People often think a webcast goes out from a conference to lots of individuals, each sitting by their computer in far away locations. Although this solitary activity is the norm, there is a growing trend of groups getting together to watch the live stream, discuss matters around the presentations, network and participate in the Q&A sessions. These mini-events that are formed around a bigger event are excellent for generating discussion, particularly if people cannot get to the main conference but still wish to experience ‘an event’ around the conference topic.
This is a short guide on how to technically set up one of these interactive webcast viewing events.
Firstly, you will need an internet connection and a computer. This is identical to watching the webcast in your office or at home. Just as usual, make sure you have disabled any streaming services like online radio and background processes like DropBox that may use your bandwidth during a sync. Services using up your bandwidth is the most common reason for bad streaming quality. For optimum results, you will need a minimum download speed of 1.5mb/s.
If you have limited bandwidth, remember that people accessing the internet, watching the stream on their devices, for instance, will use up the available bandwidth and can cause the stream to degrade in quality. If bandwidth is tight, you could ask the audience to limit their Wi-Fi use or you can disable the Wi-Fi altogether during the live stream. People will understand if you explain why.
The bigger your audience is, the bigger the screen will have to be (or you can use multiple screens). To see the webcast, all you have to do is plug in your computer to the screen or projector. Usually this is done using a VGA cable but more recently DVI or HDMI have become popular. Then just browse to the webcast page and make sure this is seen on the screen. When the webcast is live, I recommend making the video full screen so that it’s seen by all as the small player window is difficult to see in a larger room.
I always say that sound is extremely important. You can have the best video in the world but if the audio is poor, the whole presentation is ruined. You will need speakers to project the sound from the webcast. The larger the room / bigger the audience, the bigger the PA should be. You may already have built in PA in the room, in which case: great! just plug in your laptop and off you go. It’s worth testing your sound before the event by playing an .mp3 or a video clip with sound. This will limit any nasty surprises with a room full of people!
In some cases you might want to hire a PA system from an AV company. If you do so, let them know that you’ll be playing PC (or laptop) sound. Knowing this, they will include a small box, called a DI box. A DI box is designed to eliminate any buzz that might come through the speakers when a computer is plugged in. Only this morning I helped a client who had just this problem. We always carry a DI box in our kit bag just in case!
The whole idea of a live webcast is to give the online audience the opportunity to participate in the main event. We operate a live chat facility (see here for more info: http://glocast.com/interactive-live-chat-during-webcasts-and-webinars/). This allows the viewers to ask questions, contribute and also to communicate with other online viewers. A group watching the event can participate through the same chat facility. They can log in individually to ask questions using their laptops or mobile devices. If they do, just be aware of your bandwidth. Twitter can be a good compromise – we can show a twitter feed next to the stream and the chat moderator can take questions from Twitter. Quite often one member of the group will act as a chair person and will contribute the best questions on the group’s behalf. For this to happen, there has to be a small break before questions for the group to be able to submit questions. If everyone are doing their own, they can just ask questions normally.
At the live event-end the online chat moderator gathers all questions and asks them during the Q&A session, when the microphones are passed around the room. The presenter or panel then answers your online group’s question.
I hope this has been useful. If you have any specific questions on how to run an event in order to watch and participate in a live webcast, please get in touch.
The main benefit of doing live webcasts or webinars is the ability to include an online audience in the interactive Question & Answer sessions.
People watching the live webcast or webinar feel truly part of the event when they are able to ask a question and the aswer is relayed to them live, in real time through the video. It’s very powerful when the presenter looks right into the camera and answers a question posted by one of the online audience.
The way we do it – and I think this is the best system around for interactivity during a webcast – is to use a live chat room. The online audience participate in a lively discussion in the chat room, all moderated by someone at the event. This is usually from the client’s side as they will know the topic and possibly some of the online audience.
The chat room moderator will also act as the voice of the online audience during the Q&A session. They quite simply put their hand up with everyone else in the room and ask the question when the microphone comes to them. Quite often our clients even prioritise questions from online to ensure they have been included in the event.
This interactive chat room also allows the moderator to ask other questions that can be relayed at the event. For instance, it’s fun to find out where in the world the online audience are from. The presenter or chair person can then make an announcement to the audience, giving the event a much more international feel!
Another way to include online participants is by using Twitter. A live Twitter feed next to the video window is a great way to bring in the online audience with tweeters from inside the conference room and beyond. The Twitter stream can also be projected in the event during breaks for added interest.
Contact us for more information on how to bring your online audience into your event.
2013 update: Now iOS and device friendly! We work hard to ensure that our webcast content is available to watch on whichever device you’re using. We’ve just re-released this popular on-demand webcast using our new platform.
Edinburgh Institute and Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation held an interesting conference about sustainable festivals, events and tourism at the University of Edinburgh.GloCast produced an on-demand webcast of the event, matching presentation slides to the video content to create an online version of the conference.
Click on the screen shot above or the links below to view the webcast. Remember to disable any pop-up blockers as the player will show in a new window.
Jim Hart | 06:58
Edinburgh’s Festivals and Their Carbon Emissions Targets
Ben Twist | 31:16
A Case Study of a Festival Addressing Carbon Management
Andrew Coulton | 41:57
Live Event Carbon Footprint
Tom Gibbs | 05:35
ISO 20121 – Introduction of the New International Standard
Kenneth Wardrop | 14:30
Events: Sustaining Success
Dr Calvin Jones | 20:05
Assuring a Sustainable London 2012
Emma Synnott | 34:12
The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, presented by the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the British Council, is a unique series of events that are bringing writers together around the world to create an historic picture of the role of literature today.
The conversation began in August 2012 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where 50 world renowned writers joined members of the public every afternoon of 17-21 August 2012 to discuss the five topics that almost brought writers to blows during the infamous Writers’ Conference of 1962.
Since the events in Edinburgh, the World Writers’ Conference has visited Berlin, Cape Town, Toronto and Krasnoyarsk and will make its way to 10 further cities giving writers in different countries the chance to add their voice to the growing debate about literature and its relationship to contemporary life.
During the inaugural Writers’ Conference at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, GloCast delivered five consecutive days of live streaming. The production involved a three-camera live mix with live graphics, streamed to a global audience. GloCast also produced and continue to manage the event microsite: edinburghworldwritersconference.org. Throughout 2012 and 2013 we gather, process and archive video footage sent in from the 13 global event locations, uploading the final HD edits to the event YouTube account: http://www.youtube.com/user/worldwritersconf.
This project is extremely exciting for us as it is a truly global event both in terms of viewers and international conference partners. The GloCast team are delighted to be part of it.
“The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference is an ambitious project for the Book Festival, taking us into new territory in a number of ways. We want the initial events in Edinburgh to spark a genuinely international conversation about the role of literature in the world today, so the live streaming, on-demand videos and web presence of the Conference is of critical importance to the success of this exciting project. If GloCast had only delivered superb quality footage, a usable and reliable series of live streams to viewers in 67 countries, and a well designed and user friendly microsite, on a tight turnaround and with a number of logistical challenges that would have been enough. That Arran and his team have also been a delight to work with – organised, responsive, efficient and friendly – makes it all the better. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”
- Andrew Coulton, Administrative Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival
Today I completed two site visits; one at IET Teacher Building (@IETvenues) and another at the brand new Glasgow Sculpture Studios (@GSSGLASGOW). Both are fantastic meeting venues for live streaming events. They’re very different in many respects but have one vital thing in common: an excellent internet connection!
I always recommend a site visit before a live streaming event at a new venue (…new to GloCast!). By doing a site visit, we can work out where our cameras can go, where the best place for our live streaming equipment is and what kind of power is available in the room. If required, we can work out any technical difficulties prior to the event. Most importantly, we test the internet connections and conduct a test stream to ensure there are no problems with firewalls or other restrictions when we stream live video to the internet from the venue.
By doing a site visit, we (and our clients) can be fully confident that the stream will go smoothly on the day of the event – vital when everyone is busy getting ready to go live. A site visit as standard is just another GloCast added value service that helps your live stream go smoothly.
To our delight, both venues passed with flying colours and will be added to our list of recommended live streaming venues. We look forward to working at both IET Teacher Building and Glasgow Sculpture Studios.
Get in touch if you would like your to be added to the GloCast list of recommended live streaming venues.
GLO Webcasing now offer support for WebEx online webinars throughout Scotland and the UK.
You can use WebEx to broadcast your conference to remote viewers in your organisation. The system is ideal for two (or more)-way interaction, allowing you to bring remote contributors into your conference either with audio through teleconference or as a video link. You can also share desktops, media and files with the online audience.
GLO Webcasting will look after your WebEx project from the outset and will advise on best practice allowing you to concentrate on creating your presentation. Please get in touch to learn more about WebEx production for your event or briefing.
GLO Webcasting were chosen as the event video production company for a recent conference about events best practices held at the COSLA Conference Centre in Edinburgh. The content was fascinating and included presentations about event leadership, creative process and social media.
GLO filmed the presentations and matched the PowerPoint slides with the video to create a dynamic conference video experience for the viewers. The clips are hosted on our unbranded professional video hosting facility.
For more information about MacKay Hannah and their conference programme, please check out: http://www.mackayhannah.com/
All the conference sessions are available to watch below:
1. Leadership of events
Dr Jane Ali-Knight
Director, Edinburgh Institute: Festivals, Events and Tourism, Napier University
2. Creative thinking for your events
Managing Director of Unique Events and Artistic Director of Edinburgh Hogmanay
3. Question and discussion session
4. Communication strategy
Board Director and Head of Digital Marketing, The BIG Partnership
5. The future of digital marketing
Marketing Director, Equator
6. Events and technology
Sales Manager, Cameron Presentations
7. Customer care at your event
Scotland Director, People 1st and WorldHost
8. Question and discussion session
During the spring and summer of 2012, GLO Webcasting streamed six events live from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt university. These instructional webinars covered business startups and spin-offs in great detail and were attended by a range of online viewers from as far as Africa. The events were part of an inter-university entrepreneurial competition called The Converge Challenge.
GLO webcasting created a branded, secure online area, where the high quality live video was placed alongside the live online chat. The online audience were able to participate in Q&A sessions through an on-site moderator, who was their voice in the seminar room.
GLO also provided radio microphones to ensure the presentations were clearly heard.
Immediately after the live webinar, the video footage was uploaded to a branded and secure web page for on-demand viewing.
Check out http://www.hw.ac.uk/industry/collaborate-with-us/converge-challenge.htm for more information on the 2012 Converge Challenge.
“Glocast’s service has excelled my highest expectations. Having never undertaken live web streaming before, I was pleased when Glocast came for pre-event meetings and site visits, and managed the technical side of our webinar series from start to finish, to ensure a professional streaming and hosting service. They are now my go-to company for future streaming events.”
Don’t get me wrong, Vimeo and YouTube (the second largest search engine in the world) have their merits for certain projects and I will happily upload content there and even manage entire media libraries for my clients.
However more often than not YouTube is not the best option for a sophisticated event video hosting service. The whole principle of free video hosting sites is to draw you in and keep the viewer on their pages for as long as possible. Your video will mingle with lots of random and unrelated content. Most likely, the viewer will click on one of the images on the end screen, taking them to some other video. This could even be a competitor’s video, which is obviously not great. Ideally, the viewer should stay on your website to browse your other content and eventually click on the “contact us” button.
Then there are the adverts… I don’t need to dwell too long on those. Also there is the issue of ownership. Once your video is posted on these sites you do not retain sole rights or full
Some organisations block video sharing sites altogether, which aids in making these sights ‘less professional’ than unbranded hosting solutions.control of your content. A good starting place for more information on this is here: http://www.reelseo.com/youtube-copyright-ownership/. Nothing in life is free, particularly “free” video hosting sites!
Here at GLO we looked carefully at on-demand video hosting options and decided to go down an unbranded player route. Your GLO videos will be transcoded to ensure that it’s available to all devices in a range of bitrates, which in this era of mobile viewing is essential. Unlike Youtube and Vimeo, the GLO video player streams your video content, so there is no buffering half way through the clip – if your web connection gets busy, the video detects that and seamlessly jumps to a lower resolution version. Clever stuff.
We can dictate what happens at the end of the video: social media links for sharing with the online community, redirect to a page (e.g. contact us) or simply return to start.
The best part is that GLO video hosting is super cheap. Get in touch to get a quote for your professional on-demand video hosting.