More often than not, planning a live Internet Video broadcast with new clients all will have the same thing in common, a very strong idea of what they want without any consideration for things such as the ability of the venue to support their goals and objectives. It is equally true that they usually have no idea of what best practices are for video broadcasting which can use many of the same techniques as television broadcasts. Every plan is different for every venue and every client. That’s normal. The goal is to take the goals of the broadcast and merge them with specifics of the venue the content and, using best practices, make the live Internet video broadcast look as good as is possible. So where to start? Here is an abbreviated list.
- Examine the venue in person (if possible) if you are not already familiar with it. Some venues are very tight and others can be very easy to setup and broadcast from.
- While you are at the venue, inquire as to the plan for sound. Will house sound be used or will public address support need to be provided? If house sound is to be used, check it out to understand how you need to set up.
- Check the Internet access and understand and test the speed of the connection from the room that will be used. Obtain the name and number of the person at the venue responsible for the Internet connection. Make sure that the Internet connection is hard wired (preferred) and that the speed of that connection is at least double what the broadcast encode rate will be.
- Take out a plain piece of paper with the client and draw out with the client how they would like to have the stage setup for this particular venue. This will allow you to then explore lighting challenges, camera placement, audio support requirements, cable runs and to make suggestions and changes quickly during planning.
- On the paper draw out where the tech table should be. It must be off camera
- Ask for a copy of the meeting agenda so that there is a clear understanding of start and end times, breaks and other important transitions that might be involved in the broadcast.
- Understand what if any multimedia materials will be included in the broadcast, PowerPoints, Video, etc. and when and how they will be used during the broadcast.
- For certain types of meetings, government meetings in particular, ask about public comment and subject matter expert testimony. This will have an impact on camera placement.
- If public questions or comment are to be included on camera, then suggest that potential public speakers go to a microphone at the front of the venue rather than passing around a wireless microphone. Following a wireless microphone around the room with a camera looks awful and slows to proceedings.
- Ask about live captioning. If captioning is being asked for make sure the meeting agenda has breaks every 90 minutes to allow the captioner’s fingers to cool down or else plan for two captioners.
- Finally ask about logistics, setting up and testing the day or evening before, parking, security, access for equipment and so forth.
This is only a starter kit for planning, your conversations around each broadcast will vary, but if you can answer some of these fundamentals in advance you have gotten a good start on planning a live Internet video broadcast.