Welcome to the first Whiteboard Wednesday! In our inaugural episode we are teaching you how to live stream your event! Live streaming events is super popular and for good reason! You can expand your reach and capture new audiences. Almost any event can be live streamed but the quality varies quite a bit depending on the WAY you live stream. In today’s first very first episode of Whiteboard Wednesdays, our very own Will Curran is going to take you through how to live stream your event. From simple tips to improve a basic setup to how to achieve professional audio and video this video is packed with tips, you can’t afford to miss!
Video Transcription – How to Live Stream Your Event
Hey everyone. It’s Will Curran from Endless Events. Welcome to the first ever Whiteboard Wednesday. What is Whiteboard Wednesday? This is gonna be a video where we take complex AV and event questions, and concerns, and we distill em down to simple concepts that we can write right on the whiteboard. So today, let’s jump right on into our first topic, and it is how to live stream your event. And you might be thinking to yourself, “I’ve lived streamed an event. “I’ve done Facebook live. “I’ve done Instagram live before.” We’re gonna be talking a little about how to take it to the next level. But we do want to start off with the simple easy thing that allows you to get up and quick running with your live stream, and that is using your phone.
So you all have a phone in your pocket, right? We’re all used to them having really great cameras. They have internet built into ’em. What a great world we live in. You’ve probably even live streamed onto Facebook or Instagram before like I was talking about, and that is awesome. But you might have noticed that there are some limitations to shooting with your phone. Well, first of all, it’s only one camera, right? You might be a little shaky. You also realize that there’s a big sacrifice when it comes down to your audio, as well.
So, what we’re going to be talking about, is when you go from your live stream with your phone, and using your great camera, the next step, level up, for you, is to take your phone and to add some cool tech to it. So what cool tech am I talking about? Well, let’s start with the first piece of gear. Like I talked about, you want to have good audio. So, what’s great, is now companies like Rode, R, O, D, E make the video mic Me. It’s a really simple camera microphone, for your phone, that literally plugs into the bottom of it, and you have a nice camera for it, or a nice microphone, I should say. So, what’s great about this, it allows you to use your existing phone’s camera, and for about 40 bucks, you can get really, really good audio with it. This is great if you’re doing interviews, or if you’re doing some close-ups, or doing kind of like a, what’s it’s like to be an audience member of your event. Really, really cool, and really, really cheap way to get great audio. Again, don’t sacrifice audio, though. You don’t want to use these onboard microphones on your camera. You know, you’ve noticed their audio is just not good. Have you ever been there before, where you’re sitting in an event, someone’s live streaming from their phone, and you can just hear all the echos. You hear all the people talking to the side. Not good at all. Use really, really good audio.
Stabilize Your Video
The second piece, as a grab it, for me, is having really good, not shaky video, by using a tripod, and you’ve probably heard of a tripod before. You use it for a camera, to keep it still. We’re using one right now to hold this camera. Well, what you probably haven’t heard of is called a Gorilla Pod. This is what a Gorilla Pod is. It allows you to bend the legs. It can grip onto things. You can attach it to a chair. You can attach it to an arm, a backpack, whatever you wanna do. Really, really cool. It’s a really, really cheap way for, again, 40 bucks, for you to have a quick and easy tripod when shooting video.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Well how do I use my phone?” Well, you’ve probably seen it on selfie sticks before, they make these really cool adapters now for tripods that allow you to attach your phone right to the tripod. Which is really cool, because it allows you to get that smooth and still video. No one likes to watch the shaky Cloverfield Project, ya know, video. Everyone wants to have clear, concise, not shaky video. So pick up a tripod. Again, probably like 40 bucks for this Gorillapod, maybe ten bucks for the adapter, and you’ve got now still calm video, and good audio.
Well, you might be thinking to yourself, “Well what if I want to take my audio to the next level?” Again, if you’re using a microphone on your phone, you’re probably still not gonna get a really great audio. Let’s say you want to get the great audio that’s coming from your AV team. And we’re gonna talk about working with your AV team a little bit later. So what you wanna do is pick up what I’m calling and audio input. They make these really, really great pieces of gear that allow you to take the audio input from your AV company and plug it straight into your phone. Really crazy, right?
So you can use your phone’s existing camera, but then grab all that audio from the great microphones that they’re using, and the great audio that’s being mixed by an audio engineer, and bring right into your phone, to get that great audio. What you can find is that gets you way above what most people are doing when they’re live streaming straight from their phone. So, pretty cool right? Again, microphones, audio inputs, tripods. Again, a big focus on audio, and we’ll talk a little bit about that a little bit later.
Video Capture Cards
So you might be wondering, “How can I level this up? “I’ve done this before,” maybe “I’ve used “a couple of these things.” You know, again, a hundred bucks all in, so far, to do this. But let’s say you wanna level it up even more. You wanna add things like graphics, and you wanna go to standby screens and things like that. That’s where you want to bring in, a little bit more powerful than your phone, is your laptop. Laptops these days have really, really great software that allows you to live stream really incredibly, easily. And what’s cool about your laptop is it’s just more powerful than your phone. What’s also really cool is not only can you take audio inputs, microphones, tripods, all these things like that to shoot, good cameras, and all that sort of stuff, but you can also use what’s called a video capture card.
What’s a video capture card? Well, it’s essentially it’s a little adapter you plug into the side of your computer and it allows you to take the video input from your camera into the laptop and treat it like a webcam. This is so cool, because this allows you to take your existing cameras that you have, plug it straight into your computer, and for little to no cost now you have great video, as well. So this is really, really cool and your laptop is able to do it. Unfortunately, phones haven’t quite gotten there where we can take things like nice 4K cameras or your nice DSLR camera and plug it into there, but we’ll get there eventually.
Buying Equipment Vs Hiring a Team
So we’ve got your phone, we’ve got your phone plus cool tech, and then maybe using your laptop and some cool tech, and ya know relatively low cost. Well, let’s say, for example, you’ve done this before, and you’re thinking, “Yeah, we’re ready to level up “our live stream one more level.” Really, really cool, and that’s really awesome. Let’s say for example you wanna sell tickets to your live stream, or you wanna put this on your Facebook audience that has millions of fans, and you wanna make sure it’s super polished. Well, how can you do this really, really easily? There are two routes that you can take. Not four, but two. And instead of buying all of the equipment, you can also have a solution where you don’t have to buy the equipment.
So the two routes we’re gonna take you down are buying the equipment and kind of doing this in-house, or not buying the equipment and kind of, relying on a team to do it. Obviously, this depends on your team, how much resources you have available to you, your budget, all of that sort of stuff. If you do have a really great tech person, someone maybe who went to film school, someone who’s really interested in graphic design, or computers, or maybe they have live streamed before, then maybe buying your own equipment isn’t an option.
That’s where I’m gonna bring in option number three, which I’m calling the plug and play system. Obviously, you can go out and buy all of the professional grade, high-end equipment, but that can get expensive, and also, a lot of it gets outdated very, very quickly. So instead I recommend these plug and play systems.
Plug and Play Systems
These are things like, for example, the Sling Studio. I will link it down below in the show notes so you can see what this looks like. But for a thousand, 2,000 dollars you can buy this box that does everything you need it to do. Another company that does this is actually a company called Live Stream. It’s actually not only a platform to host your live stream, but also they make hardware. What’s really critical about these live streams is it’s utilizing a software called a switcher. You might be thinking to yourself, “What is a switcher, and why do I need it?” A switcher is a key part of a live stream, and part of a video set up. Essentially, what it allows you to do, is take multiple signals in and switch between them.
For example, you can take three or four cameras, bring ’em all into your switcher, for example, the Sling Studio Box, or the Live Stream box, bring ’em all in. You can bring in things likes phones wirelessly now. You can bring in things like graphics laptops, laptops playing video content. You can bring in a shot showing the crowd. You can show one shot from the audience this way, one shot from the – you can take shots wherever, it’s like almost unlimited chances that you have to be able to do this, and what’s cool about the switchers is that allows you to switch between them very quickly, just like a live broadcast would when you’re watching TV.
Why is this important? You might be thinking to yourself, “This sounds more complicated, more annoying.” Well, the important part is that you wanna keep your live stream audience engaged. And if you’ve ever sat and watched a live stream for more than 15 minutes, where they’re sitting there with a camera and just sitting there recording something, chances are, unless the content is insanely compelling, it’s probably gonna bore you out, right? But, when you watch TV, they’re going between different things. They’re bringing in video content. They’re bringing in graphics. They’re going to the studio. They’re going back to the live, down on the field, all those things like that. You wanna be able to do that same thing for your event, as well, and a switcher is gonna allow you to do that. Which, again, it doesn’t take a lot to be able to do this, it just takes having the right tools to be able to do it.
Hiring an AV Company to Professionally Live Stream Events
You might be thinking to yourself, “OK, I’m cool to do the cameras, all these things, “but that just sounds like way too much work. “How can I simplify all of this? “Isn’t there like an even more plug and play system?” And that’s where option number four comes in, relying on your AV company. And I must admit, we are an AV company at Endless Events, so I’m trying to not be biased on this. I’m not saying this is the best scenario for everybody, but it is a scenario to think about. A lot of times when it comes to your AV company they might be already bringing in a lot of this equipment that we’re talking about.
For example, microphones, switchers, cameras, great audio, all that’s already gonna be there and funneled and managed by your AV company. Chances are, they’re already having two cameras, they’re already gonna have the switchers. Everything’s gonna be already there already. If you allow your AV company to get involved, you can take all that existing infrastructure you’ve already built and paid for, and then all they have to do is bring a box and push it to the internet and live stream it.
This is really incredibly powerful because it allows you to save time, cost, and not have to double up efforts. I’ve seen far to often where clients will be like, “We’re gonna live stream,” and they bring in a separate live stream company with their own cameras, with their own switchers, when in reality we already have all that stuff available for them.
So, again, if you are interested in live streaming an event and taking it to that next level of selling tickets, making sure it’s super professional, talk to your AV company, as well. Say, “Hey do we have any infrastructure already “available that allows us to live stream?” Chances are they will already have it. So, there are your four options, I just realized five options, because I have three on here twice. We’re just making sure you’re paying attention. The first option is using your phone plus some cool tech, a laptop plus some cool tech, plug and play systems, and then relying on your AV company. So you might be thinking, “OK, I’m ready to go live stream. “I know what solution I’m gonna pick.” Before you get quite out there, I want to leave you with a couple of bonus tips when it comes to doing live streams for your event.
Hardwired Internet Connection
So, first of all, when it comes to live streaming your event, you’re putting together all this awesome content, you’re doing all this awesome video, and everything like that, you also have to think about the internet, and how you’re gonna get it out there. You might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah well I got internet. “I got the wifi at the hotel. “We’re good to go.” Uh, be careful of that. Sometimes wifi can be really, really unreliable. I mean, you’ve probably seen it before, where you’ve been sitting there doing something on your phone and then lots of attendees show up, 3,000 people show up and all of a sudden the wifi just starts to suck. No one wants that.
So instead, what you want to utilize is what’s called a hard wired internet connection. A hard-wired internet connection is like when you hook up for internet straight into the wall. The reason why this is important is that it doesn’t rely on the wirelessness, I guess I will call it, as a technical term, that can potentially have issues. Instead, you have a dedicated internet connection. So, first thing is to make sure it’s hard-wired.
Second thing is to make sure it’s dedicated. Why does is matter if it’s dedicated? Well, let’s say, for example, it’s on the same network as all your wifi and all your attendees. 3,000 people show up, the wifi starts to get bogged down. If you’re on a shared internet connection, even if it’s hard-wired, with that wifi, your internet connection is gonna go down as well or have issues and no one wants that. The last thing you want is your whole live stream audience to lose connection. Oh, yikes. So instead, make it dedicated, so it’s completely separated, and make sure it’s hard-wired. Pretty easy, right?
Don’t Sacrifice Audio Quality
On to tip number two. We talked a lot about microphones and audio inputs. One thing that you never, ever, wanna do is sacrifice audio quality when it comes to your live stream. Sure, you can have mad video, but if you have bad audio people are gonna tune out faster. People want to hear things. A lot of times when it comes to these live streams, if they’re listening to conferences, or whatever it may be, a lot of times they’re just throwing it in the background anyway, so they might actually forgive having bad video.
I believe there was a study that we talked about. My good friend, Kyle, who’s actually helping film this, we talked about a study. I forget where it was exactly, but essentially they did a test, a blind test, they said they showed a video with good audio, but had crappy video, and then they showed one with crappy video, but also crappy audio. What they found is that the people with good audio, more than likely said that they thought the video looked good, just because it had good audio. Crazy, right? I’m paraphrasing. We’ll figure out the exact case study and link it down below, but you want to make sure that you have a really, really good audio because no one’s going to forgive it. The last thing you wanna do is give bad audio.
Acknowledge Your Audience
My last little tip that I had on here is to acknowledge your live stream audience. I had to remember what my notes said. So, acknowledging your live stream audience is extremely important. Have you ever been there before, where you’re watching a live stream and you just felt like you were a fly on the wall, watching everything that was going on? It can get boring insanely fast, and you don’t want to be sitting there feeling like, “Man I’m not involved in this whole process. “I’m not involved in this conversation.” You want to feel engaged. So what you want to do is engage your live stream audience.
The simple, first way to do this is just acknowledge they’re there. Hey, live stream audience. We got 3,000 people tuning in from around the world. It’s so good to see you guys all here. We are so happy to have you here. Boom. That’s a simple thing. When you start to get that mentality, you start to figure out ways that you can engage them as well. Do things like live polling. Do Q and As that allow them to participate. Allow them to interact with either via live chat. There’s a lot of different ways that you can do this.
We’re gonna link down below to a lot of resources that talk about how to engage your live stream, but you just want to have that mentality when it comes to it. Don’t just slap a camera on there and expect them to stick around, because, far too often, when it comes to live stream audiences, people just want to tune out, and they say, “No matter how exciting the live content is, “I can watch this later.” And you don’t want that.
So, again, I’m gonna link down below to a ton of resources. We’ve done a ton hashtag event, icons, podcast episodes on this topic. We’ve done a ton of deep dives into how to do this. The kind of equipment you need, what you should be talking to your AV company about, everything like that we’re gonna link down below into the show notes. So, that concludes this first ever, Whiteboard Wednesday, where I actually remembered to record the audio properly. I’m so excited and I hope you guys enjoyed it.
If you did really enjoy it please leave a comment down below. Like, subscribe, all that sort of stuff. I’d love to hear your feedback. What sort of topics do you wanna see me cover? What sort of things are really complicated you’d love to have me draw my crappy handwriting all over the whiteboard for? I wanna see it, and I wanna hear from you guys. So, please, please reach out to us, and engage with us as well. Who is definitely our virtual audience, as well. I hope you guys enjoyed and this has been Whiteboard Wednesday. We’ll see you next Wednesday. Adios.
Check out the Resources Mentioned
- RODE Mic
- Gorilla Pod
- Sling Studio
- Switcher Studio
- How To Engage Your Live Stream Audience – #EVENTICONS