Videoguys tips for getting started in live streaming, distance learning and using video technology in these trying times.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 and government sanctioned social distancing rules, the need to live stream video has never been greater. Social distancing REQUIRES live streaming
- Houses of Worship need to stream their services because congregants can’t gather together
- Schools and Colleges across the country are being closed so our teachers will have to use distance and remote learning.
- Schools boards and local governments need streaming video to communicate with their communities
- Corporations look to use video conferencing and webinars to replace travel and trade shows
- Media companies require our video editing and production products to create and stream content
This article has been put together to help educators, houses of worship, and businesses get up to speed and create the best content you can for your students, your congregation, your staff and/or your customers.
I’m going to start with our top 5 rules of live streaming:
Videoguys 1st rule of live streaming: Your 4th show is going to be dramatically better than your first.
It is a learning experience. You will figure out what works best for you by experimenting, tweaking and doing. You don’t get to the 4th show without doing the first three. Stop worrying about it and start doing it!
Just do your best. Don’t get hung up on the technology you may or may not have. Concentrate on your content. Do what you do best. If you are a teacher, teach and connect with kids. If you are a preacher, preach and guide your followers. The rest will fall into place as you become more comfortable and creative.
Believe in yourself and the message you are trying to send, your authenticity will engage your audience as you figure this all out. Before you know it, you’ll not only be creating fantastic live streams, you’ll be having fun doing it.
Gary's first rule of streaming is, "The fourth stream will always be better than the first." Already Videoguys is seeing that here. This particular webinar is the first time Videoguys have not only done a completely remote show, but also used the Wirecast software in such a manor. We too are exploring and playing with new technologies to get our message out there.
Some things noticed and rectified for future shows:
- An accidental double audio layer resulting in an unintentional echo effect. The problem was discovered and fixed by 5:37
- Gary was brought in via Wirecast Rendezvous. Halfway through the show, his picture quality had increased drastically due to a freeing up of our network. So it's important to have a little open as possible while streaming.
Videoguys 2nd rule of live streaming: We see with our ears. Audio is so important.
If your audio is choppy, garbled or out of sync you will lose your audience. Some folks won’t put up with voices that sound mechanical either.
- Use an external mic whenever possible. You will be amazed how much better an inexpensive wired lapel sounds vs. the built in mic of your laptop, smart phone or webcam.
- Test your audio and your bandwidth. Not just how it sounds in the studio, but how it sounds listening to your stream on a mobile phone and desktop.
- Stream at lower video quality to protect your audio. We all want to stream out video at the highest video quality. But that takes up bandwidth. Knocking down your stream from 1080 to 720 can have a dramatic impact on your audio quality, yet the difference in video quality is barely perceptible.
Videoguys 3rd rule of live streaming: Great content beats great technology
We sell video technology. We’d love you to buy stuff. The reality is your content is far more important than the technology you use. Think about your content and the best way to deliver it, then work on finding the budget for the best way to produce it. In the meantime, use whatever budget and resources you have to get started.
- Your laptops webcam may not be great, but it is super easy to use
- Your smart phone is an insanely good video camera. It is much better quality than most webcams
- Using a video camera opens you up to far more possibilities. Especially if you can have someone operate it during the show. Use a tripod, dolly or gimbal to keep your video steady.
- PTZ Cameras are robotic cameras that allow you to control the Pan, Tilt and Zoom remotely.
We offer live streaming technology at every budget. We can help you decide what is the best approach to getting you started, and growing your capabilities. We know this because we use the gear we sell to produce our shows. Visit our website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call.
Videoguys 4th rule of live streaming. Record your show.
Don’t forget to record your program so that you can go back in and edit it later. Most streaming products allow you to record the output stream. Some let you record it in full HD resolution vs the streaming resolution you selected. For best results record the ISO streams as well. ISO streams are the video from each camera and source used in your show.
Videoguys 5th rule of live streaming. Edit your show down and post it for on demand viewing
We have seen that while our live viewing audience may be just dozen people. Many people will watch your show on demand. For Facebook we just leave the original live show up to download. On YouTube we will edit the show fixing any glitches or mistakes, tightening it up and cutting out any parts that didn’t work, adding voiceovers when needed, or adding additional graphics. The goal here is to use post production to make your show better to watch, to build your audience and get more people to watch the live streams as well. Content is KING!
Videoguys live streaming technology tips and tricks.
In this section we will focus more on the specific products and technology we sell:
SlingStudio is the easiest way to get going with a multicamera production.
- Allowing you to use both cameras, IOs devices and Android devices as camera sources. You control your show from an iPad or MacBook, switching between cameras, adding titles, graphics, transitions and effects with ease.
Epiphan AV.io is our top recommendation for bringing HDMI or SDI camera output into your computer.
- Av.ios are a little more expensive then cheap HDMI to USB converters,, but worth every penny. They are rugged, USB bus powered and require no drivers at all. Open a program like zoom, OBS, vMix, or wirecast and the Av.io just shows up as a choice in the pulldown.
- You may already have a camcorder or a video mixer / switcher at your church or school. You just need to be able to take the video and get it out on the internet to Facebook, YouTube etc. Add an encoder like the LiveU Solo, Teradek VidiuGo or Matrox Monarch. They work great and deliver outstanding video quality with perfect audio sync.
Turn your iPhone into a webcam with NDI!
- NewTek just released a new set of NDI apps and tools that allow you to use your iPhone as a camera wirelessly into almost any video app including zoom, vMix, OBS, Wirecast, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx and so much more. Watch this video tutorial and you are good to go.
We use an Atomos field recorder to record our shows straight into ProRes at the highest resolution.
- We then simply copy the file off the SSD drive we used with the Atomos and bring it directly into our NLE. Adobe Premiere, FCPX and Avid Media Composer all edit ProRes natively as do many other video editing programs. This saves us a ton of time because we don’t have to transcode a thing!
Epiphan Pearl Mini is a great solution for teachers, ministers and corporate video producers who need to be able to be on the show and run the show at the same time.
- It is a 2-channel mixing, encoding, streaming, recording and play back device. Once you set it up for your show, you can easily run the show, cutting between cameras/sources, putting up picture-in-picture etc. from the built in screen on the face of the unit.
- It is amazing how much better it can make your productions look when you use more than one camera. PTZ cams do not require a camera operator, meaning you can produce your videos less expensively, with the same amount of people. In these times of social distancing, the most important people in the room are the talent. The teachers, ministers, trainers, etc who are actually on camera.
- Integrating a PTZ camera into your production is pretty easy, and with NDI it becomes not just easier, but more powerful.
- Using NDI and a powered switch you can not only get the video from the PTZ camera with a single GigE network cable, you can also control the camera, provide tally and PoE (Power over Ethernet).
You can integrate all off our products into Zoom or other video conferencing tools. There are two different ways to look at this. I will use Zoom in these examples, but you can use any other video conferencing tool including Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx tec.
1. Sending your Zoom conference out to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or any other CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- Why do people want to do this? Because you want to have an interactive discussion among your invited guests, while broadcasting the discussion to your broader audience.
- The easiest way to do this is to run Zoom on one computer and feed the output from that computer into a second computer or streaming device. You can use a USB capture device like an Epiphan AV.io or skip the hardware and do it via NDI. Not only does this let you broadcast the show, you can use your streaming solution to add graphics, lower thirds, transitions, effects and other production values to your Zoom conference.
2. Bringing your multicamera production into Zoom.
- Why do people want to do this?
- Because you want to stream your multicamera show with an added level of interactivity and communication between your guests. This lets you combine the high level production quality of your production with the interactivity and shared experience of zoom.
- The easy way to do this is to just output your show from your mixer via USB capture device or NDI and have it be your webcam for the show. This works, but it limits the interactivity of the presenter in the zoom conference.
- To get around this we recommend the presenter also run zoom on a laptop or device and participate int eh zoom discussion via that instance. You are actually two of the people in the zoom conference. Once as the multicamera production stream and also as a presenter. Use an earpiece plugged into the device you are using as the presenter/host.
3. Some people want to do both.
Live streaming their zoom conference while also using their high quality production solution as part of the zoom confernence.
Why do people want to do this?
Because they want to be able to do it all!
This gets a lot trickier and may require multiple computers each with specific tasks. Bandwidth can quickly become an issue here.
We are going to do an entire show on integrating Zoom and live streaming technology together. What are best practices. How to use NDI. When to not use NDI. Many more tips and tricks.