Having worked on a number of high-profile live streaming projects, we thought we’d put together a blog on points to consider when professional live streaming.
The first point is to treat the stream as a broadcast. One of the mistakes that people often make is thinking that live streaming is a quick and easy recording that you can do using a smartphone but this approach loses far too much production quality. From the very start, the project should be treated with the same respect as any live TV show, and to achieve that planning is key. We plan a live stream project exactly the same way as we plan a traditional OB broadcast project. We spec the kit in the same way, the lighting, how we’ll work at the venue site and that enables us to deliver a quality live stream.
To maximise the planning process, production teams should be involved and budgets agreed. Some low budget jobs have one engineer vision mixing, streaming and delivering the content, which, if you want a quality project, is too much for one person to do in a very short space of time. The minute you start adding people to the production process you see an instant improvement in the live stream.
You can use the same technologies to deliver a stream to Facebook or an uplink to a Network television master control room. This means you can deploy solutions faster with greater reliability. From our perspective the concept of streaming and broadcast delivery have become synonymous and go hand-in-hand.
For big broadcasters like ITV – as well as offering traditional broadcast connectivity on some projects – we’re seeing an increase in IP delivery, with solutions from manufacturers like LiveU, TVU Networks and AVIWEST.
A classic example of this is last year’s This Morning Live Wedding project, which we broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall. We supplied ITV with a multi-camera fly-away solution that included six HD fibre camera channels, and a fly-away control area with positions for the ITV Production team and Trickbox engineers. We also managed all the connectivity for the live broadcast, which included three independent circuits to ITV (a main and two backups).
We’ve noticed that the lines between broadcast and live streaming have blurred. We live streamed the Rated Awards 2018, hosted by Mo Gilligan and Julie Adenuga at the Eventim Apollo in London, to YouTube Live. The edit was recut and aired on Channel 4 a few days later. The audience for this event is Generation-Z who don’t watch much TV and event organisers like this are ensuring that they provide the budget to meet the needs of this demographic.
It will be interesting to see how live streaming continues to develop over the next couple of years. As social media departments increase their video budgets, productions will continue to improve and the volume of content will grow, which is exciting for us.