Do you work in education? Check out our newly launched Teradek Education page designed for schools looking to try live streaming. We’ll walk you through the steps, and even offer a test run with our live streaming equipment, no strings attached.
From sports games to assemblies to graduations, there’s so much going on at your school. You want a way to bring that content to everyone in your community. There’s no better way than through live streaming!
Most people have smartphones or devices that can access live streams from anywhere in the world, and with so many platforms to choose from at our fingertips, tuning in to a live stream is easier than finding a program on TV. It’s no wonder that so many K-12 schools and colleges have begun implementing live streams into their events in some way. From sports games to recitals to school district meetings, it’s an easy way to keep local communities engaged with the school’s happenings, and put your school at the forefront of your district.
So what’s the best way to do it? Here’s a list of best practices for ensuring you deliver top-notch live streams from your school every time.
1. Use An Ethernet Connection
When it comes to live streaming, nothing is more important than the strength of your internet connection. It determines how good your video quality is and whether or not your video stays solid throughout the duration of the graduation. And on your students’ special day, the last thing you want is a bad internet connection.
WiFi is a great resource for our phones and laptops, but when it comes to streaming, a single drop (even a split second) means your stream will freeze or drop. The best way around this is by streaming via an Ethernet line. Being wired might be inconvenient in certain areas, but wireless has a much higher chance of dropping.
2. Run A Speed Test
Are you streaming from a new location? Run a speed test (www.speedtest.net) there and see what upload speeds you get. You want to make sure that you have enough speed (bitrate) to achieve the video quality you want. For a closer look at resolutions & bitrates, check out our guide on What is the Optimal Bitrate for Your Resolution?
3. Network Bonding For Outside Areas
Broadcasters follow the action, and for schools that could mean outdoor events or away games. The challenge is, you don’t really know the internet situation out there, but you still want to deliver something to viewers. So instead of hoping for an Ethernet line, use 4G LTE modems.
Assuming you have an encoder like the VidiU Go (one of our free trial devices on the Teradek Education page), you can connect multiple 4G LTE modems and combine their internet sources into a single, robust pipeline for streaming. This means you can stream from just about anywhere with 4G signal including packed stadiums and remote areas.
Tom White is the Instructor of Digital Media at Morgan County High School in Georgia. For his school’s boys championship basketball game, he used VidiU Go’s network bonding feature to stream high quality video inside the Macon Coliseum, a venue notorious for being a 4G dead zone. Check out how he did it in our blog post:
4. Add Graphics and Special Effects
A plain live stream doesn’t say much about the event you’re capturing. By adding in some special effects, you can give that soccer game a much more TV broadcast feel. To do this, you’ll need a switcher.
There are lots of switchers to choose from ranging from hardware to software. Schools with larger budgets might afford a Datavideo switcher, while schools with tighter budgets can try out software solutions like OBS or vMix on computers. All of these switchers allow for adding special effects like school logos, pre-recorded videos, and more.
If you’re using our VidiU Go, we have a free switcher app called Live:Air Action that lets you do all of this straight from an iPad. Add graphics, lower-thirds, roll commercials, and even use the iPad’s rear camera to capture the action.
Daron Connelly, instructor of TV Broadcasting and Video Production at Corner Canyon High School in Utah, uses Live:Air Action’s rear camera along with a VidiU Pro and a Sony AX2000 camcorder to give his viewers 2 camera angles to watch their sports games on. Check it out here:
5. Multiple Cameras for Dynamic Angles
Ever watched a live stream from just a single angle? If you did, you probably didn’t stay for long. Multiple cameras are always better than one, and schools can do it too without breaking the bank. Just like special effects, a switcher also solves this issue by allowing for cutting to different cameras at any time during the live stream. The only challenge then is having several cameras in your arsenal. If you don’t, we highly recommend checking out Live:Air Action and Live:Air Remote.
Live:Air Remote is a free app available on iOS and Android that turns your smartphone/tablet into a secondary camera source. With Live:Air Action, every Remote in the same WiFi network will automatically pop up on your iPad, allowing you to switch between your them at the press of a button. This allows you to capture the action from more angles and keep your viewers captivated. The best part? It’s 100% free.
6. Get Close-Ups and Wides
So you have high quality video with a solid internet pipeline. How do you take your content to the next level? By changing up the camera angles. If it’s a basketball game, bring cameras under the hoops to capture the moment a team scores. Or if it’s graduation day, set up cameras near the stage so you can capture students as they get their diplomas. Dynamic angles keep your streams interesting so viewers stay tuned in much longer.
7. Be Aware Of Facebook’s Limits
Most schools stream to Facebook simply because it’s the easiest way to reach interested viewers. But Facebook also places limits on the streams. Plan to have the stream automatically ended at exactly 4 hours in because Facebook doesn’t allow streaming past that time limit. Also, at the moment the max resolution for Facebook is 720p, which is a step down from the 1080p many are used to nowadays. If Facebook detects copyrighted music, the stream is automatically cut as well.
Evaluate whether the added reach from Facebook is worth the limits in place. Or if you’re looking for an alternative, YouTube doesn’t have these streaming limitations.
8. Learn More At Our Teradek Education Page
Teradek Education is our way of bringing live streaming to schools. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to enhance your school’s live production, we have the tools to help. Simply reach out to us and we’ll guide you through the steps, or apply for a VidiU Go demo with no strings attached.