As live streaming grows, live production companies are springing up to meet the demands of many brands and organizations that want to publish content to their fans. Streaming offers many benefits that traditional TV broadcast can’t achieve, including not being limited to certain geographical areas or cable subscribers, and being much more affordable to deliver. It’s an excellent way to reach viewers, but it has to be done right.
Live streaming has inevitably been met with growing pains. We’ve all tuned in to our social media and seen the occasional delayed video, artifacts, audio desync, and some streams just outright dropping. And this isn’t limited to your friends’ shaky smartphone live streams either. Even high-level, multi-cam productions from major brands occasionally encounter same issues. That’s why some organizations have been reluctant to give live streaming a chance.
The reality is, an Internet connection is reliable MOST of the time, but not ALL of the time. One of the biggest hurdles of streaming is getting a solid Internet connection that can publish the stream reliably. It might sound like a simple concept, but when you’re working with clients, a most-of-the-time Internet connection isn’t going to cut it. This is even harder when you factor in streaming from locations that have little or no Internet. How do you meet your clients’ needs?
Ground Floor Video is a business-to-business production company based near Atlanta, Georgia. Luke Livingston, Founder and Director of the company, has worked in television since the 1980s. He shares how he guarantees solid Internet no matter where his clients want to be located.
Challenges With Live
“Most of my productions are in the field with little to no Internet connection. We could be outdoors in a city, on a rooftop, moving place to place, etc. So our setups need to be lightweight, run-and-gun-friendly flight packs that we could set up quickly and get a reliable signal up for our clients.”
The biggest challenge of going live is your Internet. Clients want to stream the highest quality video possible to reach as many viewers as possible, but they aren’t conscious of the factors that will affect these outcomes such as location, budgets and Internet. They just want you to get the job done, so the solutions you bring are up to you.
“I was hired to broadcast a Midterm Elections program by the Citizens of the American Republic, a nonprofit that brought on Steve Bannon as the host. We ran for 5 hours from the rooftop of a building in Washington D.C. On election nights like this, different media companies take over the rooftops of buildings in the city so they get a beautiful view of the US Capitol dome in the background. On a roof to our left was Fox News, and on our right was One America News Network.”
“We used 4 Panasonic P2 camcorders to do a multicam setup - all wired SDI into the main switcher - with a Panasonic GH5 getting a static shot of the Capitol Hill dome and a Mevo camera getting wides of the results watch party and sending feeds remotely to our work station.”
“Our station consisted of software switchers Livestream Studio and OBS, where our team added graphics and populated election results as they came in and piped them into the main election result graphic feeds. The final video was streamed to Core, where we published it to 4 Facebook Pages, a YouTube channel, and a couple of RTMP feeds.”
- 4x Panasonic P2 cameras: 3 on set, 1 on update desk
- 1x Panasonic GH5 for static shot of Capitol Hill dome
- 1x Mevo for wide shot of results watch party
- Windows PC w/ 4x SDI inputs (Blackmagic Decklink) + 1x SDI output
- Livestream Studio 5
- Teradek Bond
- 200’ Ethernet cable from Comcast router
- T-Mobile LTE USB modem
- Verizon 4G USB modem
- Google Nexus w/ Google Fi hotspot tethering
- Teradek Core
“We had poor wired Internet on the roof, so we used a Bond as the encoder downstream of our switcher. I was able to combine four different connections: a 200’ Ethernet cable from Comcast router, a T-Mobile 4G USB modem, a Verizon 4G USB modem and a Google Fi Nexus phone tethered. These broadband connections allowed us to create solid streams to all of my clients’ destinations without a single issue for the entire 5½ hours we were on air.”
“I use the Bond/Core combo for streaming almost every gig. A lot of my streaming clients are grassroots political organizations who reach viewers via social media, which means smaller budgets and smaller crews. The Teradek gear allows us to achieve the higher-end news look that my clients affordably, especially with the new Core pricing structure. We’re really swamped during election season, but when the action dies down in December, there’s not as much demand. We just pay for the data we use.”
“Everyone wants to go to Facebook Live these days, more than they want to go to TV or even YouTube. Social media is a big driver for content, and smartphones make viewing these videos easier than ever before. What this means is smaller organizations can now reach their viewers without the cost of traditional TV, but still achieving the same quality as the major news networks. We want these companies to succeed, so we need the right gear to do it.”
“Our streams can be published to anywhere straight from the cloud, which is exactly what I was looking for when I subscribed to Core. I could access our streams and route them to their destinations, switch RTMP sources, and encode from anywhere in the world. Sometimes, due to austere conditions on site, we send raw camera RTMP via Core to my studio so we can add graphics and stream from there. Whatever our clients’ needs are, we’re able to achieve them with Teradek.”
See more of Luke’s live work at GroundFloorVideo.com.