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Live Streaming Basics for Virtual Events

featured image - Live Streaming Basics for Virtual Events

If you, like the rest of the world, have managed to shift to the virtual environment, you may be looking for ways to improve your digital presence. Virtual events are one way that this is possible, and they provide brands with an exceptional way of connecting to target audiences and connecting with future customers. 

A virtual event can be a well-thought-out and curated live event. Or it can be a digital experience where customer avatars explore a new brand. No matter how you curate this event, one aspect you should include is live streaming. 

Live streaming is where an event streams live video feeds so that viewers can see what’s going on. Live streaming is one of the best ways to connect with virtual attendees but pulling it off can be a little complicated. 

To help you get it right, we wanted to provide live streaming basics for virtual events. This guide will break down the need-to-knows about live streaming your next virtual event. 

Things to Consider When Running a Live Stream

A virtual event with a live stream will generate audience engagement by showing the virtual audience real people, doing real things, in real-time. Live streams allow for unedited and raw footage of whatever the event, brand, or recorder is showing. This also allows for viewers to leave live comments and to interact with the individual or brand presenting in real-time. 

If you want to run a live stream, then there are some things that you will want to consider first so that the attendee experience is the best it can be. 

The most important aspect of running a live stream is in recognizing that your content is out in the world as is. So, if something happens that was expected or offensive and it was caught on the live stream, then you have no way to edit this for the initial release. Even if you deleted the live stream and were able to rectify the issue somehow, someone could be recording the video and it could be saved and then duplicated. 

Some brands or companies love this aspect of live streaming and consider it a positive form of PR, even if it might be negative PR. If you do not want this kind of PR, then you’ll want to control the stream inputs and limit what can possibly happen during the live stream. For the most part, if you control the stream, the worst that can happen is that there is a mix-up during the speaking portion or your speaker accidentally swears. Depending on the clout of your brand, you may want to carefully control the speaking portion with scripts. 

Other than the live stream set up, the filming, and the uploading aspects, which we will get to later, you might want to additionally consider these aspects:

  • Maybe get a script prepared, that way your speakers have some talking points. 
  • If you want to add any graphic elements, you can, but they will require some digital finessing. Speak with a professional videographer to see how that can be done. 
  • Be sure to record your live stream as well so that the video content is saved.
  • Closed captioning might be tricky to handle in real-time, but you can have a moderator ready on the live chat feature to answer any questions. 
  • Be sure that the live stream is shot in good lighting, as it can be difficult for the viewer to see through dark shots. 
  • Organize how your brand or event will be speaking with each attendee. Since it is a live event, you might find yourself spread thin if you have to organize the event technology and live streaming platform while also connecting with each attendee through the live chat. 

Setting Up Your Live Stream

Every live stream has five major parts in order to function properly: a video source, an audio source, a video encoder, a streaming destination, and an internet connection. One of the most important pieces of equipment is the encoder, which we will explore in the live streaming equipment section (below). However, without any of these five major parts, your live stream wouldn’t work. 

All of these parts can be filtered through a single device, like a laptop. But some brands opt for better quality equipment for (supposedly) better streaming. 

How you physically set up your live stream will depend on your style. If you are doing the guerilla-style shooting, then you most likely want a hand-held video and audio device, or at least something that you are comfortable moving around with. Since you will be moving around, you want to be sure that that device also is equipped with either internet, the video encoder, or both. 

Live Streaming Equipment

featured image - Live Streaming Equipment

Live stream equipment does not need to be highly technical although it certainly can be. 

Many people record live streams from a simple camera, such as the camera on a computer or mobile device. Largely, the quality of this live stream video will depend on the type of camera and equipment you are using. The new Apple iPhone 12, for example, has one of the best cameras out there. So if you need to use your phone camera in a pinch, you can still shoot high-quality video and even broadcast it to social media platforms like Facebook Live and still get great attendee reception. 

For longer events and bigger brands, you’ll want to consider getting equipment for your live streaming event. For example, if you are hosting a virtual fundraising event that you want to publish to Youtube or stream through Youtube Live, investing in live streaming equipment will improve your event production. 

There are a few items that you can consider purchasing or renting for your event, but the number of devices that you need will depend on your scheduling and timelines. Consider the following equipment:

Video Cameras

Video cameras range from entry-level video cameras, which tend to be lightweight and on the cheap end, to high quality. The less money you spend on the video camera, the more money, and effort you will need to spend to improve the production quality. An entry-level video camera might need additional lighting support and stabilizers. Entry-level video cameras typically range from $300 to $700. 

There are also prosumer video cameras, which is considered a mid-level camera. These cameras have the capability of producing excellent image quality with a decent amount of internet connectivity. HDMI usually comes standard on the prosumer style video camera. Videographers would have some manual controls to control the image, but this style of camera lacks customization and ergonomics. Prosumer video cameras range from $800 to $3,000. 

Professional video cameras include all the bells and whistles. With high-resolution sensors, larger sensors, and pro connectors like XLR and SDI, the image and video quality of these cameras are excellent. Professional video cameras come with all of the manual controls so that videographers have complete control over their shot. 

Many high-quality video cameras have encoders in them, so live streaming can be funneled straight to your social media or video streaming platforms of choice, such as Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter. 

Audio Equipment

Audio equipment can be connected to the video source, but for even higher quality live streaming, you will want a separate audio source. There are, of course, ranges of audio equipment depending on the quality so be sure not to skimp when it comes to audio. 

Low-quality audio, for example, is considered to be the built-in audio source that you would find on a video camera, such as an entry-level or prosumer camera. For some, the capabilities of the audio on the prosumer camera is just enough. However, if you want professional audio quality, then you should consider purchasing medium to high or professional quality audio equipment. Medium to high-quality audio equipment includes USB and 3.5 mm microphones, as well as the audio on a professional camera, and professional equipment is external XLR microphones. 

Even though the 3.5 mm wired audio might sound a little basic, know that it can greatly improve audio quality over entry-level camera audio. XLR microphones are the best-of-the-best, and you can’t go wrong. 

No matter what audio equipment you choose, be sure that it is compatible with the virtual event platform that you are using to manage the live broadcast. 

Mixing Equipment and Encoders

You can consider mixing equipment, or switching equipment, which would allow you to move from one video source or audio source to another. If you have multiple live event streams set up, then each set up would have its own audio source. Mixing equipment will allow you to switch between the two so that you can make the event seem like a live television broadcast. 

Multi-camera live streams are great for live virtual concerts so that you can switch to multiple video cameras, providing different angles from different streams. Look for a hardware switcher if you have a lot of camera angles to switch between. Hardware switchers allow you to press one button to get a different angle. 

And finally, no matter what accessory equipment you choose, you’ll need to have an encoder. An encoder is a device that allows a live stream file to be saved as a complete file instead of individual ones, allowing for seamless upload to social media. This is a crucial aspect of your live stream event, so be sure to look for encoder capabilities if you are purchasing separate equipment. A high-quality event platform can operate as an encoder and mixer. 

Live Streaming Through a Virtual Event Software

If all of this sounds like a lot, well, we get it. That’s why we here at Accelevents have chosen to simplify this process. You don’t need to be a videographer, professional director, or production expert to run your own live stream. So while high-quality live streaming equipment is nice, it is not necessary with Accelevents software. 

Accelevents is a virtual event software platform that includes features that enable an online event, hybrid event, or physical event to function entirely through its software. Accelevents can support you in the planning stages, as well as the ticketing, registration, event management, marketing, event website, analytics, and CRM follow-up. This means that any event organizer can manage all of this stuff on the back-end, while also managing the event live on site. 

Accelevents software comes with live streaming tools already integrated into the platform, so users don’t have to worry about finding an encoder, a content delivery network, or the internet (really). 

Run a webinar with a live stream, or a virtual conference that features each presenter live. With Accelevents, you have options!

You can shoot the video however you want, and easily filter it through the Accelevents platform to be broadcast in clear quality, in a digital environment. Not only will using event software make your life easier, but you will see a higher amount of audience engagement as they can enjoy your event due to the high-quality video streaming services and the ease of use. 

See today how Accelevents software can make your next event superb. 

 

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