Avoid the 10 Critical Mistakes When Live Streaming

Live Streaming is one of the hottest new trends in Social Media right now. Facebook Live, Pinterest Video, YouTube…..every Social Media platform is figuring out cool and creative ways to make video streaming easy and accessible to users. Social Media gurus are talking about it, using it, and promoting it for business.

Electronically connected trends are indicating from all directions that video is what people want. I want to talk from a Public Relations viewpoint about live streaming and discuss 10 Critical Checkpoints when considering Live Streaming.

The question that comes to mind is this…
Could the concept of Live Streaming be revolutionizing the PR industry?

I recently managed a press event in Alexandria, Virginia where a USA Today reporter broadcasted the entire event via Facebook Live on their Humankind Page. This was all unbeknownst to me as I was emceeing the event. Within only a few hours of the event the viewership of this video hit over 70,000,  and, within a few days following the event the numbers were still climbing well past 106,000 views. I was astonished!
USA Today Humankind Feed

After viewing the recorded and posted event , the issues with the content created by a cell phone became painfully apparent.  So, I started diving into learning ways to more professionally shoot live video.  That’s when I started writing this blog.

Ironically, just one week after the USA Today Facebook Live segment, I was asked by a Lt. Governor candidate in Missouri to live stream the presumptive Governors’ speech from Kansas City to his primary election night party in St. Louis. The original idea was to have his speech live streamed to Kansas City. We accomplished our primary night event goals but ran into many headaches along the way. We ran into internet issues, decisions as to what livestream encoder to use, and a misunderstanding as to what type of cameras we could use with the encoder box.

Sending out a press release stating that the events would be live streamed brought some unexpected results. Three media outlets (two TV stations and one News Talk Radio Station) asked to tap into the live feed to get video and eliminate the need to send reporters to the event.  It is possible to provide the media with the link but for many sensitive reasons, the client decided not to do so.  Also, it is our understanding that unless they have a capture devise, they can only download the video after the event is posted online.

Based upon my personal experience in the last couple weeks, I would answer the earlier question this way. Yes, I believe Live Streaming is the next big thing in generating publicity for your clients.  But, I will also add that technology and/or the extremely high cost of technology behind producing high-quality remote broadcasts hasn’t caught up to the hype.

When you consider your cell phone as a virtually “on-demand” camera, Facebook Live is great for showing raw footage from an event. For events of local, regional and national importance, or for professional branding, there are huge downfalls to this!  Issues range from shaky camera stabilization to bad camera angles and blocked views and lack of quality audio, poor zoom capabilities, and more … these are just a few reasons why Facebook Live may not be a good fit for most brands that are working to grow their business.

As the average cell phone and tablet camera quality improves, and it always does, and as the use of affordable multi-camera view apps become available such as Amcrest View, we will see the production value of live streaming get much better. Amcrest even enables you to use multiple  cellular devices at an event and use an iPad as a switcher while live streaming multiple angles. The average user will have everything needed to adequately broadcast quality events using their personal devices.

I must insert here that client budgets are key factors when making decisions about how to Live Stream. Keeping in mind the production value of your customer’s experience in live streaming, there are 10 critical checkpoints to carefully consider.  While some appear to be no-brainers, they are vitally important to the message your client is trying to convey.

Live Streaming Checklist

  1. ALWAYS conduct a site visit to identify Internet connectivity. A great venue and a well staged set will never make up for a lack of proper bandwidth to pull off a livestream. Also, consider how the bandwidth is distributed once the venue has a large audience.  With more people on the bandwidth, the lower the amount available for livestreaming.

  2. Prepare a Run of Show so everybody is on the same page as to itinerary. Candid Facebook Live posts are great for birthday parties, or great unplanned coverage. Not so much for serious PR events with an agenda. Make sure you don’t have ‘dead air’ in your program because there is no way to eliminate that from your live broadcast or subsequent posting of the recorded live feed.

  3. Empower a Stage Manager to keep people on the Run of Show.

  4. Identify camera angles and power sources for your cameras. Scrambling for power sources or trying to rearrange sets for camera angles during an event rob you of credibility and you risk missing important content.

  5. Understand your audio needs and test how your output sounds. Then, monitor the feed during the livestream.  All too often, someone may step on a cord or a mic wire gets disconnected.  You don’t have a show without audio!  It could be the single most important thing you need to insure is done properly.

  6. Have a Backup Plan to connectivity if something goes wrong.

  7. Decide how your stream will be accessible or inaccessible while live and in the future.

  8. Make sure your visual background and branded logos are placed in the right location for your video. However, make sure it’s not cluttered!

  9. Aggressively understand how you will promote/generate viewership. The goal of your livestream is exposure. This means you need to get the word out well before you go live.

  10. Realize that whenever you publish and whatever you publish is accessible to your viewers, competitors and detractors. But, understand that in many cases, you can DELETE your live stream video if you do not like the output.

Our team at Chemistry Multimedia is currently evaluating highly technical and expensive systems ($8,000 – $20,000) to allow us to broadcast and produce live shows remotely.  We will follow this article up with suggestions as to what hardware you might want to consider getting to produce a top-quality production.

We hope this blog has been helpful. If you want a consultation on our findings or would like to hire Chemistry Multimedia to professionally conduct your next live stream, please call us at 314-603-2866 or email us at Chris@ChemistryMultimedia.com.