Digital Marketers Guide to Producing Live Webcasts

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What begins as a discussion about B2B applications of online video quickly spirals into a geek-out session about how to create live webcasts, online video streaming, production, editing, search engine optimization, archiving and file management.  

If you’re interested in coming up to speed on the tools and technologies available for producing live video streams, this episode featuring online video specialist Steve Garfield, author of the new book “Get Seen” is for you.

01:04 — Steve Garfield explains when it makes sense for B2B marketers to use video, and when doesn’t it, and according to Steve, many organizations have become interested in the use of online video to introduce visitors to their websites to the people and culture inside companies.

02:11 –  For watching larger news events, Steve still prefers television. But the use of short, bite-sized video clips on an organization’s website can be very effective.  In terms of the state of online video, Steve says we’ve come a long way from the days when excessive buffering caused such extreme latency that videos were unwatchable.

04:09 — The majority of consulting work that Steve provides today involves training people within organizations to use online video equipment, editing software, streaming services and video aggregation services.  In the past, organizations had brought in huge production companies to create their video but according to Steve, “It just became a huge production.” Today, they are looking for solutions that will allow them to communicate autonomously with video.  

05:05 – Common applications of online video for B2B marketers is the use of video to show what it’s like at a product rollout or “about us” type of videos that seek to humanize an organization, but since it’s easier to watch than it is to read, the use of online video on an organization’s website can be a competitive differentiator.  

06:50 — Steve discusses how video could be used by doctors, professional service providers and even hairstyles on their websites to give you a chance to get a feel for their personalities when you’re considering who to hire.

08:27 — Steve talks about the concept of  situating all the video in a specific section of an organization’s website, using Channel 9 as an example, where Robert Scoble provided the video component of that early, branded social network.  But he also mentions the Zappos website, which provides access to videos from product pages, rather than in a separate, video section of the website. Steve declined to give exact numbers, but suggested that the use of video can significantly increase e-commerce transactions.

11:53 —  Even enough your video is just talking heads, the benefit is that your audience gets the chance to attach a face to a voice. Initially, particularly online, someone may launch the video and just watch it for little while, and then put the window in the background and multitask while listening only to the audio.

In retrospect, as I write these show notes, I can see Steve’s point because particularly when it comes to business-to-business communications, there is real value in being able to recognize someone’s face after you’ve been listening to them online.

12:37 — Video is an excellent way to get to know someone a much deeper level than through just audio and certainly from their text.  Businesses are looking for ways to try and connect with their customers and video provides a practical solution for making that happen.  

15:03 — A discussion about the benefits of live streaming online video, as opposed to video on demand, for extending the reach of live events.   16:39 — At the bare minimum, all you really need is an Internet connection, a laptop with a built-in WebCam and a Ustream or LiveStream account.

Steve talks about a new premium application from UStream called UStream Producer that runs locally on the Mac or PC which provides better streaming video quality which he used at WCBS-TV in New York to produce a live stream of his appearance on a recent episode of their Saturday morning show.

The UStream desktop application also records and archives your video And provides options for live text chat and social media sharing.  

19:13 — From a gear standpoint when it comes to choosing a camera that can be mounted on a tripod and used for streaming, Steve recommends the Canon HV20 or Canon HV30 with a Manfrotto Tripod. For microphones, Steve likes the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB mic and lavalieres he recommends the Audio-Technica ATR3350.

The reason Steve likes the Canons is because many of the streaming sites require a FireWire connection, and most cameras have essentially replaced FireWire with SD cards and USB 2.0 ports, which is a file transfer activity.  

21:30 —  Using UStream Producer mentioned earlier, it is possible to set up multiple camera’s and create a live stream that cuts seamlessly from one camera perspective to another, however the free version only accommodates a single camera, while the premium version of the app accommodates multiple cameras.

If your computer has two FireWire connections, the recommendation is to install an external FireWire card to bring multiple cameras into your computer.  

22:25 — Using LiveStream, which is Ustream’s competitor, multiple cameras on different computers can log into a master account which can be out a live stream from any video camera that is currently logged in to the master account.

This service also allows you to bring in YouTube and other on-demand video sources. This can be achieved with the free version of LiveStream.  

24:09 — If you’re using a Mac, and want to do screen capture, Steve recommends the new version of QuickTime screen capture that’s built into OS 10. however, if what you wanted to is cut to a computer screen in the context of a live stream, that can be achieved with UStream Producer or LiveStream.

27:12 — Steve and Eric have a pretty hard-core geek out discussion of how the logistics behind live streaming a panel with four people, all mike of wireless level layers, and multiple cameras.

28:52 — Steve mentions NewTek’s TriCaster, which is the coup de grace high-end solution used by a lot of professional production companies for producing live video feeds.

33:09 — A discussion about the bandwidth requirements for sustaining a watchable video stream online.

36:29 — Whether it’s a live stream or more feature oriented video content, organizations have the opportunity to manage viewer expectations of production quality.  

Nevertheless, the dear required to produce an exceptional video stream online has come down in price so significant way that it is possible to create a video stream that is as good as could be produced with professional gear using store-bought, consumer grade equipment.

38:43 — The great thing about the Mac, according to Steve, is that they will pretty much play in the light at it any video codec. For editing, Steve uses iMovie 09 which supports QuickTime and AVCHD. 

Before you purchase a camera, Steve recommends opening the software on your computer and checking to see what type of video codec it supports. As a last ditch effort, it is possible to download applications which will convert codecs, but of course, that adds another step to the process and decreases productivity.  

42:09 — The real challenge of producing HD video at this point, is the file size and processing power required to edit HD clips. On cameras that provide an option, Steve typically sets his camera to shoot in 720P over 1080P, just to reduce the file size and make them easier to deal with.  

44:29 — Storage requirements for archiving online video.  

45:38 — Video archive management tips.

48:09 — The use of titles, transcripts and metadata to search engine optimize online video. The use of MacSpeech Dictate to create text transcripts of video files.

As a footnote, the show notes were written using MacSpeech Dictate, but rather than use the program to create a raw text transcripts of the actual words spoken, I prefer to editorialize and summarize what was said to make it easier for the reader to get the gist of the discussion if your words.

50:30 — If organizations are interested in booking Steve Garfield for an in-house online video training session, visit www.SteveGarfield.com or follow him on twitter @SteveGarfield.

52:43 — End 

Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

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