On this blog, we've written extensively about the benefits of live streaming, as well as the essential production equipment required to do it well. There are a few reasons why it's so important to be across this topic, but above all, live streaming is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to get a message across quickly and in an engaging way. To briefly recap, the biggest benefit of live streaming is that through the power of the internet, it can quickly reach an absolutely massive audience who don't need to leave the comfort of their own homes.
From virtually attending conferences and meetings through to performances and training sessions, live streamed events and broadcasts are the perfect way to get your message across, and the best home for this content is the world's biggest social networks – Facebook and Youtube.
Having a big built-in audience only means good things for the success of your content.
Why live stream to Facebook and YouTube?
The short answer is that most live streams work best when they engage with the largest possible audience. For example, a conference or seminar that gathers thousands of viewers will always be a more powerful tool than one only attended by in-person attendees, with Facebook and YouTube making it possible to reach absolutely huge groups of people. Even though they're still relatively young platforms, the likes of Facebook Live routinely see tens and even hundreds of thousands all sharing an experience – not just watching but commenting and getting involved as well.
Of course there will always be certain exceptions to this rule – with live streamed internal training sessions just one example. By and large though, having a big built-in audience only means good things for the success of your content. The challenge is finding ways to stand out. Facebook and Youtube live streaming options start with very simple setups involving little more than a mobile phone, making it an intensely competitive environment with staggering volumes of content. One solution is to make content as high quality as possible, with the very best production value.
The secret to great live streams
When bumping up from a single iPhone camera to a more comprehensive live streaming system, there are three main aspects of the workflow to consider. Firstly, there are your pieces of production equipment – including cameras, microphones and anything else used to capture or edit video and audio before transmitting your stream to the world. These are relatively self-explanatory, but things get more complex with the next two processes – streaming and recording.
Without the right equipment, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of having to recreate or remember the content from scratch.
To keep things as simple as possible, it's best to go for a product that provides a one-stop solution to both of these areas. Examples of the products are the Matrox Monarch HD and AJA HELO, both of which can stream and record at the same time. Inside the devices, your sources will be converted from HDMI video to an H.264 stream that is then broadcast via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable, while at the same time your stream is being recorded, typically to an SD card.
This recording stage can be very important, and it's often overlooked. Consider a training session or performance that's being broadcast live, and how important it is to have a high-quality version of that stream to use again as necessary. Without the right equipment, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of having to recreate or remember the content from scratch.
It can be a bit daunting trying to work out exactly what equipment you need for live streaming, but as always, you can contact the DVT team with any questions.
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