Live streaming for the first time

My live streaming premier was a week ago at a company event in Helsingborg. The event consisted of two different seminars with a length of 45 minutes each with an one hour break between.

Preparations

A week before the event, I schedules two different events with Google Hangouts on Air, wrote some text and uploaded an image as illustration.

On the evening before, I checked all my own equipment and verified that everything was working as planned. I also checked the venue the day before to find out lightning conditions, where to place camera, where to put the equipment,, where the power outlets were located and bandwith and avaliability of the internet connection.

Event

Arriving 1 hour 45 minutes before the first session, I started to setup my stuff. After talking to the girls from the venue about mics and sound, I found out that I had wrong cables with me. Their output was 3.5 a male stereo-jack and I didn't had the correct adapters in my bag. Had to jump into the car one hour before the event and drive to a music store to buy an extra set of cables. Luckily, they had a suitable adapter and an extension cable and I was back in twenty minutes. My Plan B was to use a Zoom H2 recorder as a adapter between two male connectors. Lessons learned, you always lack a cable.

Before the show started, we added a presentation line for each participant during the whole session, but we should probably have switched them off after a while. Lesson learned: Use one person to control sound and video-mix and one person per camera.

We started the live streaming 10 minutes before and checked with another computer that we were on-line. If you are using a mobile phone, you need to have Google+ installed. Lessons learned: Publish link to streaming-address on normal webpage 15 minutes before going live.

The streaming went rather well, based on our preconditions, only with the exception of a noticeable buzz in the sound during the show. When applying a 50 Hz noise filter did it go away.  Interference from the unbalanced cables to the mixer was probably the cause. Lessons learned: Use real time noise filters and/or balanced cables. 

With only one camera and no extra lighting was this more or less the best we could do. 

Post production

Afterwards, I did a short cut in the beginning of each session on YouTube to remove the first 10 minutes before each event started and another cut in the end. It's not possible to make a cut in the middle.

A few days later, I make a re-mixed version of each based on the locally recorded material (SD card and computer) with new titles in the first few seconds only. The sound was adjusted so that the 50 Hz noise was removed and a bit of compression. This version is 1080p compared to the 720p that was done during live-streaming.    

Equipment

The equipment I used during the evening was as follows: 

Video

    * Sony HDR-CX740 videocamera with HDMI-cable
    * Power adapter to camera
    * Sony ECM CG-50 shotgun microphone
    * Lexxar 16 Gb SD-card
    * Manfrotto video tripod and videohead

Sound

  •  Mackie ProFX 12 mixer with USB cable
  • Sony headphones with extra extension cables
  • Sony stereo microphone (test purposes only)

Mic input from presenters were taken from the venue's equipment. 

Hardware/software

  • MacBook Pro 13" with SSD and internal harddisk
  • Black Magic Design HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter and 2 meters cable
  • Black Magic Design software (test purposes only)
  • Google Hangouts on Air via Safari / Chrome browser
  • Hijack Pro for recording of sound from mixer as a separate stream.
  • Local wi-fi access (4-6 Mbps) 
  • Mifi-router with 4G SIM-card (backup purpose)

Live-streaming is regulated in Sweden, see http://www.radioochtv.se/tillstand-och-registrering/internet/webbsandningar/ (in Swedish)

Next live event for me to participate in is now scheduled to 2nd of May in Stockholm. Stay tuned for more information in a few days.