Hello AV & IT Professionals!
Live streaming is becoming ridiculously easy to do which is of course a good thing for everyone! But it begs the question: Why are so many public conferences still held in private meeting spaces? Shouldn't public organizations be investigating ways to engage the public? Wouldn't it be great if the conference Q&A session was available online? The biggest challenge is for most conferences is lack of experience live streaming and the simpl the "how to" knowledge for non-technical people can be hard to find. Hopefully we can help with that...
In this blog post we will provide a quick overview of how to “Livestream a Conference“ separated in to four parts: Video Set Up, Audio Set Up, Streaming and Recording. We will outline a few “Recipes for Success“ and straight forward approaches to set up the necessary audio and video connections for a high quality live stream and recording of your event.
PART 1 Conference Streaming: The Video Set Up
Today there are a variety of hardware and software solutions available for live streaming and recording video/audio. Some noteworthy solutions to review are from manufactures such as: Matrox, NewTek, vMix, and Wirecast. For this guide we will assume you have selected a software based live streaming system using a Windows computer as your hardware interface. Below you can see a simple set up with a 1-2 USB cameras connected to a Dell Laptop along with a Ethernet network connection to the internet for streaming. For longer cable runs you may want to consider HD-SDI with a HD-SDI capture device or hardware system.
Part 2 Conference Streaming: Audio Set Up
Audio is always the most important part of video production. In the diagram to the below you can see we have added (3) USB audio conferencing microphones. For larger conferences many spaces have a audio mixer with the ability to mix together XLR microphones. If you already have a audio mixer you can take a single mixed audio feed from the mixer and convert it to USB with a product such as the Focusrite Scarlet IO.
However you get your audio into your system remember to use the 3:1 rule. The 3:1 Rule of Microphone Placement states that each microphone should be three times the distance from the first mic that the first mic is from the source. This is known as the “3:1 Rule of Microphone Placement.” An example: If the first mic is 1 foot from a source, the second mic should be placed 3 feet from the first mic.
PART 3 Conference Streaming – Streaming
Choosing a live streaming service is becoming easier and easier to do as free and paid services become widely available around the world. YouTube Live is perhaps the most popular live streaming CDN followed by Facebook Live. Once you have determined the live streaming service you would like to use, you will need to gather the RTMP streaming information. This information will include two parts: a streaming destination and a unique streaming key. You can use this information with the software/hardware system you are using to stream to your content delivery network.
PART 4 Conference Streaming – Recording
Most systems now provide the ability to live stream and record at the same time. This approach does add processing power requirements to your system but increases in compression has reduced these limitations significantly. It’s always best practice set up your system so that all sources are set to the same resolution. Therefore you should record, stream and ingest video all at the same resolution. You can choose from various recording formats including MP4, AVI and MOV (MP4 will have the smallest file sizes).