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.
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.
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.
You can greatly increase your event audience by broadcasting your conference, seminar or briefing on the internet. This can be done either live or on-demand and can be public or password-protected. Glocast can also provide you with detailed analysis that allow you to see exactly who has watched the presentation and when. All of our webcasts can be incorporated into your existing website or hosted by us. Here are some examples of how clients have used webcasting:
Online Conference Webcasts
Our team can video a conference, after which the individual presentations are made available online. We will take copies of the final presentation slides and prepare them into a slideshow format which is then matched with the video content to create a slick online conference. This is then distributed behind password protection to all conference delegates, so that they can re-experience the presentations. It can also be sold to people who could not make the event, creating a new stream of event revenue.
Live Event Webinar
Our team will broadcast your event live with associated presentation slides mixed into the video footage. Your viewers can leave comments and interact with presenters live through an online chat area. The live webinar can then be converted to an on-demand webcast, allowing participants to spread the link using social media. You can read more about the benefits of Live vs On-demand webcasts here.
Online Client Briefings
A “head and shoulders” presentation directly into the camera. This can be filmed at the client office location and can be mixed with presentation slides or other video if required. This is a really modern and cost effective way to do regular briefings or announce new products, particularly if your client base is global. It also allows you to “put a face to the name” and inject some personality into your briefing.
Webcasts can be either live or on-demand. Both have their benefits and in this section you can read about how each can enhance your event or presentation.
Live Web Streaming
A live web stream allows your event or presentation to be broadcast on the internet as it happens. It is vision mixed live on site to incorporate a branded holding slide at the start and end with optional presentation slides mixed throughout the broadcast. The live web stream can be made available on demand shortly after the event, allowing people who missed the live stream, or delegates at the event, to watch it when it suits them.
- Time-critical content can be broadcast to a global audience.
- Incorporate live reaction to up to the second social media conversations.
- Global viewers can engage with the presenters through live online Q&A.
An on-demand webcast is a pre-recorded presentation, which is available on-line at the viewer’s convenience. The video is edited and can be mixed with presentation slides. Alternatively, we can synchronise the slides side by side next to the video, creating a fully featured online presentation.
- Global reach. Time zones are not an issue.
- The viewer can watch the presentation wherever they wish.
- The footage can be edited and cleaned up before going on-line.
- The presentation can be paused, rewound and repeated.
- A link to the webcast can be sent to your contacts by email or social media.
GloCast produces live web streaming and on-demand webcasts in throughout the UK.
Get in touch - we’d love to hear more about your plans and advise you on the different options available.