What is Your Webcast Producer Adding To Your Event?

So your company has an amazing event on the horizon and the decision has been made to stream it live to distant employees, vendors and customers.

Now what?  You can assign someone internally to cover it with their iPhone or toss it on the pile of responsibilities for the A/V and staging team, but audience recordings hardly ever deliver an impact. We all know what footage looks (and sounds) like when fans film at a concert and the first priority for a/v support is what is happening in the room.  Everything is designed for the in-room experience (as it should be) and how to best convey messages to that audience. The job of your webcast team should be to gather all of this information and develop a plan to translate the most relevant material to the viewers who are watching live from around the globe.

Here’s an example.  The cameras used to film the event can also feed the live stream but there are times the show director needs to control them for specific shots like room IMAG (image magnification).  It’s a good idea to have at least one camera setup specifically for the stream to guarantee the online audience is always present. We always will send the feed to the house in case they want to use it, but its main purpose on site is to provide an added angle or audience shot for the stream.  Your online audience wants to experience the things that might have been improvised or unexpected. It might be obvious to the house audience but easy to miss if the cameras are focused elsewhere or you’re relying on slides to tell the story. In a nutshell, the program cut for the stream shouldn’t match exactly what is being projected in the room. Those screens only tell a part of the story.  The webcast team and the event crew should work together with the same goal, however, the path to get there may take a different direction at times.  If you want to create a true user experience, a webcast producer, who is solely focused on your digital audience, is critical.

Here are 5 things your webcast producer should help you deliver:

1.  Develop Broadcast Goals

The best way to decide where your live event should be hosted is to work backwards from your target audience.  If you are hosting a public event that is open to anyone, then streaming to Facebook or Youtube can be the most cost effective (you won’t pay for viewer bandwidth) and reach a very wide audience.  If it’s a private event that is only intended for a select audience like employees or shareholders, you will want to setup a secure broadcast.  For clients that have regularly scheduled meetings and events, we create a custom subdomain (yourcompany.fuelstream.live) and serve it through a private CDN. Event webcasts can be in one location and archived events can be easily found using the same link and password as viewers used to previously access the live event.  Other elements you may need, such as audience registration, pay-per-view, simultaneous broadcast to multiple channels or advertising requirements, will help determine your best course of action. Have a conversation with your webcast producer during the event planning stage and ask what the recommended options are based on your goals and criteria.

2.  Audience Engagement Plan

Go through your content and find opportunities for the speakers to gather live feedback such as audience polls.  Think beyond just a Q & A wrap up following a presentation.  Applications like Slido and Eventmobi make it easy for audience members and online viewers to engage with your presenters and provide a clean, easy to read interface for the info coming back.  The more popular questions are pushed to the top through viewer rankings so the presenter can target the topics that are the most relevant to the audience. The app can be embedded with the video window on the viewer page or accessed through a mobile phone.  It works best to elect someone internally from your organization to monitor the questions that come through and tag the relevant ones. They can be quickly trained to use the software and are most familiar with the content being presented.

3.  Be Creative

The best streams are achieved through a blend of technology and creativity.  Camera frame rates and computer scan rates can differ and sometimes need to be converted so that you are streaming a unified signal.  Location IT teams often need to be consulted in order to get the best link to the outside world.  A dedicated connection separate from the public wifi is critical as even the fastest wireless connections can cause problems at the worst times.  Once everything is locked in and tested, your show becomes a live edit.  Shots, graphics and transitions are chosen to give the remote viewing audience the best possible viewing experience. This is the major difference between a simple webinar and a live streamed event.  A webinar consists of low quality audio, screen sharing and maybe a webcam. A well streamed event should pull the viewer into the room.

4.  Play It Again

Once the show is wrapped you are holding onto some great content that you can repurpose for social media and on-demand video marketing.  Hiring a streaming company with post-production capabilities allows you to edit your key messaging without starting back at step one. If you are setup to bring this stage in-house, then the team you hire should provide you with a program cut in high resolution and compressed formats as well as individual camera recordings if you require them.  These delivery details are also questions asked prior to the event so there shouldn’t any surprises or missing elements. Short content clips with special guests and audience feedback can all be combined to have people marking their calendars for the next event!

5.  Use the Data

Data speaks volumes to the success of your stream.  Total number of viewers, mobile versus desktop, geographical location, and the peak viewing times is information you should be handed within a day or two, once your event is wrapped.  Tapping into the relevant data is what is key. All of this information should be provided to you but it’s a good idea to discuss in advance what you can expect for analytical data once the event is over.

In summary, your webcast shouldn’t be an afterthought or a line item along with staging and projection.  Chose a streaming partner that will work with you through the entire event: pre-production planning, the live event, post-event content conforming for on-demand and social media, as well as provide viewer analytical data.  This way, you are provided a custom plan based on your company goals that also factors in how the content will be used following the production. Making sure your live streams are a complete success requires a great deal of attention from planning to execution and post-event follow up. Live video is a great way to set your brand apart from the competition if you’re able to create innovative, one-of-a-kind engagement opportunities with your audience.


Michael Bernard

Live Streaming & Video Content Producer

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