This guide is going to give you everything you need to know about live streaming. Whether you’re looking for basic tips on how to get started or you want more advanced training on the equipment to use for live streaming in-person or virtual events, this guide will give you the scoop on it all.
Why’d we create this guide for you?
Our primary area of expertise is event video production. In our years working on event videos, we’ve never seen event promotion flourish like it has since live streaming came on the scene. Our clients have seen massive success by leveraging live video strategies that create immersive events and engender meaningful interactions with consumers.
Still, live streaming alone won’t get you a higher ROI. If you really want to see success and differentiate yourself, the quality of your live streaming video production matters. Anyone can go live now. It’s about creating a live stream that looks and feels just as valuable as your other content.
When quality matters, you want to learn from and work with the people who know video production the best. That’s True Film Production. We’re experts in producing recorded and live videos that cut through the noise to generate views, engagement, and revenue.
We have a stake in your success. So that’s why we’re giving you our guide with everything we know about live streaming, from the equipment you need to the platforms to choose to the content you should record.
It’s time to go live.
What you’ll learn:
- Why live stream your events?
- Getting started with live stream video production
- What you need for a successful live stream
- 5 types of live streams that show massive success
- 8 ways to encourage engagement on a live stream
- How to live stream on 6 key social channels
- Our favorite live streaming solutions and software
- Going live
Why live stream your events?
Live streaming is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. Consumers expect that their favorite brands will “go live” to interact with them on a more personal and intimate level. Live streaming opens the lines of communication between brands and audiences in real-time, which creates an authentic dialogue that consumers love, appreciate, and value.
What are some of the advantages of using live streaming for your branded events?
1. Qualified interaction
The people who are watching your live video want to be there. They’ve made time in their day to watch your live stream. They’re not just browsing around and come upon your video and watch it for a few minutes. This means your live viewers have a high level of commitment and brand loyalty, which means you’re more likely to continue to engage and convert them moving forward.
Live content not only increases engagement levels, it raises engagement in real time. The audience is interacting with the streamer right now, through virtual chats and digital networking. This allows businesses to provide live support, encourage Q&A sessions digitally, and even provide interactive tours or experiences.
Like anything, the first adopters are ahead of the game—and usually stay the leaders of the pack. While the prerecorded video is still a large part of visual content consumption, live stream is quickly growing—without yet being overpopulated. People are watching lives on a daily basis, but not all brands have hopped on board yet. Those brands that do—like you—will be ahead of the curve and able to differentiate before live stream becomes the new norm.
Live streaming is one of the most inexpensive forms of video production. Even if you use high-quality equipment and strategy (which you should), you still don’t have the same sorts of costs as prerecorded video. There are a lot of free or low-cost platforms for streaming, and you can create high-quality videos with minimal additional cost.
You’re already hosting the event. Throwing it on a live stream doesn’t take much more time to set up and launch. In fact, you’re getting two birds for the price of one—an awesome event and digital content. This widens your reach during the event as well as offering content for promotion post-event.
6. Wide reach
A typical event is limited to a defined number of seats and attendees. Plus, attendees have a time and cost commitment with an event, or they may not be able to attend for other reasons. When you live stream an in-person event online or use live streaming for virtual events, though, you can invite as many digital attendees as you’d like. And they won’t have to worry about travel expenses or taking time off from their lives. There is no longer a location or size constraint (except the capacity of your servers). This allows for a much wider reach, which in turn creates a more connected network.
Live streaming is a powerful and resource-effective tool to connect to a large, engaged audience who is eager to learn from and interact with your brand.
Getting started with live stream video production
Live streaming is different than pre-recorded videos, so the strategy for execution is also a little different. Rather than having time to set up a storyline, curate the content, and polish the final product, live streaming video happens in real-time and of-the-moment. But that doesn’t mean you want to throw it to the wind and just hope for the best. Live streaming video requires ample preparation and pre-production to ensure the scene is set and the storytelling is on point when you go live.
What do you need to think about when you’re creating a live stream video strategy?
- Content strategy: What is your overall content strategy purpose? Where and how will live streaming fit in and add to the value of this strategy?
- Goals of live stream: What do you hope to achieve with the live stream? For example, do you want to reach a wider audience, engage customers from home, instill a sense of FOMO, etc.?
- Content: What will you live stream? Are you live streaming at in-person conferences? Are you live-streaming virtual events? Will you live stream behind-the-scenes or panel discussions, for example?
- Consistency: When and how often will you go live? Can you create a series of live streams during your event(s)?
- Audience: Who is your intended live stream audience? How are you going to target your prospects/customers with your live stream?
- Conversions: How will you promote action during and after the live stream? What will the call to action be?
- Interaction: A major goal of live streaming is real-time engagement between brands and customers. How will you enable and encourage interactions and conversations?
- Value: What sorts of value are you going to provide to your audience with live streams? How will you differentiate your content?
- Distribution: On what platforms will you live stream? How will you distribute your content during and after the stream? Where does your audience want to watch your live stream?
There’s a lot to think about. We’ll take you through some of the key decision factors in the rest of this guide, like distribution channels, technology solutions, and more.
The most important aspect to get started with live streaming is to understand how it fits into your current content strategy. Just like any marketing tool, you should go through your typical brainstorming and creative process to ensure your live streams align with and achieve your business goals.
Brainstorming your strategy is our very first step at True Film Production. No matter what kind of video content you’re looking for, we take the time to define what a valuable strategy will look like for your business, audience, and goals. That’s because we know getting the strategy right is the key to unlocking success with your event content. Learn about our unique video production process here.
What you need for a successful live stream
Preparation is key to ensuring your live stream goes off without a hitch (or at least as few “hitches” as possible). What do you need to prepare in advance for a high-quality live stream?
You can’t live stream if you don’t have a reliable internet connection to support the stream. You want at least 2x the upload speed as the bitrate at which you’ll stream.
For large-scale events where a lot of people might be in the room using the same network, you may want to stream using an Ethernet to a dedicated network. This reduces bandwidth fluctuation, so you know your stream will continue loading.
We typically recommend a minimum internet speed of 25 Mbps. For multiple cameras and larger productions, we recommend at least 50 Mbps. You also want open ports 1935, 80, and 443 to enable a flow of inbound and outbound traffic.
The camera is the golden ticket that captures your event, so it’s critical you get the right high-quality camera for your event needs. We typically use an FS7 or c300 for live streaming most events, because it’s durable and flexible while streaming superior quality footage.
You may need multiple cameras to capture different scenes, shots, or experiences at one time. Even a presentation from a keynote speaker could benefit from multiple camera angles, so your live stream audience can see the speaker, the venue, the crowd, and the stage during the presentation.
You don’t want an awesome picture without great sound to back it up. It’s important to ensure your audio is crisp and aligned with the speakers (no lag time). There’s a lot to know when it comes to audio like mixer outputs, connection types, digital vs analog mixers, audio equalization (EQ), gain and loudness output, microphones, and more.
To make it easier for you, True Film offers different audio packages based on your needs. This includes audio packages with mixers for large and multi-camera events.
We always start by taking a look at the venue to note the natural light sources. The sun can be the camera’s best friend—or worst foe, depending on the time of day. We’ll take a look at the scene to see how we can balance natural and manufactured light for each live stream event (noting place and time of day), so you can have the best quality stream.
Basic lighting includes a three-point light kit. This has a main light, fill light, and backlight that adds more depth and strength to the lighting. This works for interviews or contained streams, but it’s typically not enough for most large events. True Film brings in a full lighting package based on the venue’s team and location to ensure every shot is lit beautifully.
Without enough power, your cameras and live stream could shut down. Large events use up more power, so you could end up with circuit failures. If the power blips for even a second, your live stream will cut off entirely. You’ll want to make sure there are different power circuits for lights, audio, encoders, cameras, and other tech to minimize power usage. You may also want a backup power source like an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in case one of the circuits shorts.
An encoder is what allows the live feed to be viewed on the internet. You’ll likely need a strong encoder to ensure your video can make the jump from the camera to the web. Check out YouTube’s resource about encoders for more.
A switcher helps you “switch” between multiple cameras during a live broadcast. This is important if you want to create an immersive, dynamic event that presents a grander experience to the online viewer. Check out different switchers/mixers to see the number of camera inputs and bandwidth they enable.
It’s the crew that really makes the show and stream happen. The size of your crew depends on your event and live streaming needs. For example, if you’re just live streaming an interview, you probably only need a producer and cameraman. For a panel of presenters, you’d likely need multiple camera operators, producers, production assistants, and technical directors. You’d need all that and also an audio engineer, grip, and runners for a larger conference.
Do you need a crew if you’re live streaming virtual events? Absolutely. It’s the same as an in-person event, just without the live audience. Even if you just have your presenters tuning in on their own webcams, you want at least a producer and technical director on hand for setup and to fix any technical difficulties as they arise.
It’s simple, but having enough room for your camera, crew, and equipment is a must. You don’t want people walking in front of your live stream frequently or bumping into your cameras. Work with the venue to coordinate a designated space for your live stream that will be undisturbed and house all the equipment you need.
Branding your live stream is just as important as branding your event. You want people to tune in and instantly know who’s hosting the live stream. To do this, we offer a graphics package that inputs your brand and other value-driven graphics right into the stream. This includes intros, lower thirds, outros, video files, Powerpoint slides/decks (especially for presentations), and other branding elements. Learn more about our graphics packages here.
When it comes to live streaming events, you have to prepare for the worst. Preparing for everything is the key to expecting anything. You want to be aware of everything that could go wrong, so you can take steps to prevent it from happening.
You also should test everything before you go live. Test your cameras, audio, lighting, internet connection, stream quality, backup flows, switchers, and anything else you’ll be using during the live stream. Do a trial run to make sure everything looks and feels great before you actually go live. Once you’re live, there’s nothing you can do; so test and adjust ahead of time.
5 types of live streams that show massive success
There are three main reasons you’d want to live stream.
- You are hosting an in-person event and you want to extend your reach by offering access to certain aspects of the event from home for non-attendees.
- You are hosting a virtual event and want the interaction and connection that live streaming offers.
- You have exciting news or information to share with your audience that would feel more genuine live, as opposed to pre-recorded video.
We’re going to give you some examples of live stream topics that have done really well for clients in the past–and that we know you’ll see success with too.
1. Conferences and trade shows
If the event is in person, you can use live streams to show off different booths, product launches, and speeches. If the event is virtual, live streams from each sponsor and speaker are a great way to replicate the personal and interactive aspects of the event. We especially love pairing 3D renderings of booths with live streaming of product releases and discussions to create an immersive experience for the digital participant.
2. Panels and interviews
Whether at an event or you just want to share some information with your audience, gathering some experts in your industry is an incredible way to demonstrate your brand’s credibility, provide value to your customers, and create meaningful conversations between your business and consumer. Live streaming an interview with your CEO or a panel of researchers that designed your product or a table talk of experts is sure to grab the attention of your audience.
3. Concerts and shows
During quarantine, Andrea Bocelli put on a beautiful live stream concert on YouTube that was breathtakingly stunning. Alone in the Duomo di Milano, he put on the Music For Hope concert “for no one,” even though over 39 people were in attendance from their homes. This is a great example that, although concerts are fun live, shows can be equally as impressive, exciting, and experiential through the screen.
If you’re hosting a training, you can live stream it to employees in multiple business locations. This allows you to maintain a level of consistency among training while also united branches from across the country or the globe. Many of our clients have seen success live streaming parts of the training, as an introduction from a CEO or an exciting announcement from a team lead, and supplementing compliance or sales training (for example) as a pre-recorded video.
Everyone wants to feel the excitement of hearing or seeing something as its announced/released. Live stream your announcement so everyone-customers, employees, partners, journalists, shareholders- can see and share in the excitement together. Apple, Tesla, and other major brands live stream all their major announcements and draw huge crowds because they know people want the excitement that comes with a live announcement (more so than a print release).
Pretty much any event, big or small, can be live-streamed for optimal success. If you want to reach a wider audience, live streaming is the way to go.
Want more? Part II will be up on July 14th!
The post The Ultra-Ultimate Guide To Live Streaming Events – Part I appeared first on True Film Production.