Once you’ve mapped out what you need for your broadcast, you’ll want to focus on your production plan in order to eliminate surprises ahead of time. This way, you will be able to concentrate on producing a great broadcast the day of.
Mapping Out Production
We recommend you follow these steps when mapping out your production plan:
- Put together a comprehensive checklist of all the equipment you will need.
- Work with your presenters to create a Run of Show for the event day. Call out the places in which you will show certain slides or videos, or have a product demonstration on camera.
- Gather all of the visual assets you will need for your production such as logos, videos, images, and slides.
- Build your Wirecast profile with all of your visual assets and output settings, including your RTMP code, stream key, and recording settings.
- Do a simple test stream with a logo and music to make sure the broadcast settings are correct.
- Check the test page on your account to make sure you can see and hear your test broadcast.
- Check in with your Customer Success Manager if you need help with firewall testing, finding your RTMP code and stream key, or building the event page.
- If you have any concerns regarding internet speed/availability or firewalls at the broadcast location, contact your IT department for assistance. See Firewall Settings for more details.
When you go over your equipment list, visualize every link in the chain. Don’t forget about things like cables and connectors. Is there any additional equipment you need to rent? Make sure you’ve got everything you need!
If there are any parts of the setup that is new or different for you, connect them ahead of time and test them to make sure everything works. You don’t want to be caught off guard by an issue you hadn’t anticipated.
Day of Event
The day of your event has arrived, and it’s time to set up the equipment and get ready for your broadcast.
The steps below will help you get your broadcast set up for success. There is a lot of information here, so make sure to read through these carefully so as not to forget a critical step.
Review the Event
Check your event page again to make sure that your necessary content is uploaded, the description and information for viewers look correct, etc.
Arrive at the broadcast location at least 3 hours before the go-live time. If you can set up and test a day before, that’s even better. You’ll want plenty of time to get everything working smoothly.
Test The Internet Connection
Connect to the internet on your broadcast computer. Open a web browser and test the internet speed (www.speedtest.net). Make sure the upload speed is still adequate for streaming (at least 10 mbps upload).
Optimize Your Computer
Quit any other programs running on your computer, and disconnect any unnecessary devices from your computer such as USB flash drives.
Connect your cameras to the broadcast computer (HDMI out of the camera, into a thunderbolt converter for Mac or a USB converter for PC).
Connect your audio equipment, whether it’s a microphone plugged directly into the camera, or several wireless mics plugged into an audio mixer. Connect the mixer to the computer via USB.
Open your Wirecast profile and start a test stream with a logo or title card and music. Check the test page to make sure you can see and hear the stream. Leave this stream going for a minimum of 5 minutes.
While the test stream is going, add your camera shots and any other visual assets in Wirecast.
Link the camera shots to the audio source in Wirecast, and link any other image or video assets to their proper audio sources. Listen with headphones as you click through all the shots to check them.
Monitor your Computer CPU
Check the CPU usage of your computer during the test stream (Wirecast gives a readout above the Live window). If it’s running up into the 80-90% range, you may need to adjust your streaming and recording settings. Refer to the troubleshooting section of this document for more information.
Check Pre-Recorded Videos in Wirecast
Make sure pre-recorded videos are set to hold when finished instead of loop, and uncheck the box that says “Remember position even when not live”.
On the layer above your camera shots, build any lower-third graphics that you want, with presenters’ names and titles.
Make sure all your shots and assets are aligned in a way that makes sense to you.
If using moderation, set up the moderation page on a separate laptop or tablet. Educate the moderator if they have any questions.
Adapt for Future Events
Make yourself a list of things to remember before you go live, specifically to start streaming and start recording. Tape the note to your computer so you can’t miss it!
An important component of preparing for your broadcast is setting aside time for rehearsal. The more rehearsal time you have, the more smoothly your broadcast will go. It is important that the presenters and producers are aligned on the Run of Show so that no unexpected surprises happen.
- Ensure that your presenters are on site and ready to go at least 30 minutes before the go-live time.
- Remember the Run of Show you created during pre-production? Go over this document with your presenters and allow them time to rehearse their content.
- If using multiple cameras, be clear with your presenters on which camera they need to look at. For example, if you have a second camera dedicated for product shots, have your presenters talk to the first camera.
- Explain to your presenters how you will count them in at the start of the show. (For example: verbally count “5, 4, 3, 2”, then silently count “1” in your head while pointing to the presenter and making their shot live.)
- Align with your presenters on how they will bring the broadcast to a close. A clear verbal cue such as “Thanks for watching; we’ll see you next time!” will help you know when to fade out to your closing logo or title card.
- Remind your presenters to check in regularly with the moderator to see if there are any questions from the audience (or check their laptop/tablet if using “send to presenter” mode).
- The presenters should always repeat the names of the people asking questions via chat. This is important for helping the audience feel engaged and known.
- Go through the full Run of Show, clicking on each shot/asset in order. Triple-check that everything is set up correctly, especially audio and video sources.
- Check that the audio level of all sources is matched to an acceptable level (more info at the end of this section).
- Do a full sound check with all microphones.
- Make sure you or your camera operator are prepared for any close-up shots on either the presenter or product.
- Ask everyone on location to silence their cell phones. Putting cellular devices in airplane mode is strongly recommended when using wireless mics, to avoid signal interference.
- Finally, remind the presenters that it’s completely okay if they make a mistake. If that happens, they should simply laugh it off, collect their thoughts, and move on.
You’ll want to make sure you normalize your audio levels in advance. When setting the audio level of your sources, a good rule of thumb is to keep the maximum level around -6db on Wirecast’s audio meters.
During your rehearsal, run through each shot that contains audio to make sure none of the sources are significantly higher or lower than the recommended range. You may need to manually adjust the audio level of certain shots, especially music or videos which might be mixed at a higher level.
You can adjust the audio level of an asset by selecting its audio source in the editing window, then bringing the level up or down in the Volume tab.
When you’ve finished rehearsal and you’re confident that everything is in place, it’s time to go live for the show. Follow the steps below to get your live show running!
- About 10 minutes before your scheduled broadcast time, cue up your opening title card or logo in the live window and click the broadcast icon button to start streaming.
- At the 5-minute mark, ask your presenters to take their places.
- Click the Record button 1 minute before you go live.
- Announce when you’re at the 1-minute mark, and again at the 30-second mark.
- Remind your presenters to smile and have fun!
- Countdown verbally from 5 seconds, and fade to the live camera shot on a silent “1”.
- Monitor the outgoing audio with headphones, making sure it’s neither too quiet nor overdriven.
- Keep an eye on your CPU usage indicator at the top of the Wirecast window. You don’t want it getting into the 80% range or higher. Refer to the troubleshooting section for more information.
- Follow along with the Run of Show and listen to the presenter for any verbal cues to show specific visual content.
- Clearly communicate to presenters when you’re in a break or playing a video, and give them plenty of warning before you countdown to bring them back on camera.
- Double check that microphone audio is not broadcasting during a break or transition.
- When the presenter signs off at the end of the broadcast, fade to a closing title card or a logo with music.
Stay focused during the broadcast. It’s easy to get distracted, but this can lead to mistakes. In addition, your presenters may notice if you get distracted, and this could distract them in turn. Always monitor the outgoing audio with headphones. If a presenter walks on or off camera while wearing a wireless mic, don’t forget to bring their audio level up or down as necessary.
Your live broadcast was successful and is all finished! Before you pop open the celebratory beers, however, there are a few post-event items to take care of.
- As soon as you’ve faded out to the closing image/music, let your presenters know that the broadcast is finished and they are clear.
- Congratulate the presenters and let them know they did a good job!
- Stop your recording, but leave the stream going for 1-2 minutes. This allows the delay to catch up, and also provides a better experience for viewers who may not close their browser window right away.
- Ask for feedback, and share suggestions for what could be done better next time.
- If requested, trim and post the Ustream recording to the event page right away so that it can be viewed on-demand.
- If you recorded a video file to the computer, give it to the client if requested or save it as necessary.
- Break down all the equipment, and restore the location to the way you found it, i.e. reset any chair or tables that you moved, etc.
Next Article: Production Support