How to Plan Your Live Event So That It’s Not Fyre Festival

If you haven’t heard of the hot mess that was Fyre Festival, you are in for a treat. What was supposed to be an all-inclusive luxury island getaway and music festival for wealthy millennials and trust fund babies turned out to be all flash and no festival. None of the infrastructure for the event had been built, no musical acts had shown up, the accommodations were really FEMA-style tents with few beds and even fewer amenities, and the promised land of a private island was mostly dirt.

For the first time in their lives, rich people had to fight for resources. All in all, it was great for those who could not afford a festival ticket priced in the four digits, but could monitor the mess unfold on social media from the comfort of their own homes. More importantly, though, it was the perfect example of what not to do when putting on a live event. So what can we learn from this debacle?

  1. Plan

Know your target audience. You wouldn’t sell a business seminar to a bunch of dogs in suits, just like you wouldn’t expect college students with $60,000 in student loan debt to pay thousands to party with Bella Hadid (or not). Have a clear idea of what your event is about and what it should look like. What category would it fall under? What is the main goal of the event? When is the right time and date to broadcast? Think these through and generate a relevant title and theme for your live event and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or gussied up with the promise of supermodels.

200w_d (6)Putting on an event is also more expensive than you think. Marisa Laureni, owner of Romela Events, said in a statement to Eventbrite that Audio/Video components can be the most expensive aspect of live streaming an event, but paying big bucks for high quality equipment generally pays off. Just don’t overextend and promise Beyonce when you only have the budget for a Beyonce impersonator.

Having the time to plan is possibly the most important aspect of putting on any kind of event. According to Eventbrite, your timeline can be estimated by your predicted number of attendees as follows:

  • 200-400 attendees: 6-8 weeks
  • 400-800 attendees: 3-4 months
  • 800+ attendees: 6 months to 1 year
  • As early as possible!
  1. Promote—but not too much

If you’re on Instagram, chances are that you’re no stranger to the concept of brunch or that of “influencers”. Influencer is another term for tastemaker, which is another term for model on social media who gets paid for promoting weight loss teas. It’s not a bad gig. The most damning mistake made by Fyre Festival developers aside from, well, everything, was allocating the majority of their budget to marketing and leaving none for execution of the actual event. Paying Instagram influencers in swimsuits to hang out on a yacht for a promotional video is cool, but having people pay to do the same only to show up and find The Hunger Games is asking for a lawsuit.

Promoting your event and live stream doesn’t have to break the bank. Release details in small increments to boost interest in your event as it approaches. Spread this information (making sure to include the time and date) everywhere—advertise it on your website, in newsletters, and on social media. Create a landing page for your event and provide a link to it in your promotions. Essentially, keep your expectations realistic and your promotions accurate. Unless you’re Ja Rule. Then screw it and scam a bunch of rich kids out of millions of dollars and donate it to charity. Whatever.

  1. Accommodate your audience

If you promise five-star gourmet dining experience, make sure that it isn’t just a bunch of cheese sandwiches that prompt your clients to go all Lord of the Flies. Similarly, if you’re advertising a live stream experience that provides something of value to viewers (especially if they’re paying for it), take all the steps to ensure that that’s really what you’re providing! You may also want to spend time considering how your live stream will look and sound to viewers. To guarantee a positive viewing experience, check lighting conditions and noise levels at your event location well in advance. Location also matters. Keep your surroundings in mind, as this is the backdrop your audience will be looking at the whole time.

  1. Test your equipment and connectivity

Quality cameras and mics are standard for a well-planned live stream. Nobody will want to watch something that looks like it was produced by Kim Kardashian and Ray J. (On second thought, a lot of people would, but that’s not the aesthetic we’re going for here). Make sure all of your equipment is working and, if possible, have backup equipment just in case. Check if you have the bandwith to support HD streaming, but keep your viewers in mind, as they may not have the same level of bandwith. Offer an alternate stream in standard definition. It is possible to capture content in HD and stream it in SD. Shooting in HD and converting down will look significantly better than shooting in SD.

  1. Do a practice run

Rehearsals exist for a reason. Whether it’s for an elementary school play or a wedding, there absolutely has to be a dry run-through to make sure everything runs smoothly on the scheduled day of the event. If you’re lucky, your cheating ex will only show up to ruin your rehearsal dinner and not your actual wedding. Having a practice run leaves less room for technical mishaps and human error. It also gives you a chance to make sure that any guest speakers or performers you may have are prepared. If your guests are musical acts like Blink-182, make sure they show up. Pay them on time. And definitely make sure there’s an actual stage for them to perform on. Who’s listening to Blink-182 in 2017, anyway? We need to talk.

How Does Live Streaming Support Businesses and Build ROI?

There’s an episode of The Office in which Michael Scott is invited to Dunder Mifflin’s re-branding party by his protégé-turned-boss, Ryan—or so he thinks. It turns out that ‘password’ wasn’t the name of a trendy new club, and the invitation was for Michael to teleconference in at the live event. He wasn’t too happy about this, but things ultimately worked out for Michael, and not so much for Ryan.

Sitcoms aside, investing in live streaming has proven to be beneficial for many businesses, especially in terms of return-on-investment: one could even say that it literally ends up paying for itself. This works in a number of different ways. Some are obvious and instant, such as using pay-per-view, paywalls, or advertising. Others are more long-term, like money saved by communicating with employees without having to travel without making things impersonal. Lastly, some are abstract in the sense that they provide rich user experiences which result in brand recognition beyond traditional methods of marketing, and good marketing is what makes consumers more likely to purchase products and services.

In short, live video supports businesses by providing ROI. Let’s look at some statistics:

  • 40% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year (Digitell)
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Vidyard)
  • Businesses using video grow 49% faster than organizations without video (Aberdeen Group)
  • 52% of marketing pros/marketers worldwide** name video as the type of content with the best ROI (HubSpot)
  • 73% of B2B marketing professionals say that video has positively impacted marketing results (Reel SEO)
  • 74% of marketers say video produces more conversions than other content (Vidyard)
  • Enjoyment of video increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139% (Unruly)

Now, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of live streaming? The likely answer is live events. Streaming live events is a method of visual storytelling which allows consumers to interact with your brand, making them more likely to engage with it in the future. Product releases are one of the main ways that companies use live event streaming, but with a subscription to a great live streaming platform, it can be used literally any time your company or organization wishes to communicate with the general public with an unlimited potential reach.

Consider the wild popularity of Fashion Week. The world of high fashion used to be inaccessible to many. In 2009, Alexander McQueen made the decision to livestream his Spring/Summer 2010 show at New York Fashion Week. It racked up 3.5 million views on YouTube, and next year, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, and Alexander Wang (among others) followed suit. Natalie Okupniak, executive producer of B Productions, believes this happened because brands began to see the potential of live streaming as a marketing event rather than just a trade vent. And she’s right—Russel Quy, president of B Productions’ streaming division, stated that they collect data, such as which looks were most popular in which countries as well as email addresses collected through live stream access portals, and bring that data back to brands. Marc Jacobs and Rebecca Minkoff make use of these tactics, which work even if you’re not a major fashion house.

Live streaming can also prove effective for employees of a brand and can be used to train company newcomers. Microsoft is one of many brands who have invested in video training for their employees, and in doing so, they claim to have avoided annual costs of $13.9 million, a ROI of over 500% on their investment in the training system. And they aren’t the only ones: thousands of companies have seen cost reductions by using live video for corporate communications. This includes meetings, presentations, proposals, conferences, and more. In a 2014 case study by Streaming Media, Eric Hards, manager of digital media services at Lockheed Martin, estimated that they were able to save $100,000 per live event. This is coming from an estimated travel cost of around $2,000 for each attendee of a two-day, minus the cost of facilities. Think about the savings!

Last but not least, the most obvious method: charging people to watch your video content. This can be done by using a streaming platform that offers pay-per-view or paywall options. Simply put, viewers can only access your stream upon payment. There are other methods, such as selling ad monetization or offering a subscription service.

Live Streaming is the Future of Performance Art

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The ways in which we consume entertainment, social media, and even food (you have to Instagram it first) are changing. It only makes sense for art to follow, and it has been—modern art has evolved in waves over the past decade with the advent of the internet, and performance art is no exception. In an interview with Huck Magazine, Nick Tee, who is the creator of online performance art piece #cam4art, said that while performance art largely involves performing to a camera, it hasn’t generally involved live streaming—until now.

#cam4art is a passion project of Tee’s which allows artists to broadcast their art via live stream from anywhere, whether it be their studio or their bedroom. Using nothing but a webcam and an internet connection, artists have the opportunity to share their projects with a global audience who can also access it from anywhere. Tee is one of many artists who have realized the potential of live streams, and the previously unprecedented reach they can provide to artists and art consumers alike.

For anyone who is a fan of modern art, Marina Abramović is somewhat of a household name. In 2010, Abramović was the artist behind “The Artist is Present”, a performance piece spanning eleven weeks at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibit consisted of her sitting in a padded wooden chair at a small table for up to eight hours at a time, with another chair directly across from her. One at a time, visitors took turns sitting the chair opposite Abramović as they sat in complete silence. Some cried, some laughed, it was the best of times, it was the most uncomfortable of times.

A live video feed captured every second of the piece, and this was the main source of viewing for many who wanted to experience the exhibit, as lines were considerably long—people waited for hours to sit in a chair across from her—and many could not head to New York to physically visit the museum. (Suckers! We live here). Abramović sat in her wooden chair for a total of 750 hours.  While the footage itself is no longer available, photographs can be previewed on the MoMA site. “The Artist is Present” was (and still is) talked about for years after and launched Abramović into superstardom earning her the title of the ‘grandmother of performance art’ and inspiring an HBO documentary chronicling the exhibit.

In 1974, Abramović constructed a similar but far braver exhibit. In this piece, she sat at a table, but this one was strewn with 72 different objects. This included regular objects like roses, and some were very much not regular, like a pistol pre-loaded with bullets. She invited the audience to use the objects on her. Abramović stated then that she was ready to die. At the end of the exhibit, she left in tears, bloody from rose thorns being used to prick her, her clothes cut up by scissors.

This courageous piece of performance art spoke volumes about human nature and what people are willing to do when there are technically no consequences. How might this have differed if the exhibit was broadcast live? Would the watchful eye of a global audience incite a fundamental change in the dynamic between artist and participant?

Oh, and then there’s Shia LaBeouf. What can we say about Shia LaBeouf? On a personal level, as someone who grew up watching Even Stevens, I have always been fond of him. In more recent times, he’s better known as the buff guy in the Sia music video or the guy behind the “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” mask. At one point, he wore a monitor while attending the SXSW Music Festival and live streamed his heartbeat.

In November 2015, the then 29-year-old actor launched the art installation called #AllMyMovies, in which LaBeouf watched all of his movies back-to-back over a period of three days at the Angelika Film Center in New York, broadcasting himself live via webcam. This was met with a ton of online enthusiasm. Aside from the thousands of people who spent hours waiting in line to share a theater with the, tens of thousands more were watching LaBeouf’s reactions to his own work via live stream, which was the focal point of the project.

Because the stream was online and readily available to anyone who’d be interested in watching someone watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is torture in and of itself, the project gained tons of momentum via Twitter using the hashtag #ALLMYMOVIES. Users on social media were quick to make gifs and jokes. They were also present for the less gif-able moments on the 24-hour livestream, like when the actor couldn’t stay awake said Indiana Jones remake, or when he took a nap on the floor.

Anyone who has gone to see a movie in a theater with a loved one (or at least anyone who has seen the movie Amelie) has experienced the joy of watching other peoples’ faces contort, laugh, cry, or laugh from crying in a shared experience in the dark. The intimate close-up of LaBeouf’s reactions to his own work put us in touch with our own livelihoods: after all, how would we feel watching ourselves working in our offices, accomplishing goals, or failing spectacularly? Some moments might be cringeworthy, others may be funny, few may turn out glorious.

Last but not least memorable, there was HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US. On January 20th, 2017, the same day as the inauguration of the current President*, LaBeouf debuted his installation at the Museum of the Modern Image in Queens, New York. It was a relatively simple concept, a white wall with a webcam attached to it bearing the phrase “HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US” in bold black text. The live stream was set up to run 24 hours a day, with LaBeouf encouraging the public to visit the exhibit and chant “he will not divide us” into the camera for a watchful global audience.

This was no abstract concept. It was a direct criticism of Donald Trump and his cronies through an art installation based entirely on live streaming. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, it was taken down by the museum no more than a month later following violent incidents at the site, including one instance with a neo-nazi and LaBeouf himself.

Perhaps demonstrating that there may already be a gaping ideological divide was the intended outcome.

4 Popular Organizations That Succeed Through Live Video

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NASA

If your head is in the clouds, you may want to pay attention now. NASA, the organization responsible for deciding that Pluto is no longer a planet, began streaming live video in 2004 at the inception of live streaming on the internet. It began streaming missions over the cloud in 2011 and has come a long way since then, both in terms of programming and streaming capabilities. As of now, according to the official NASA website, NASA TV can air pre-recorded and live programming 24 hours a day with a combination of cloud and video technology.

On February 22nd, 2017, NASA revealed the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets via live stream, manufacturing excitement all over the world for humans looking for out-of-planet real estate as we move further and further towards dystopia. Shout out to NASA for looking out for us and continually searching for hot (but not too hot) new planets that can sustain human life, seeing as we’re going to be underwater within the next 100 years if climate change denial continues. But I digress.

Live International Space Station footage repeats throughout the day, and missions such as rocket launches, spacewalks, and re-supply trips are streamed regularly throughout the year along with press conferences and media interviews. Viewers also have the amazing opportunity to ask ISS astronauts questions through social channels. As people gathered around their TVs to watch the moon landing in 1969 (hey, Russia!), the excitement and joy can still be felt today on computer, phone, and tablet screens as well because of live streaming technology.

The New York Times

If you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it. The New York Times is one of the most trusted sources of print news, and they’ve kept up with the times by going digital. More importantly, they’ve utilized the medium of online and app-based live video as a different kind of storytelling platform. Now, reporters can (and do) broadcast on live video platforms like Facebook Live, pulling out their phones to report as soon as they arrive on-scene.

Take the People’s March for Education Justice, for example. The march took place to protest several new education initiatives under the Trump regime as well as the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, and received coverage from The New York Times. Similarly to TV and print coverage, protesters were interviewed and cameras captured the massive crowd. So how was the live stream any different from traditional news?

What set the Facebook Live broadcast apart can be summed up in one word: immediacy. The reporter used her own phone to set up and record the stream, and essentially blended into the crowd to provide up-close-and-personal coverage. Live streamed coverage of a protest is something unique and exclusive enough to make the audience feel present in the moment. It’s raw, visceral, and unedited. At the same time, The New York Times offers a variety of live video on things that are not necessarily raw; educational panels, meditation sessions, cooking, how-to’s, and more.

Warby Parker

Known for their cool-guy-and-gal eyewear, Warby Parker has found wild amounts of success over the past few years. Raved about by celebrities such as Emmy Rossum and Ryan Gosling, Warby Parker has relied on appealing to the younger crowd to gain much of its consumer base.

The eyewear retailer uses live video, particularly Snapchat, for a number of different reasons. This includes the the showcasing of new products, but among their retail-focused snap series are some excellent employer branding ones. Like their user base, Warby Parker staff generally give off the chilled-out, Williamsburg vibe. In a series called ‘’Desk Job’, followers of the brand’s social media presence get an inside look at WP employee desks. At the same time, they can engage on a deeper by asking employees about their career paths and any dvice they have to offer about those seeking similar titles.

One particularly exciting feature in Warby Parker’s live videos is the opportunity for viewers to chat with Neil Blumenthal, the company’s co-founder.

Cisco

While many people would argue that a telecommunications brand has nothing to offer to a general public that—let’s face it—aren’t quite sure what a technology conglomerate even really does, Cisco has been able to market their brand in a fun, sort of relatable way. By utilizing live video, Cisco has managed to create a connection with consumers who may not necessarily be that interested in a brand that develops and sells telecommunications equipment and networking hardware. (You’re welcome).

Cisco utilizes live video to provide behind the scenes footage and tours of Cisco labs as well as product testing facilities, and shows curious users the ins and outs of some Cisco products—in this case, the literal inside of it. Their live video even provides a look into the lives of Cisco employees, including a look at their desks (similarly to Warby Parker), as well as ‘a day in the life’ features and staff lunches, making consumers feel a personal connection to those who work behind the scenes. This is also an effective way of drawing in potential employees.

Brands that offer products or services which don’t necessarily muster up a lot of excitement can follow Cisco’s lead on finding a good way to draw attention to other factors that go into your organization, like Cisco’s behind-the-scenes videos of their products, how their products are manufactured, how their employees work (and what they do when they don’t work), as well as events and parties that showcases the soul of your brand rather than the facets of capitalism it follows.

7 Common Live Streaming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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  1. Not having a presence

First impressions are very important. Think abougiphy (1)t camera presence. Are you the host? If not, who? How well do they perform in front of a camera? Along with your personality presence, your physical presence should be reflective of your content and brand, too. If you are hosting a business seminar, dress professionally. If you are advertising your surf retreat for yoga moms in the Hamptons, dress like a yoga mom—we won’t judge, as long as it’s on brand.

  1. Location, location, location

After you (presumably) have an idea of the live video content you want to broadcast, you want to spend time considering how this content will look. Although sometimes overlooked in consideration of other factors, location matters. Your streaming location can be anywhere. Whether it is your home, a studio, or the great outdoors, keep your surroundings in mind, and consider how it looks to the audience watching it. Give them an interesting backdrop, or at least a neat, non-distracting one.

  1. Noise level

giphy-downsizedBefore starting your stream, check to make sure that you can be heard by your viewers. This includes both a sound check before the fact and ensuring that you have a quiet space throughout the entire broadcast. If you’re outside, is there wind or loud traffic that can interrupt your audio feed? If you’re at a café, are there steaming and brewing sounds? Are your kids going to stroll in during the broadcast like in the infamous BBC interview? The best way to prevent this is doing an audio check in the space you’re broadcasting in beforehand. In general, try not to live stream in poor weather. And make sure your door is locked or your kids are at school.

Don’t be afraid to use headphones and a professional mic, but do be afraid to use your phone mic. Having flawless audio but poor video quality negates the other and vice versa. Fuzzy, echo-y, and generally low quality audio is a turnoff for the user, and this applies twice over to video quality, which is the next mistake to be discussed.

  1. Video quality

Your live stream should not look like the Blair Witch Project. This is a given. Nobody really wants to watch pixelated, blurry, or dark video content that may or may not require a magnifying glass. Poor video quality is another way to lose your audience fast. Equipment is a big part in this equation. Among the obvious, like your camera, it is crucial to have a good encoder. It is also necessary to have the ability to stream in both SD and HD simultaneously. Not all of your viewers will have the network for HD quality, and making sure that everyone can enjoy your stream should be a priority, so select a streaming service that offers the latter.

Another overlooked condition of live streaming is lighting. Like in your Instagram photos of avocado toast, you have to have good lighting! Whether you are indoors or out, you must consider how the lighting will be on the day of your broadcast. Will there be natural light at that time? Do you have the proper lighting indoors? Will the lighting that you have cast shadows? Basically, be sure that your viewers have a clear picture of what’s going on so that they’re not left in the dark.

  1. Limited audience interaction

giphy (2)The presenter should welcome the audience and continue to make them feel welcome throughout your stream. This has been said again and again, but much like Mr. Mac, my middle school math teacher, we can stress one particular concept over and over again.  Engage! If you have a comments section, use it. On a related note, when embedding live video, do so with the comment side by side with (or under) it. If your video content is informative, take questions or run polls if possible. They are a simple way of making the viewer feel involved. Maybe it even makes them feel loved. Who knows.

Running Q&A sessions, polls, and surveys allow you to have a dialogue with your audience. This can also be beneficial to you, the streamer, to give you a good idea of audience demographics, which can in turn help you gain more viewers on top of improving your existing viewers’ experience.

  1. Inconsistency

giphy-downsized (6)Being consistent with your live streams, if they happen regularly, is a matter of credibility as well as accessibility. Your viewers want to be aware of your broadcast, and expect your stream to be there when you say it will.  Even if you live stream regularly, be ready to broadcast well before your stream is scheduled, ideally at least a half an hour before. Nobody likes a late loafer, and you certainly don’t want to be one when you have worked so hard to build up an audience.

It’s generally not a good look to be late—not only are you likely to lose your audience fast, it also reflects poorly on you. Most people don’t have the time or patience to sit around and wait for your stream to begin (unless your stream is, I don’t know, NBA playoffs or something. I don’t know sports). You can ensure that you don’t drop viewers by adding an overlay banner in case things are delayed or simply to keep your early audience in the loop. Professionalism is key.

  1. Poor connectivity

Is there anything more frustrating than poor internet connection? Well, maybe war and global poverty, but that’s a subject for another time. If it’s annoying for you, it’s twice as annoying for your viewers to be watching a stream, and then have it suddenly go out. Not having a stable internet connection basically means not having a stream, and this is actually one of the most common mistakes.

Like many things, this can be remedied by solid pre-planning, such as doing a test run. If you’re using a computer, make sure there are no unnecessary programs open and save on CPU. You can also test your internet speed. This factor is especially important if you’re going to be filming in an outside location—ask yourself how you can have reliable connectivity in that setting and be able to answer.

The Top 5 Video Broadcasting Software for Live Events

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So you have a live event to broadcast, and you want it to go as seamlessly as it possibly can. Who wouldn’t? But before you can share your earth-shattering event with the world, there are certain tools you need to have on hand, and these tools should have the features you need to ensure that seamless broadcast. Aside from the obvious like your cameras, mics, a streaming platform like Primcast (among other things), you should have solid encoding gear.

Now, this can be a software or hardware encoder depending on your needs or personal preference, but here we will focus on the pros and cons of the best broadcasting software out there so you can get a better picture of which is best for you, and ultimately make it easier to make the most informed decision.

Software runs on your desktop or laptop. It is often low cost, but can be on the higher end for more professional, heavy duty service. For many services, this means it can easily be upgraded. It is generally more customizable than hardware, and is able to change some features of codecs. In general, event producers should be on the lookout for software that is user-friendly but has advanced features.

The process of live streaming is streamlined with quality software. For one thing, users can use one application for multiple steps in said process, including capturing video content and publishing. At the same time, it allows the user to stream their video content to a number of different platforms. There are some functions of software encoders in particular which make for much better quality live video streaming. This can be a number of things, including simultaneous broadcasting and live camera switching. As we discuss the pros and cons of each service, take note of which features would best fulfill your requirements.

XSplit

  • Pros
    • Personal and premium versions offer superior audio codec support, full HD broadcasting, and professional level production tools
    • Premium account allows you to create up to 12 scenes
    • Can switch between scenes while broadcasting live
    • Simultaneous broadcast with a paid license—so you can stream to multiple services at the same time
    • Plugins can extend functionality, including but not limited to slideshows and playlists
    • Has some selection of built-in transitions such as wave and fade which can add video content value
    • Supports interactive flash files – the user can interact with .swf using keyboard and mouse inputs
    • Video and audio can be delayed with source delay support
    • 3D positioning
    • Skype interaction
  • Cons
    • Premium version required for commercial use
    • Free version overlays ads on your stream
    • Stream delay behind a paywall
    • Plugin needed to add text
    • 1080p limit
    • Yearly registration fee
    • Cannot preview other scenes while broadcasting
  • Operates on
    • Windows
  • Pricing
    • Limited free version
    • 12 months of Personal – $39.96
    • 12 months of Premium – $60

Wirecast

  • Pros
    • High level of user friendliness—easy to use
    • Pre-loaded professional transitions and lower thirds, with the option to add your own
    • Integrated titling tool
    • Social media integration
    • Unlimited sources—Wirecast Cam App allows input feeds from many sources, including cameras, video files, picture files, iOS devices, and your desktop
    • Easy to use chroma key for green screen effects
    • Ability to create 3D titles and live scoreboards
    • Instant replay
    • IP cameras and web streams (RTMP, MMS, HTTP)
    • Supports live switching
    • Live scoreboard overlay feature
    • Functionality can be extended via plugins
    • Can create and automate playlists
    • 3D virtual sets
    • Support for all common encoding formats
    • Recording to disk
  • Cons
    • Expensive
    • Difficult to queue or add playlist of shots
    • Can crash when editing properties of shots while broadcasting
    • Does not integrate with Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder
  • Operates on
    • Windows 7 or later
    • Mac OS El Capital or later
  • Pricing
    • Studio – $495
    • Pro – $995

Open Broadcaster Software

  • Pros
    • Free and open source
    • Easy to use for beginners
    • Unlimited number of sources and scenes
    • Live RTMP streaming to most outlets
    • Supports Intel Quick Sync
    • Can make your own overlays and buttons
    • Can be integrated with most capture card setups
    • Easy to find configuration & troubleshooting guides online
    • Has 20+ plugins that enhance functionality, including an audio mixer plugin
    • Light resource usage
    • Supports NVIDIA’s NVENC
    • Intelligent enough to figure out best stream settings
    • Scene previewing allowed in studio mode
  • Cons
    • No support for IP or network cameras yet
    • Nearly impossible to queue or add playlist of shots
    • Can’t output to multiple streams at once
    • Can’t link to an audio file as a source
    • Uses more CPU
    • Lower quality encoding
  • Operates on
    • Windows Vista or later, OSX, and Linux
  • Price
    • Free

vMIX

  • Pros
    • Support for HD and 4k resolution in paid plans
    • Ability to add video effect to inputs
    • NDI and IP source support
    • Efficient H.264 encoding
    • Transitions and green screen (chroma key) support
    • Remote control via web interface
    • Picture-in-picture and multiview, including overlays
    • vMix Social offers social media integration
    • With vMix Replay, you can select up to four cameras to run a buffer of selected footage, ie sports replays
    • DVD playback
    • Compatible with essentially every file format
    • Live video effects such as zoom, rotate, pan, and crop
    • Support for a touchscreen web interface
    • Graphics accelerated
  • Cons
    • Only operates on Windows
    • Expensive
    • Professional level features are more complex than others, with a steeper learning curve
  • Operates on
    • Windows
  • Pricing
    • Free basic version
    • Basic HD version – $60
    • vMix Pro – $1200

Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder

  • Pros
    • Support for popular codecs including: VP6, H.264, Nellymoser, and MP3, as well as additional code AAD and HE-AAv plugins
    • Support for multiple bitrate encoding, up to three streams at once
    • Auto-adjusted delivery bandwith
    • DVR functionality
    • Auto restart in case of crashing
    • Supported by essentially every live stream video host
    • Minimal setup time with the ability to import XML files into the encoder to connect your software with your video host account
    • Basic, which works for live event productions with basic requirements.
    • Advanced broadcasts with multiple camera feeds and complex workflow will need to look elsewhere*
  • Cons
    • Limited features
    • Not for advanced broadcasts with multiple camera feeds
    • Prone to crashing
  • Operates on
    • Windows and Mac OS
  • Pricing
    • Free

40 Scenarios Where You Need 24/7 Streaming Support

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  1. Your dog eats your cables instead of your kid’s homework.
  2. Your cat knocks your video encoder off the table just to spite you.
  3. Your kid eats your cables and doesn’t do their homework just to spite you.
  4. Your encoder isn’t configured properly.
  5. You aren’t in expert in transcoding, bitrates, video formats, or codecs.
  6. You broadcast a radio show about insomnia in the middle of the night.
  7. You broadcast anytime that’s not 9am – 5pm.
  8. You broadcast on a holiday or weekend.
  9. You don’t have the time to wait 2 to 3 business days to get a reply from the other guys.
  10.  You’re hosting a live stream of the kids’ soccer game and Karen’s mom, Susan, who’s on the PTA, will lose it if there are interruptions.
  11. Slow or interrupted internet speed while broadcasting.
  12. Network congestion.
  13. Karen’s dad is an MMA fighter who is watching the game from elsewhere and the stream isn’t loading for him. He’s very upset.
  14. Buffering, the enemy of all live and pre-recorded video.
  15. Your kid’s team beats Karen’s team, but you can’t pause or rewind or watch it again because you can’t seem to work the nDVR feature.
  16. You’re hosting a live stream for any viewers who you value, but don’t want to risk losing in case there are interruptions.
  17. Software crashes.
  18. Interrupted camera feeds.
  19. Karen’s dad dropkicks your equipment.
  20. Equipment failure in general.
  21. You’re a modest local radio show that broadcasts news and weather but have poor connectivity because you’re in the middle of a hurricane, and you need to tell your listeners that they’re probably experiencing a hurricane.
  22. You’re worried about losing any video or audio content that you broadcast while in poor weather conditions or with poor connectivity.
  23. You’re not in Kansas anymore–you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help setting up so you can stream remotely.
  24. Your dog, Toto, got whisked away in a twister after eating your cables and now you feel guilty and want to put a missing dog pre-roll banner on your videos.
  25. You need help setting up a paywall to be submitted to your kid’s college fund because they keep eating their homework.
  26. You’re in search of a heart, a brain, or courage.
  27. (On second thought, no one can really help you with that.)
  28. You want to start monetizing your videos in general, but don’t know where to start.
  29. You aren’t familiar with VAST or VPAID.
  30. You experience any number of technical problems.
  31. Turning it off and then turning it back on again doesn’t work.
  32. Lightly slapping your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  33. Lightly kicking your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  34. You call the 9-to-5 guys and they ask if you turned it off and then on again, so you smash your equipment to the ground.
  35. Smashing your equipment doesn’t fix it.
  36. You experience sudden changes in audio and video quality and suspect it might be a ghost.
  37. You find out it’s not a ghost, but that still doesn’t solve it.
  38. You need an answer to the ages old question, “Who you gonna call?”
  39. You don’t want to risk losing audience engagement over quality issues.
  40. You want to provide a seamless streaming experience to your audience.

7 Brands That Thrive Using Live Video


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Dunkin’ Donuts

You’re running late in the morning, and want to grab an iced coffee and a quick breakfast to go. If you’re on the East coast and aren’t a huge fan of the Starbucks on every block, you might consider Dunkin’ Donuts (sorry, California). Although donuts may not be huge among millennials—it’s more about cronuts these days—Dunkin’ Donuts has taken advantage of visual media to appeal to those who would rather spend time online than on line. Of course, they hit the big four: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, but they also took to campaigning on platforms like Snapchat and Periscope, all of which have live video features. In 2015, they collaborated with Spotify to host a concert series, which was live streamed on its website and saw success in both driving traffic to the site and selling iced coffee. In another instance, Dunkin’ Donuts live streamed the creation of a donut-themed wedding cake, calling it a test kitchen or sorts, which attracted more than 36,000—all of whom were just watching a cake being baked.

Adidas

Another brand that has found success in incorporating live streaming into digital marketing is Adidas. Its #ThereWillBeHaters campaign started in March 2015 with a live video of James Rodriguez, famed Real Madrid and Colombian national team player, in which he signed a contract extension with the brand. Adidas also hosted similar campaigns with the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Luis Suarez, launching a live stream of the #ThereWillBeHaters short film that same month.

Apple

You know the deal. It started in a garage in Cupertino. Many, many black turtlenecks and white sneakers later, Apple has made its mark as one of the most successful tech innovators ever—in fact, it’s one of the top ten largest companies in the world. As of 2016, their quarterly revenue averaged $46.9 billion. How can one begin to explain Apple’s explosive success and the massive, almost cult-like following it has today? One of the reasons is buzz. Twice a year, they host a live product release that is streamed globally. It attracts millions of viewers, of course. More importantly, it generates the kind of buzz needed to give a product a cracking head start and cutthroat edge in the market, making it a prime example of how the manufacturing of excitement brings tangible results.

BuzzFeed

Remember how BuzzFeed once live streamed a video of some highly qualified fruit scientists exploring how many rubber bands it takes to make a watermelon burst? At the time, it was the most tuned in live video on Facebook and had racked up over 807,000 viewers at its peak. For those who are curious, it took 45 minutes of rubber band wrapping to make the big melon explode. Why on Earth would someone watch a 45-minute stream of this? In one word, momentum. The other 44 minutes of video were leading up to that moment, building tension all throughout, keeping viewers interested.  BuzzFeed isn’t a traditional business that would reap the benefits of launching new products or services on live video, so they rely on advertising and creating fun, exciting, in-the-moment content like this. Clearly, something about this just works: the video now has over 10 million views.

 

Al-Jazeera

Al-Jazeera, one of the most respected sources of (real, not “fake”) news, has utilized video streaming—one of the first news corporations to do so—to stand out among the others in terms of both reach and efficiency. Of the 270 million or so homes around the world that Al-Jazeera reaches, a fairly large number of those are through free online streaming. While this may not seem revolutionary in and of itself, their innovative use of streaming on social media has streamlined the way we get our news—for the better.

Tastemade

Even if you haven’t heard of Tastemade, you’ve probably seen it before, and it chances are that it has made you hungry. Tastemade is an online publication that centers on everything food, from recipes to vlogs to video tutorials on cooking miniature versions of real food. No, really–the Tiny Kitchen series, which consists of using teeny-tiny ingredients to make a real meal, is one of the most successful video ventures from the brand to date. A live version of this series gathered more than 3 million views. Since then, the brand has been exploring live video more and more as a way of drawing social media traffic and engaging with viewers. By doing so, Tastemade combines the visual appeal of food with the immediate appeal of live video, with the end result being something highly watchable that speaks to viewers’ hearts (and stomachs).

GE

In July 2015, multinational corporation GE launched its #DRONEWEEK campaign. No, it’s not what it sounds like—more U.S. drone strikes devastating the Middle East—but it does involve the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles. The GE-engineered drones’ cameras connected to a live broadcast of things like interviews with GE scientists and tours of their different facilities across the country, as well as showcasing of their machinery. The drones flew from coast to coast, and #DRONEWEEK earned a reputation as “Shark Week for science and social video nerds”. GE upped the fan appeal by creating a drone Twitter account to interact with viewers. Once again, a brand successfully married social media and visual digital marketing with the use of live video streaming.

Should You Live Stream Your Wedding?

Imagine this: it’s sometime in the late spring or early summer, the church (or temple, or mosque) bells are ringing, and one of your beloved friends or family members is getting married. Now imagine it on a screen. The happy
couple are exchanging their vows somewhere in another state, but you’re able to bear witness to this touching moment from wherever you are because you couldn’t make it. Or because you’re a jilted ex who wasn’t invited. Either/or.

shutterstock_388636240One might assume that live streaming couldn’t possibly have a strong foothold in the wedding industry, but that’s not true. In fact, it’s been around since live streaming took its first breaths in late 2007. So while
the market for wedding live streaming isn’t new, it has been a steadily rising through the industry ranks among tech-savvy new brides-and-grooms-to-be. And why wouldn’t it? If others can choose to stream the big days in their lives that families and friends don’t want to miss, like graduation ceremonies, it only makes sense to stream the biggest day of your life.

The main reason couples may opt into live streaming their wedding is for the benefit of guests who had no choice but to send back their RSVP with regrets because they are unable to attend. It’s an unfortunate but not uncommon truth: not everyone on your guest list can physically be there, whether it is a friend who cannot afford to attend a destination wedding or and elderly family member with an illness or ailment. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your big day—at least not without the help of a professional streaming service. It’s the next best thing to being there.

The importance of a professional streaming service to ensure that everything goes seamlessly cannot be stressed enough, because your wedding day can be stressful enough as it is. While free streaming services are available for your use and it may be tempting to skimp on this part of your nuptials, this leaves you much more prone to technical errors and quality issues on the day of your wedding. And with pro platforms, you have premium features like password protection, so you can be as exclusive as you like—so that your ex can revel in your happiness (or not). Or, if you’re anything like the royal couple, you can broadcast it to the world and have people talking about that dress for weeks.

So how does it work? It can be as simple as hooking up a video camera and a mic to an encoder and an internet connection. With Primcast’s live event streaming service, you get instant account activation and fully managed setup with remote assistance, and you can broadcast from a laptop or pair a camera with a Cerevo Livehell 2 to broadcast from anywhere. This can be done with 3G or 4G networks as well, meaning you are not limited to the confines of a building with Wi-Fi, so you can have that unique fairytale inspired garden wedding you and millions of others have always dreamed of. And, with features like Primcast’s nDVR, your stream remains as an on-demand video that you can re-watch, rewind, pause, forward, and so on.

It is clear that live streaming is an important up-and-coming player in the $300 billion dollar global wedding industry. In fact, it would not be out of place to say that it will be an expected part of the celebration within the next few years. So, regardless of what role you play on the big day, getting on board with the trend/times can be beneficial. If you’re the videographer, it gives you an edge among the competition because you are offering an exclusive service to clients. If you are a church, you can incorporate it into wedding packages or add it as a bonus to existing streaming services. Lastly, if you are the one getting married, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day, knowing that your most candid, memorable moments will be captured for years to come.

The Psychological Reason People Love Live Streams

If you haven’t heard of it by now, it’s time that you do: FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is an epidemic. It’s certainly no swine flu, which, speaking from experience, is no fun at all, but it is a widespread phenomenon that has noteworthy psychosocial effects on people. As shutterstock_434264908weird as it sounds, though, there are some
upsides to FOMO, one of them being that it has fostered a booming industry for live event streaming.

To better understand the appeal of live streaming in relation to FOMO, we need to understand why the human body triggers this kind of response in the first place, and to do that, we must go back to ancient times. Is Krog in the cave next door throwing a cave party without me? Do all the other dinosaurs not like me? OK, maybe not that ancient—but you get the picture.

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Anita Sanz, FOMO is a very, very old fear being triggered by a new stimulus: social media. Sanz claims that it began as a survival instinct of sorts, considering that at one point our survival as individuals within a tribe and as a species hinged on our being aware of threats both to ourselves and to the larger group.

“To be ‘in the know’ when we roamed around in small groups was critical to survival,” said Sanz on Quora. “To not be aware of a new food source, for example, meant you literally missed out on something that could mean the difference between life and death.”

Of course, Sanz recognizes that the way we keep each other in the know of important information and potential sources of danger has dramatically evolved since then. Today, we use forms of communication like TV, newspapers, the internet, and last but certainly not least, social media.

So, it makes sense that feeling like we’re missing out leaves an important enough impression to incite a reaction from us. It is literally hardwired into our brains. This is not to say that not making it to a music festival you’re seeing all over Facebook and Twitter is a matter of life or death, but for many people, social media is how they connect to their community, so it becomes a social lifeline of sorts. As we become increasingly aware of what the people around us are doing—often in real time and at hyper-speed—we don’t want to feel excluded.

This has not gone unnoticed by the big names in business and entertainment. In fact, they even incorporate peoples’ fear of missing out into their promotional strategies. If they’ve got a major live event coming up, like a concert, they may restrict access after the live stream of the concert ends. This means that if they don’t join in the moment, they miss out. And what if they miss out on something really, really good? It’s the “what if” that appeals to the FOMO in us. This has been duly noted and utilized by concert presenters like LiveNation and AEG.

Part of what makes live streaming so versatile, though, is that it can also ease peoples’ FOMO. According to a study by Eventbrite, 69% of millennials experience FOMO when they can’t attend something that their family or friends are going to. They might not be able to attend because of finances, distance, physical disabilities, etc. Whatever the case, live streaming allows them to really feel included and be a part of the event. And this is beneficial for brands, too: 67% of viewers who live stream an event are more likely to buy a ticket to that event or a similar one post-stream. Don’t underestimate millennials—they would rather spend money on experiences, like concerts, festivals, sports or parties, instead of buying tangible products. And aren’t experiences the most valuable thing of all?

The FOMO epidemic extends past concerts and festivals. According to Facebook’s own data, people comment ten times more on Facebook Live videos than regular videos. People are also watching these videos for longer, spending three times as much time watching Live videos as they do on-demand. BuzzFeed once live streamed a video of two people attaching rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. It had 807,000 viewers at the end of its 45 minute stream.

Why do people even want to watch rubber balloons obliterate a watermelon, you ask? Nobody wanted to miss the moment that fruit finally went kaboom. The other 44 minutes of that stream was just a buildup to that sweet, seedy moment the watermelon burst. It was gratifying, and social media has kind of coddled us into a state of instant gratification. According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, we navigate the web in a series of dopamine loops.

Said Weinschenk, “With the Internet, Twitter, and texting you now have almost instant gratification of your desire to seek. Want to talk to someone right away? Send a text and they respond in a few seconds. Want to look up some information? Just type your request into Google… Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more.” With live video, you have an environment that welcomes instant reactions and with which you can provide instant feedback. In other words, the process of watching a live event is rich in dopamine.

We gravitate towards live content because it is literally in our nature. We don’t want to miss out on critical information. We want to feel included. We crave suspense. We want to instant gratification. With live content, what you see is what you get, and there is a raw, visceral appeal in that, and this is something our psyche understands.