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Best Practices in Creating a Livestream

Covid-19 has halted many different events, fundraisers and meetings around the world. The best way to stay ahead of the curve is finding ways to communicate in an efficient way from a safe distance. We’ve learned that livestreaming is a perfect way to solve this issue. Instead of cancelling your event, why not press into this time, try something new and give your audience a virtual experience? 

Before we start, we want to clarify that the type of livestream we are talking about is not the ones created on a phone, webcam or the simple press of a record button on your handy dandy camera. The livestream services we are talking about are professional, multi-camera, creative, efficient, and smooth like butter. Did we lose you? Let us explain: We had the pleasure of creating a livestream with Camp Fire El Tesoro, which is a camp experience that gives kids who have lost a loved one hope and healing. Due to the pandemic, Camp Fire’s annual fundraiser, which directly supports the camp, was not able to happen in person. The solution for this issue was to live stream the event and create a virtual fundraiser. Here is how it turned out:

We had the pleasure of creating a livestream with Camp Fire El Tesoro, which is a camp experience that gives kids who have lost a loved one hope and healing. Due to the pandemic, Camp Fire’s annual fundraiser, which directly supports the camp, was not able to happen in person. The solution for this issue was to live stream the event and create a virtual fundraiser. Here is how it turned out: 


Creating a livestream takes a lot of planning, strategizing and preparation to really make it shine. We want to make your experience with livestreaming easy and stress free, so here are a few tips and tricks that our team has learned when making a livestream.


EQUIPMENT:

To make a livestream flawless from the viewer’s point of view, having top notch equipment is essential. Camera quality is important, but not as important as a speedy internet connection and audio quality. 

If you’re wanting to create a smaller scale livestream, we recommend the ATEM Mini by Blackmagic. For larger production style livestreams, the ATEM Mini Pro is ideal as it allows four camera multiview, preview and program plus status of recording, streaming, audio, and more. 

Having a quality communication system between the director and crew members is key. It can be as simple as setting up a conference call with the team and letting it run during the stream, but being able to communicate with everyone is important for a successful livestream. 

PREPARATION

Preparation is essential to ensure a successful livestream. Prep takes the most amount of time because it can involve several days of organizing graphics and media, setting up the control room and running tests to make sure everything runs smoothly. Think about the amount of time you think it will take to do all of these things and then double it. The last thing you want is to be under prepared the day of the event.  

With a livestream, there can be little to no error on the technical side. You must have rehearsals and walkthroughs of the schedule a few days prior to your start time to ensure a smooth stream. 

Plan your audience interaction beforehand. Different platforms (Zoom, Facebook, Microsoft Teams, etc.) all have different ways for your viewers to engage and communicate. If your hosts know how this works, they can more successfully engage the audience and make them part of the event instead of just being passive viewers. 

STRATEGY:

Livestreams are an amazing way to connect with an audience in an authentic way. Allowing yourself to create an unedited, live interaction with your audience is a great way to gain traction. Knowing the strategy and organization behind the livestream is crucial for a successful stream. According to marketing expert Sophie Fitzpatrick, “if you want to come off as professional then you need to plan out what the goal of your live stream is and how you are going to achieve it.” We couldn’t agree more. 

Mess ups will happen! Mics could stop working, talent might show up late, connection could be slow and much more. It’s better to have people sitting around waiting for the stream to start than scrambling trying to figure out why your audio suddenly isn’t outputting while an angry producer is breathing down your neck. The more variables you have (graphics, pre-produced videos, multicams, and viewer interaction), the more potential there is to mess up. Don’t stress over it and just problem solve the best you can. If you’re worried something major might go wrong, have a backup full screen graphic ready to cut to saying there are some technical difficulties. 

Coordination with all crew, clients and talent is important for everyone to all be on the same page. Everyone should be aware of how the livestream is going to work. For the camera crew and tech support, it will take practice and attention to detail in knowing when to cue for a graphic, fix minor issues and deal with it all in a timely manner in the middle of a livestream. 

STEPS FOR SUCCESS

Before we look at the steps to creating a successful livestream, we must answer four important questions: Will it look good? Will it sound good? What are the technical challenges? What will the experience be like for the viewers? Unpacking each one of those will show you how to make a successful livestream. Alright, ready to get into it? 


  1. Get Assets: Get all of your assets and graphics prepared days in advance. Injecting content on the fly is not easy, smooth, or fun. Especially because 9 times out of 10 the client will hand you files that aren’t in the proper format or need extra work done to them to make them video friendly. We’re looking at everyone who sends illustrator files in CMYK. 
  2. Familiarize Yourself: Know what platform you’ll be streaming on, its limitations and best settings for a smooth stream. If something doesn’t go according to plan, make sure you know how to handle it. 
  3. Test: Always practice your livestream a few days before it happens. You can never test too many times! 
  4. Brief your Team: Make a plan for how to start and end the stream properly. If you will have media breaks where talent can step off set to use the restroom or stretch, make sure they know exactly how long they have before they have to be back in their spot. Everyone should know their role and responsibility before stepping into the room on the day of the livestream. 
  5. Go Live: Don’t panic!  Give your team a 10 minute countdown for everyone to prep and take a deep breath. While you’re live follow the script constantly. You don’t want to miss a queue to cut to a graphic. If you are able, split up the work and don’t think you need to handle everything yourself. Typically one person will handle monitoring the stream health, control the audio levels, and switch some graphics. Then another person will be running the camera switching, playing any video media, and handling communication with the cam ops. 
  6. Give Your Team a High Five: When the stream ends make sure everyone holds and the talent keeps smiling until everything has gone dark. Facebook for instance usually has almost a 10 second delay between camera and stream. Once the feed is cut breath a sigh of relief, Give your coworkers a high five or go cry in a corner if you’re weird like that. You did it!

Don’t have the equipment, space or crew to help you create your livestream? Red Productions is committed to helping you create a smooth, efficient, and successful livestream. We have a full production team, sound stage with a cyc wall, lighting grid, green room, makeup room, control room and more. Everything you’ll need to have a successful live stream in one place. We’re ready to help make your livestream dreams come true! 

LET’S STREAM!


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