Planning for Production

Your brand is arguably your organization’s most valuable asset. The value of a brand is derived in significant part from the promise that you make to your stakeholders and the trust they extend back to you.

Brandlive is always honored to be a part of communicating those promises, helping your company extend its brand to new and existing audiences, and leveraging it to engage them in fresh ways.

In this section, we explore ways Brandlive is available to help you sustain and build the value of your brand.

Production Value

A big difference between watching a show at your local community theatre and one on Broadway is production value. Quality set design, production equipment, and years of experience all go into creating a production value that wows audiences.

Likewise, online experiences also have varying degrees of production value. Family vacation videos may be charming, but they don’t have the quality of SNL streamed on Hulu. You’ll run into the same observation with your Brandlive events.

Consider the production value you need to best represent your brand and the resources you’ll need to make it happen.

Brandlive can connect you with the right package of equipment and support to bring your expectations to life.

Planning Your Broadcast

It is crucial to think ahead when planning your Brandlive broadcast. Make sure you consider all production logistics from the start and begin planning your event 2-3 weeks in advance to allow yourself time to work through the details.

Mapping Out Your Event

We recommend you follow these steps when mapping out your next Brandlive event:

  • Determine the theme or purpose of your event.
  • Confirm the date and time of your event.
  • Determine the location of your broadcast, and make sure there will be internet and power on site.
  • Consider your specific equipment needs - how many cameras and microphones you’ll need to support your production or whether you’ll need to consider additional lighting, etc. 
  • Visit the broadcast location, test the internet speed (www.speedtest.net) and make sure there are no firewalls preventing you from streaming from that location.
  • Identify your team – this includes the presenters, moderator, producer, and anyone else who needs to be involved with the broadcast.
  • Think about any content you want to show on your event page (logos, recorded videos, PowerPoint slides, screen share, etc.).
  • Determine in advance whether you will require close-up camera shots, and plan accordingly.
  • Decide whether you want an in-person audience at the event. If so, ensure that they have access to the same on-screen content as those viewing online.
  • Create the event page using the Brandlive Admin Console, uploading any relevant content such as PowerPoint slides, images, logos, and copy.

Additional notes

Internet access and power availability are two of the most critical details when setting up a live video production. Visit the broadcast location ahead of time to make sure you have power where you need it, and to ensure that the internet is adequate for streaming.

Internet Connection

An upload speed of 10 mbps is considered the minimum for stable broadcasting for one destination (ie. a Brandlive Page) and anything less can cause problems. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust video resolution and/or bitrate settings in Wirecast to compensate for slower internet. If you want to stream to multiple destinations, add 10mbps per destination.

Product Staff

Determine who you will need on site with you during your broadcast.  Will you require an extra set of hands to operate a camera or change mics on presenters? Or is this a large event that will require AV technicians to run sound and video projection? (If so, do you need to coordinate with them to get video or audio feeds?) Having 1-2 production assistants on set can be very useful.

Studio Setup

Finally, think about where you will situate the presenters. Is the backdrop visually interesting without being distracting? Is the lighting adequate, so that your presenters are well-lit without significant areas of shadow on their faces? Are there windows that will let in varying degrees of light, and if so are there shades to control that? Staging your on-screen talent and positioning the light correctly are crucial elements of a high-quality broadcast.

Picking a Suitable Location

Finding the right location for your Brandlive event is a critical component to a successful broadcast. The items below identify elements needed to host an event without sweating over infrastructure and location details. These details apply to whether your event is broadcast from an indoor or outdoor location.

Optimal Production Setup

  • Power: Access to electrical power is important to run cameras, computers, lights and other production equipment. Running devices on internal batteries is not recommended by Brandlive. For outdoor productions, it is often necessary to power production equipment from extension cords and surge protectors.
  • Internet: An internet connection is required to stream your broadcast to Brandlive’s video server. Brandlive strongly recommends a wired Ethernet connection for the most dependable transmission of the video. A dedicated line (with no other device access) will ensure a strong and steady signal transmission. For outdoor productions, it is often necessary to run a Cat 5 cable from an inside building location to the production area. Test the transmission speed of your connection at www.speedtest.net. Brandlive requires a minimum upload speed of 10 Mbps to broadcast and a download speed of 3 Mbps to view. It is important that these speeds are constantly above the minimums.
  • Microphones: Depending on the noise levels of your setting, you may use room, boom/shotgun or lapel mics. While the room mic is easiest to setup and manage, it tends to pick up the most ambient noise. A boom or shotgun mic offers the next level of noise isolation, while a lapel mic offers the best-dedicated sound from a presenter. Lapel mics are the most dependable for creating directional sound and can be used in a multitude of environments from offices to the outdoors.
  • Tech Table: A production area is created from one or two tables ( total length of about 8’) and chairs for each . Be sure to provide an area like this to support the computers, monitors, mixing board and other equipment used to produce the event.
  • Noise: When considering your location, think about the typical noise in that area. Keep in mind things like HVAC, foot traffic, and general background noise of the spot. If the event will be hosted outdoors, also consider street traffic, airplanes, trains and other loud noise that could be picked up on your audio feed.
  • Camera Riser: If the production is part of a live event at the production site, it may be necessary for the cameras to be on their own stage or riser. An 18” tall platform is usually enough to raise the camera and tripod above the heads of the audience.
  • Tent or Canopy: If the event is an outdoor broadcast, a 10’ x 10’ tent or canopy will help the production team better see the monitors and camera screens. It also provides protection from sun or rain.
  • Cable Ramps: Depending on the location and anticipated foot traffic near the production area, it might be helpful to have cable ramps to protect the cables and prevent tripping hazards.

Production Setup Compromises

  • Power: It is possible to broadcast a Brandlive event with AC power from a generator – though that adds expense and background noise to of the event.
  • Internet: If your broadcast location does not have access to an internet port for an Ethernet connection, it is possible to consider using a WiFi hotspot. However, before planning an event using a hotspot, the location must be checked for internet access (not all locations can pick up an internet signal for the hotspot). The location must have a consistent signal; check to ensure a minimum, steady upload speed of 10 Mbps for broadcasting, and a download speed of 3 Mbps to view.

Choosing the Right Time for an Event

From Brandlive’s experience with nearly 10,000 live video events, we’ve observed that
certain times can be more likely to draw viewers. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
typically are the best days. If your audience is consumers that work during the day, plan
the broadcast times around lunch or early afternoon.

Broadcast to the time zone with your largest number of viewers. If you’re unsure of the best time zone to align with, choose one time at about lunchtime on the east coast and a second broadcast for a similar time on the west coast. It’s best to keep the broadcast to about 35-45 minutes. This said, finding the best date and time host an event can be hard to pin down.

Consider the following:

  1. The Super Bowl: People watch the Super Bowl because of the engaging content. Whether it’s a favorite team, the commercials, or the half-time show, engagement from the audience is why advertisers pay a premium to support this live video broadcast.
  2. The Olympics: It may be difficult sometimes to remember where and when the next Olympics competition will be held. However, you can be sure you’ll likely not to miss it because it will be promoted for weeks before the games start.
  3. The Six O’Clock News: Why do people tune in by the thousands to watch the evening news? It’s largely because news stations predictably broadcast at six and eleven o’clock in the evening. They “own” those time slots.

In addition to these proven principles for live video success, consider the following when selecting a time for your next broadcast:

Know Your Audience:

  • Retailers with access to the internet during work hours
  • Retailers without access to the internet during work hours
  • Sales reps with the flexibility to watch this training
  • Sales reps with busy travel schedules
  • Employees required to watch your training
  • Consumers with full-time jobs
  • Consumers with flexible schedules
  • What events and traditions (tradeshows, holidays, sporting seasons) influence your audience’s availability?

Know Your Metrics:

  • What do you know about your audience’s internet viewing behavior from your company’s website traffic?
  • When are your audience members most active on your social media sites?
  • What can you learn from association reports in your industry regarding online behaviors of your audience?

Control Your Destiny:

  • To get the greatest amount of traffic to your event, the event needs to be promoted.
  • Conduct some A/B testing. That is, based on what you know about your audience and your own metrics, conduct your own test by hosting a couple of broadcasts at one time, and the next two at another time. Your audience will let you know the times that are best for them.

Technical Recommendations

We recommend computers that have a CPU that is an i7 with 16gb of RAM and a graphics card with at least 1gb of VRAM. This applies to both Mac and PC.

Firewall & Speed Test

For this test to be effective, please connect your laptop to the exact internet network from which the upcoming live video broadcast will be streamed. With the setup in place, these tests should take less than 5 minutes to conduct.

Setup:

  1. Connect your computer to the exact Ethernet outlet/port that will be used to
    broadcast the upcoming live video event.
    1. If the room where the broadcast will be held does not have an Ethernet port,
      use the exact wireless network that will be used to broadcast the live event.
  2. If the broadcast will be streamed from behind a firewall, you will need to make
    accommodations to allow your Brandlive video broadcast out. Review
    Brandlive’s support page on firewalls to be sure you can broadcast through the
    Firewall.
  3. Ensure your webcam is functioning. (On Apple products, open the Facetime app
    to confirm your webcam is working. For PC products, use www.testmycam.net.)

Test 1: From a web browser, surf to www.speedtest.net to conduct a speed test of the
internet connection of the exact port to be used for the event. Brandlive needs a
minimum of 10 Mbps upload to confidently stream a live video event and 3 Mbps
download to view. Please report download and upload speeds to Brandlive.

Test 2: With Brandlive’s firewall protocols in place,

  1. Go to the Brandlive broadcast test page at
    https://firewall-testing.yourbrandlive.com
  2. Log in with the username tester@yourbrandlive.com; password: brandlive
  3. Find the event titled Firewall Test Page; click on the link to go to that page
  4. On this page, click the blue box in the upper right corner titled Broadcast
  5. Accept all requests by Adobe and your computer; this will ensure you have the latest
    version of Adobe Flash (there's likely a button that appears inviting you to get
    Adobe Flash), and that your camera and microphone are set to broadcast.

When instructed by your Brandlive contact, click the Start Broadcast button to begin
a live video stream and test the broadcast from your computer. This will ensure the
suitability of both audio and video streams from the exact port from which the event
will be broadcasted.


If everything is set up properly, your Brandlive contact will be able to see you from
this page: http://firewall-testing.yourbrandlive.com/c/firewall-test

Preparation

Help your live-video presenter to feel more prepared before going on the air by reviewing the three sections below:

Before Getting in Front of the Camera

  • Practice your presentation off camera.
  • Wear clothing that has solid colors or stripes that compliments your skin tones. Avoid small patterns which can create a moiré and be distracting on screen.
  • If possible, wear contacts instead of glasses during your presentation. Light flare off glasses can cause the audience to not see your eyes—an important element of establishing trust.

Before the Camera Rolls

  • Do a double-check on your hair, tie, jacket, or anything else that might have gotten out of place; if there’s no mirror nearby, ask the video person for help.
  • If you’re wearing a name badge, remove it.
  • Silence your phone, watch or anything else that might ring or vibrate.
  • Position yourself close enough to the camera so the audience can feel “close” to you. Depending on the style of the video, your shoulders should occupy about 1/4 - 1/3 or more of the screen width. If you are part of a panel or demonstration that requires a wider camera angle, you may be a much smaller fraction of the screen.
  • Remind yourself to use good body language that includes a healthy posture (not too stiff, but not too casual), a nice smile, and natural use of hands that communicates emphasis, not nervousness.

Once the Camera Is Rolling

  • Smile while you introduce yourself with your name and title, and tell the audience what you’re going to do for them today.
  • Speak into the camera; do not speak to the confidence monitor where you see the image of yourself or to the camera operator.
  • Speak clearly so as to be heard if a person were at the video camera: speak slowly (people often speed up their speech on camera), do not shout, and be careful not to mumble.
  • Avoid reading cue cards or looking too long at off-camera notes. It looks better to the audience to see you reference notes in your hand than to look too long off camera.
  • Limit walking around and do not pace back and forth. This can be distracting and makes it difficult for the camera crew.
  • Feel free to step towards the camera to emphasize a point, or show an item to the audience.
  • When answering a question asked by an off-camera person, repeat/rephrase the question to be sure the audience has heard the question before you answer.
  • Leave your audience wishing you had spoken just a little bit longer…rather than wishing you had ended sooner. Keep your points clear and simple.

 

Next Article: Day of Event

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