This blog excerpt is from “Take it Live” - a live stream we hosted with Brightcove, where we went behind the scenes to show event organizers how to execute a successful live streamed event. Brightcove’s Senior Partner Manager, Erik Ducker asked customer’s commonly asked questions, spanning topics from go-to-market strategy to technical necessities. FORA.tv’s President and Production head, Bob Appel, who has been involved in the production world for 40 years, answered from his experience and expertise.
What are some common challenges you see customers have?
Ironically, the most common challenge is the venue not having enough bandwidth. Your internet must stable, ample and wired. Bob recommends to interface with your point of contact for IT on site to make sure internet is solid. He points out that it is not always necessary to have a lot of bandwidth anymore because of technologies like FORA.tv Blast. He also recommends having backups and redundancies for your internet, like NetSafe.
Another challenge is working with many different teams, such as working with a production company, a different company for the live streaming management and IT and marketing divisions. The challenge is getting everyone on same page and integrating all the pieces to deliver the full vision. Bob recommends pre-production calls with all teams to get everyone on the same page ahead of time.
What is the most important aspect to plan for a live event?
Planning your goals, campaigns and distribution strategy. You can’t assume people will know where to watch or why they should watch without doing the work upfront to get people that information. Plan out how to get viewers to watch your live stream and create campaigns and marketing around it ahead of time. Make it easy for people to get to your live stream by using something like FORA.tv Blast, that makes it easy for you to share your stream to a wider audience. Concurrently, make sure you are making it easy for viewers to get back to your brand to learn more about you by using a tool like Brightcove Gallery, which allows you to create a controlled experience that you can drive viewers to.
What do you suggest to make live events more successful?
You should incorporate different things to keep your online audience engaged, such as live chats with Q&A, taking polls, creating exclusive content like having the moderator interact with your audience live and using event hashtags. It’s also important to create digestible highlights to drive viewers to your event page, along with serving the right content to the right viewers by using a tool like FORA.tv Boost that can cut moments of your live stream, post them to social as you are live and even target those clips to potential customers.
Most importantly, you want to make your live stream viewers feel like they are part of the action and one way to do this is, is by using a tool like FORA.tv Flip, where the viewer can choose what they want to watch and flip between different rooms or concurrent sessions. Why only stream keynotes at a conference, when you can show so much more?
Who are the different people necessary to pull off a live stream?
At a high level, to run a basic professional video production and live stream, you will need a director, who is the team leader and calls the show. A camera operator, who takes direction from the director and mans the camera. An editor or designer to create graphics like lower thirds and cut highlights. A remote engineer, who ensures everything is rock solid on back end. Finally, an onsite stream tech to man the encoder and roll in graphics or video.
What’s the hardware necessary to pull off a live stream?
With bigger productions, you need camera equipment, video switchers, hard disk recorders, hard drives, lighting, audio and much more but the most important thing is having a quality encoder and a stable internet connection of at least 10 mbps. We use custom built encoders, so we know they’re always up to date for new specs and constantly being updated and bench tested. Social media and distribution channels change their specifications on an ongoing basis. We make sure our encoders are prepared to go to every single streaming platform out there. It is also very important to have redundancies and backups.
What should companies be doing from event to event to improve?
Focus on your post event analysis with all stakeholders and teams involved. Ask what worked and what didn’t? Were your end-goals met? Then eliminate unnecessary elements and get creative with improving metrics important to you. Consider selling sponsorships or try something new for your next event. There are always new features and services bubbling up, so stay abreast of the latest and greatest.
The live stream goes on to talk about actual business use cases for internal communications, B2B and B2C companies.
You can watch the full video at f4a.tv/TakeItLive
Looking to get started with live streaming your event? Check out our "Guide to Professionally Live Stream Events: The Basics to Best Practices" for information for marketing novices to seasoned event organizers, to help plan and execute a successful a live video production.