Online video is everywhere, so broadcasting All Staff Meetings and Town Halls should be easier than ever (in theory!), but in my experience, nothing in live broadcasting is ever 100% straightforward. Live streaming an event requires a lot of collaboration and careful preparation, and, of course, solid technical infrastructure from a trusted partner.
Wherever we are streaming to, or from, we approach the production with thoroughness and attention to detail. Audio, graphics, stream testing, timezones, security: all these elements need consideration and the same lessons on live production checks apply whichever streaming platform you choose. Streaming through a custom built video player, via Periscope, Facebook – or any streaming platform – comes with its own challenges. And in our experience, there’s a few common denominators when it comes to streaming for Internal Comms.
Tip 1: Test before you go on-site
The sensitivity of some employee announcements can mean there’s lots of last-minute changes and moving parts. Our advice would be to get as much of the tech as possible tested in advance of potential live dates, and have a clear plan of action as dates get confirmed. This is because your livestream partner will probably need to connect up with AV and ICT support (and local production crew if linking up different countries). When it comes to live broadcasting, most of the work should happen in pre-production planning, so things like testing all offices can view the livestream is something you can do well in advance.
Tip 2: Stay flexible
Notwithstanding the above, we all know how last minute business updates can be. Flexibility, back up plans, and a calm approach are essential. Make sure you have the ability to update graphics and slides at the last minute; to add another presenter to the audio set up, or replay the recorded livestream swiftly for any offices which couldn’t join live.
Tip 3: Push for quality
IC livestream budgets aren’t always huge. This doesn’t mean you can’t push for quality. HD video is pretty much a given these days but making sure lighting and audio is spot on makes a huge difference. Beyond a simple feed live from a smartphone or webcam, it’s possible to scale up to professional production including VT, graphics, slides, web-based demos and graphic overlays. This kind of production means you can deliver a polished presentation that should really make an impact with employees and improve their experience of company wide communications.
Tip 4: Two cameras are better than one
And three are better than two. When you are broadcasting an event it is impractical to put your camera right in front of the stage as you will impede everyone’s sight lines. So you will want to be further back on a long zoom. This means pre-planning your shots and setting up for a wide shot that shows the entire stage and some audience and then close ups for the lectern and for interviews. Cameras on sturdy tripods are a must, but you can use robot-controlled as an option which avoids having intrusive cameramen distracting attention in the body of the hall. But do not skimp on good crew; a good vision mixer is essential; a trained engineer who can select and mix through the best angles to get the story across that is unfurling onstage.
Tip 5: Don’t forget your remote viewers
Before the event and during breaks your audience are going to be looking at an empty room or blank stage. So why not set up a studio in the reception area where you can catch passing delegates and speakers and interview them about key points that they have made onstage, canvas opinion from delegates on record take outs from the event. And you can field experts to answer any questions that have come up on your social feeds from remote attendees.
At Kinura, we’ve worked with ARM since 2014, supporting Employee Communications and Financial Results webcasts from global offices. With over 30 offices worldwide, they have a strong need to livestream meetings to keep employees and investors up to date. We’ve produced their live streams from Cambridge, Trondheim, San Jose and Austin, USA. Each event has had its own challenges and we are always on hand for support. Channel 4 recently started working with us for streaming staff meetings from London, and although the event format remains similar, we make the same tech checks each time. Nothing is left to chance.
by Sarah Platt, Kinura
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