If you have a good workflow you want to preserve that doesn’t include a vehicle for live streaming (a polite way of telling us to “shove off”), you can simply attach an output from your existing production unit to a computer running encoding software (like Flash Media Live or Wirecast). We’ve seen this plenty of times with school sporting events, where a production team that is televising the game sends the feed to us via their computer/encoder combo so it can be simulcast in real time.
Video signal transmission
In a traditional video production scenario, you might have footage from three or four cameras you’d pull together after the event to create a nice, neat package. For live streaming production, you have to find a way to transmit the video to your encoder so it can be streamed in real time.
To pull off live streaming flawlessly, preparation is essential. Don’t miss a single step with this extensive live streaming checklist.
There are two options:
- The most common method is to transmit the video signal via cable. An SDI output works as you can run it up to 300 feet and still receive a good-quality signal. Learn more about different transmission options and recommended equipment in our recent blog post discussing various multi-camera setups.
- An alternative is wireless transmission, using a transmitter for your camera and a receiver on the production side. Transmitters can be fairly expensive, but you’ll have freedom to move and no plugging and unplugging. Contact us for the latest recommendations if you’re considering a wireless setup.
A Live Streaming Mindset
Live streaming also requires a shift in the way you think about video production. In traditional video production mode, you might film a range of shots to get one that’s perfectly framed—that Hollywood moment, so to speak. In live streaming, you’re only concerned with creating an authentic viewing experience for the audience. Viewers should feel as if they’re present in real time, not as if they’re watching a collection of “best of” shots. You don’t want to be noticed, and, in many ways, grittiness and spontaneity are part of the package. (Not to mention that the occasional mishap sometimes turns into the high point of a broadcast!)
And, live streaming can live comfortably alongside your traditional offerings. If you would normally have several cameras filming at an event, you can still do that—you just may not be able to use all the footage for your live stream. (Multicamera live streaming is totally possible; it just has some additional challenges to overcome.)
Many production companies have designed value-add packages for clients that incorporate live streaming with editing services. For instance, why not offer a post production video package along with a live stream? You can bundle them together to add value for your clients and increase your revenue from the project. Many potential customers would be just as interested in the opportunity to stream an event live as they would be to get a nicely edited recording of the event, given the chance. And from a production aspect, the philosophy of “divide and conquer” works: Bring out a few people focused on the live stream, with the remainder of your crew gathering additional footage that may not be part of the live stream, but can be used for the final, edited product.
A Good Live Streaming Partner Goes A Long Way
It goes without saying that live streaming won’t be as “neat” of a production as what you can do after the fact. While you’ll have to let go of your obsessive streak, that doesn’t mean your broadcast is destined to be subpar. With the right preparation and a reliable live streaming partner, you can absolutely take your business to new heights. Contact us with any questions about live streaming production or to find out more about our live streaming services and how they might work for your business.