Top Ten Tips For Live Streaming Video

1. THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE

The number one big mistake with video production is not thinking about your audience. You may have the most snazzy, high-quality production in the world. But if it fails to get your message across, or cannot engage with your viewers, then it’s as good as useless. Put yourself in the mindset of the audience. What are you trying to show them? How can you make it interactive? What makes the content interesting?

2. ENSURE YOUR QUALITY IS UP TO IT

If you’re using a 3rd party streaming company such as ourselves, ensure they are providing the quality your event deserves. They should have discussed with you before-hand about number of cameras, angles, streaming quality (HD I hope!) and more.

Even more important than video quality though, is sound. If an event has bad sound, it will be unwatchable, even if the video looks top notch! Make sure they have tested for things such as audio-video syncronisation, as even the smallest of delays can ruin a stream for viewers at home.

3. KEEP IT VISUALLY STIMULATING

There’s nothing worse than logging on to a hyped up stream from a big company, to find they’ve forgotten appropriate lighting for the stage. Or they’re filming against a dirty wall.

It doesn’t need to be complex or expensive to ensure your set or venue is looking top notch. Viewers will notice things from angles that traditional audiences might not see. Make sure your stage is clean and free of any rubbish. Simple coloured backgrounds can add some visual appeal to an otherwise drab backdrop.

Don’t forget to professionally light your stage either. Stage lighting is inexpensive and as I’m sure you know, video cameras need plenty of light to make the image look good. Any good production company or venue will be able to advise on this.

Basic on-screen graphics such as “lower third” graphics with speaker’s names add a level of professionalism to your piece.

4. MAKE IT EASY TO FIND

Quite often I’ll see people commenting “I’m trying to watch X, does anyone have the link?”. If people can’t find your content, they’re missing out – or worse – they’ll give up!

Make sure your content is easy to find. If you have a website, post a prominent link on the homepage. Ensure you Tweet and Facebook the link out at regular intervals throughout the event. If you have a newsletter, send out details in advance.

It’s not just about the video stream itself either. If you’re using an Event Hashtag then make sure it’s displayed prominently.

5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME

Depending on the type of event, picking the right time can be cruicial. For instance, a music event will probably attract more viewers in an evening. Perhaps even a Sunday night when people tend to be at home more than a Friday or Saturday. A business seminar may attract people who are watching at work, and wouldn’t want to spend their Friday evening watching about Business 101. Remember, the internet is a world-wide platform. So if you want to attract a world-wide audience, pick carefully. Don’t forget to check out foreign national holidays or events which may also lower viewer numbers!

6. PICK AN EVENT HASHTAG

Most live streaming platforms will allow you to have a chatroom or Twitter feed displayed alongside your event. If yours doesn’t – then pick a new company to work with. Chat rooms are great, but Twitter is better as it means people are speaking about your event on a more public social media platform. People will see their friend’s tweeting about your event in their feeds and this may even pull in more viewers! Keep it short and sweet, but also unique, and encourage people to Tweet about what they see and get involved!

7. EMPLOY SOMEONE TO MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Following on from this, during the event, make sure you have someone dedicated to managing your social media output. This can involve Tweeting and seeding conversations with viewers, as well as uploading pictures from the event. Quite often, delegates at home will be sitting at their computer, watching the feed and need to be kept engage. Give them pictures to “Like”, comment on or statuses they can Re-tweet throughout the event. Ensure they interact by posing questions and starting discussions. Use Tweets to summarise what’s happening throughout the event.

8. DON’T ASSUME ANYONE CAN DO IT

Not every video production company is alike. Some will be focussing on films, music videos, or corporate promotion. There are far fewer video and A/V companies with experience in live streaming. Try and find a company with experience in live video and streaming technology.

Ensure they have equipment and know-how in-house. If they sub-hire all their kit, they won’t get a chance to test it until they turn up at your event! What if something breaks on the day? Remember to enquire about what spares and back-ups they bring with them just in case.

Above all, ensure the company you’re working with is responsive. Make sure they understand your event and can work with your other teams (technical, marketing, creative, venue staff, etc) to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.

9. USE LIVE VIDEO TO EXTEND

Live video streaming provides some interesting new options when it comes to your event. You can even profit from hosting a stream by using it to generate revenue. For instance, most platforms will now allow you to serve adverts or provide a Pay-Per-View package to viewers. For events such as sports and live music, you can charge viewers to watch or deliver revenue-earning ad breaks during half-time! If you’re hosting business based events and usually charge delegates for a ticket to attend, you can do the same on-line too! Travel is time-consuming and expensive, so you may even convert people who couldn’t make the physical event into online viewers and therefore retain customers you may have lost.

10. ARCHIVE THE EVENT

Once the event is done, you should have a recording of the entire stream. Make sure you keep that copy available after the event. Many people who couldn’t necessarily join in live might be interested in watching later. If a particular part was of importance to someone, they may want to re-watch and take notes. It’s easy to upload copies of events to sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, and by doing this it will attract more people and potentially boost viewer numbers at a follow-up event if your first one was interesting! Most video platforms allow for Video-on-Demand (VoD), and so you may find that your streaming company can provide this to you automatically at the end of an event. Many also feature ‘catch-up’ services so that viewers joining part way through can rewind and start from the beginning.