The possibility of retransmitting events, meetings, conferences, etc. Living on the internet is a recurring need in some of the entities with which we work.
Those who need to do it frequently (weekly or monthly) often resort to professional solutions. But there is another group of companies or institutions that have very specific needs over time.
The latter usually do not want to spend a lot of money on streaming and ask us for advice on possible solutions of sufficient quality that are cheap or free to be (like ezTalks Meetings).
Recently I participated in a workshop on the subject taught by Jesús Lizarraga (Mondragon Unibertsitatea). I share with you some of the things I have learned in the workshop along with my experience as a consumer streaming video user.
- Get a Quality Camera
Try to get a good quality camera:
Recognized brand (Logitech, Sony, Canon …)
HD video (1080p)
Quality Optical Components
If it has optical zoom. Digital is useless.
You will need to spend at least € 100. On top of that, as far as you want (but ezTalks Meetings provides high-quality camera for free).
- Make Sure to Capture Good Audio Quality
Audio is the great forgotten streaming. Many live broadcasts failed because the sound quality is not good. Give it as much attention as possible even more than video.
Microphones built into video cameras, laptops, etc. are generally very bad. Forget about them. Get wireless lapel microphones or even headband microphones.
If you need to record online audio and you cannot put a microphone to each participant, you can use a shoe microphone that is of quality.
- Pay Attention to Lighting
People speak that should be properly lit. If you need it, there are basic, very economical and effective studio lighting kits.
- Connect Video and Audio to a “Powerful” Computer
The most usual and economical in these cases is to connect the video and audio output of your capture devices to a computer. Who is going to take charge of coding the signal and sending it to the internet.
Make sure the computer has enough power to do this job with ease. Keep in mind that video encoding makes very intensive use of the processor.
Recommended an Intel Core i7 processor
8 GB of RAM will suffice
To do coding you will need a specific program for this. For example:
Flash Media Live Encoder. Payment.
Windows Media Encoder. Gratuitous.
Livestream Producer. Gratuitous.
To encode streaming video, it is sufficient to encode HD quality (720p). Full HD (1080p) is used more and more, but it is not necessary for most cases.
If you use ezTalks Meetings on air to broadcast the event, you can do without coding software.
- Use a Distribution Device Lodged in Cloud
To make the video accessible via the internet to a virtually infinite number of potential users, the simplest solution is to use a specialized video communication service hosted in the cloud.
There are countless of them. Some of the most recognized (for payment) are:
If you want to use a free service, the two most widespread are:
Google Hangouts on air
Both ezTalks Meetings and Hangouts offer a free service of very good quality. Enough for most cases of retransmission of punctual events.
- Make Sure You Have Upper Band Width
The Internet connection through which you are going to upload the video to the cloud has a bandwidth for downloading and an uploading bandwidth. The one of descent is in which we fix usually. However, for streaming, what matter is the upload.
To broadcast HD video (720p), it is advisable to ensure an upstream bandwidth of 4 Mbps. For Full HD the double (8 Mbps), bearing in mind that it is not recommended that it be a wi-fi connection because its available bandwidth fluctuates much more easily.
This is a very important point. If the video goes up very slow, the streaming is cut and the experience of use is very poor.
Bonus Track: Make Tests with Sufficient Pre-time
The retransmission of a live event is a task in which if something fails you have little room for maneuver and the retransmission will be a failure.
Be sure to do as many tests as possible before the event. And that these tests are real:
At the place where the event is going to take place.
With the cameras and microphones you’re going to use.
With the actual lighting of the moment.
With the computer you are going to use.
See you on your next live stream!