Lessons Learnt - Webcasting live to the web


Larry Jordan# TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Larry Jordan
Issue 105 - September 2015
When I first started in this industry, more than 40 years ago, live television broadcasts were plentiful and popular. In fact, I got my start as a director in live television. However, the only way to create a live broadcast was with lots of equipment, large crews and plenty of money.

Today, the paradigm has shifted away from broadcast to the web. Live webinars abound from a wide variety of sources. In the past, live broadcasting was extremely complex. Today, live webcasts are far easier.

A couple of issues ago, I wrote about how we were able to create our own live web streaming facility for our studio. This month, I want to share some of the lessons weve learned over the last several months on what it takes to make web streaming successful.
  • Live webcasting is the same as doing live television. Keep the pace moving, and take advantage of the visual aspect of your presentation.

  • Dont do live streaming unless you can take advantage of being live through the content you are providing, chats with the audience, surveys, or other interactive elements. Live streaming is WAY harder than downloading a file. Downloading recorded files is fast, easy, inexpensive and cheap. The technology is well understood and works great. Live streaming should only be considered when the live element is paramount. However, like live broadcasting in general, when everything is working, theres nothing more exciting than watching something unfold live, in real-time.

  • Online webinar systems like GoToWebinar or Adobe Connect are excellent for screen sharing with a single microphone. They are terrible if you need to coordinate multiple audio elements into a program.

  • We prefer not to use YouTube live streaming even though YouTube live streaming is much easier. If you simply need to set-up a one-time-only stream to a few friends, this is a perfect system. However, YouTube exists for online adverting and marketing. I cant control or remove ads that may appear on my stream, nor can I control who can watch it. If I am presenting proprietary or paid material, YouTube is not a good choice. For me, it boils down to a question of control; I want to be in control of my live streams.

  • There is always a delay in a streamed file. There is a LOT of latency in the web. On a live stream, originating from our offices, the streamed version of our presentation will run1 to 3 minutes BEHIND the live event. This has big implications if you are expecting live comments from the audience, as they will be responding several minutes after you presented the material. If no audience response is expected, this is not a big deal. But if you are expecting interaction, you need to design your presentation to accommodate these delays.
  • We start all our live streams with a 15 minute pre-recorded preshow. During the preshow, we run tips on how to maximize audience participation, humorous sayings, sponsor messages and anything else that seems appropriate. This allows audience members to verify they are in the right place for the right presentation and that their system is working properly.

  • You must use a content distribution network to distribute your program on the web. We use Wirecast to digitize our content and send it from the Wirecast computer to the web. From there, the CDN (FrontLayer.com) takes over and sends our signal to the world.

  • Unlike downloads, live streaming takes bandwidth. LOTS of bandwidth. If you expect a lot of people to watch, be sure you budget enough money to cover bandwidth costs. Also, truthfully, if you are doing a large event, hire a company to handle the technical details of the live stream; at least the first time. There is a LOT to configure and even more that can go wrong. If this is a high-visibility event, get help.
  • If the size of your audience varies, or tends to be on the smaller side, consider using a streaming provider that charges for on-demand bandwidth. We use FrontLayer.com, which does just that. We pay for a base amount of bandwidth and we are able to purchase more if we need it.

  • One of the best tips I got when I first started creating my podcast was to build a Show Bed. This is a fully-timed QuickTime file containing the open, close, segment times and all music. Because the show bed is already built and timed, I dont need to worry about rolling in lots of different elements, I just need to worry about the content and ending segments on time. If you have a very limited crew, creating a show bed can reduce errors and stress. As your crew, facilities and skills increase, you can move away from a show bed into a more flexible format.

  • I recommend streaming a 720p/30 HD image. Yes, larger image sizes look great, but not everyone in your audience has the bandwidth to support the larger image. Worse, moving from a 720p image to a 1080p image will almost double your bandwidth costs. I find that we get great images and results webcasting 720p.
  • The more complex your program, the faster computer you need for digitizing. In our case, we switch cameras, add graphics, and other video elements using a Blackmagic Design ATEM switcher. Then, the audio and video signals go to a Mac Mini computer running Wirecast for digitizing and uploading to the web. We upload at 2 mbps. If we were switching cameras, adding graphics and digitizing on the same system, Id swap the Mac Mini for an 8-core Mac Pro with 64 GB of RAM.


Live webcasting gives me the same fun and excitement today as I did creating live television all those years ago. However, it isnt the same; issues of latency, bandwidth, computer horsepower and technical complexity make webcasting challenging. In fact, during all our live productions, I have at least one web person online full-time handling tech support issues, which are separate from questions about content.

However, once you have your system properly setup and your staff trained, presenting a live production is just about the most fun you can have in production. The old days have returned to life.


Tags: iss105 | webcasting | live | web | television | equipment | streaming | Larry Jordan#
Contributing Author Larry Jordan#

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
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  • RTS Omneo at BVE 2014

    RTS Omneo at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

    Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

  • Angelbird SSDs at BVE 2014

    Angelbird SSDs at BVE 2014

  • Ross Video at BVE 2014

    Ross Video at BVE 2014

  • Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

    Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

  • aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

    aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

  • Sony Camcorders at BVE 2014

    Sony Camcorders at BVE 2014

  • Sony Monitors at BVE 2014

    Sony Monitors at BVE 2014

  • Sony Wireless Microphones at BVE 2014

    Sony Wireless Microphones at BVE 2014

  • Sennheiser HDM Pro at BVE 2014

    Sennheiser HDM Pro at BVE 2014

  • Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

    Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

  • DPA Microphones and Bubblebee Industries at BVE 2014

    DPA Microphones and Bubblebee Industries at BVE 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Metus Ingest at BVE 2014

    Metus Ingest at BVE 2014

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2014

    Hireacamera at BVE 2014

  • Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

    Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

  • TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

    TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

  • Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2014

    Grass Valley at BVE 2014

  • ERA at BVE 2014

    ERA at BVE 2014

  • ERA Avere at BVE 2014

    ERA Avere at BVE 2014

  • Camdec at BVE 2014

    Camdec at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

  • Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

    Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

  • TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

    TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

  • Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

    Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

  • Dalet at IBC 2013

    Dalet at IBC 2013

  • DPA Microphones at IBC 2013

    DPA Microphones at IBC 2013

  • Gearhouse Broadcast HD OB trailer at IBC 2013

    Gearhouse Broadcast HD OB trailer at IBC 2013

  • Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

    Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

  • Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

    Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

  • Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • RTW at IBC 2013

    RTW at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2013

    Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2013

  • Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

    Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

  • Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

    Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • Blueshape Batteries at IBC 2013

    Blueshape Batteries at IBC 2013

  • Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

    Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

  • i-Movix Slow Motion and D-Flicker at IBC 2013

    i-Movix Slow Motion and D-Flicker at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • Marshall Monitors at IBC 2013

    Marshall Monitors at IBC 2013

  • Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

    Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

  • Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

    Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

  • TSL Products at IBC 2013

    TSL Products at IBC 2013

  • TSL Systems at IBC 2013

    TSL Systems at IBC 2013

  • Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

    Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

  • Pixel Power at IBC 2013

    Pixel Power at IBC 2013

  • Albis Technologies celebrating ten years at IBC 2013

    Albis Technologies celebrating ten years at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm at IBC 2013

  • Bridge Technologies QoE Monitoring with Mobile Videowall Display at IBC 2013

    Bridge Technologies QoE Monitoring with Mobile Videowall Display at IBC 2013

  • Broadpeak at IBC 2013

    Broadpeak at IBC 2013

  • Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

    Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

    NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

  • Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

    Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

    Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2013

    Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at IBC 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at IBC 2013

  • Quantels Stream-based Workflows at IBC 2013

    Quantels Stream-based Workflows at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Maevex at IBC 2013

    Matrox Maevex at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Avio at IBC 2013

    Matrox Avio at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Video with Monarch HD at IBC 2013

    Matrox Video with Monarch HD at IBC 2013

  • NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

    NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2012

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2012

  • IMT Broadcast at NAB 2012

    IMT Broadcast at NAB 2012

  • Root6 at BVE 2012

    Root6 at BVE 2012

  • Sensio at IBC2011

    Sensio at IBC2011

  • Globecast at IBC2011

    Globecast at IBC2011

  • SADiE at IBC2011

    SADiE at IBC2011

  • Elemental Technologies - AWS acquisition at NAB 2016

    Elemental Technologies - AWS acquisition at NAB 2016

  • Elemental Technologies - Amazon acquisition at IBC 2015

    Elemental Technologies - Amazon acquisition at IBC 2015

  • PlayBox Technology: ScheduleBox at NAB 2013

    PlayBox Technology: ScheduleBox at NAB 2013

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2013

    Grass Valley at BVE 2013

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

    Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

  • Infinity Arm - Matthews Studio Equipment at NAB 2016

    Infinity Arm - Matthews Studio Equipment at NAB 2016

  • Belfast TOUR

    Belfast TOUR

  • Thear Technology at BVE 2013

    Thear Technology at BVE 2013

  • Guntermann and Drunck GmbH at BVE 2013

    Guntermann and Drunck GmbH at BVE 2013

  • Bexel at NAB 2012

    Bexel at NAB 2012

  • Thear Technology Limited at ProVideo2011

    Thear Technology Limited at ProVideo2011

  • House of Worship Multisite Streaming from VITEC at NAB 2017

    House of Worship Multisite Streaming from VITEC at NAB 2017

  • Streaming Media with Interra Systems at NAB 2017

    Streaming Media with Interra Systems at NAB 2017

  • VITEC EZ TV at IBC 2016

    VITEC EZ TV at IBC 2016

  • JVC at IBC 2016

    JVC at IBC 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • VITEC at IBC 2015

    VITEC at IBC 2015

  • Matrox at IBC 2015

    Matrox at IBC 2015

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • Vimond Control Center at NAB 2013

    Vimond Control Center at NAB 2013

  • Matrox at BVE 2013

    Matrox at BVE 2013

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2012

    StreamUK at BVE North 2012

  • Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

    Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

  • Haivision at NAB 2012

    Haivision at NAB 2012

  • Broadcast Pix at NAB 2012

    Broadcast Pix at NAB 2012

  • Cinegy at NAB 2012

    Cinegy at NAB 2012

  • YoSpace at NAB 2012

    YoSpace at NAB 2012

  • Anton Bauer at NAB 2012

    Anton Bauer at NAB 2012

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2011

    StreamUK at BVE North 2011

  • Suitcase TV at IBC2011

    Suitcase TV at IBC2011


Related Shows
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Articles
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
Live audio contribution over wireless networks
Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Wireless “live” contribution from anywhere at any time, this is the ultimate goal for most news reporters. The old favorite of using ISDN is becoming harder and much more expensive to access easily. Today most of us use wireless daily, in particular Wifi and HSPA/LTE 4G networks. These are now mature technologies and widely used for many applications in the home and whilst out and about. However there are still some professionals who prefer to persevere with the traditional, costly and limited ISDN communication technology before jumping into the wireless era.
Tags: iss133 | adrl | wireless audio | isdn | cellular audio | Pablo Rodrigues Altmann
Contributing Author Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Click to read or download PDF
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
Fast-moving productions need multi-cam RF reliability
Darren Bilton Wireless acquisition creates a level of freedom not possible with any other form of filming yet only a decade ago the technique was barely possible. The technology enabling live real-time connections over radio frequencies has advanced leaps and bounds such that there is barely an entertainment, documentary, sports or news format today that doesn’t benefit from at least one link system. That means the demands on the kit continues to rise and includes the need for fail safe multi-camera operation, ease of use and backwards compatibility all within a small, lightweight and budget-friendly package.
Tags: iss133 | boxx tv | wireless | mpeg-4 | multicam | rf | multi-cam | Darren Bilton
Contributing Author Darren Bilton Click to read or download PDF
Trade shows and their role in the wired world
Richard Baker Historically trade shows afforded an opportunity to collect the latest brochures relevant to the visitor's chosen industry or career path. Today there seems little reason to store data of any kind, let alone paper brochures, when information is so easily accessible online. Brochure back-packing at exhibitions has become a rare sight, rarer still since the security clampdown on visitor luggage at exhibitions. Today's efficient show delegate need only carry a mobile phone and, in deference to tradition, a bundle of business cards. The phone doubles as a snapshot camera, video camera, dictaphone, email reader, internet browser, Skype communicator, and so on.
Tags: iss133 | finepoint | ibc | nab | kitplus show | bve | Richard Baker
Contributing Author Richard Baker Click to read or download PDF