Do you want to reach a larger audience with your event? Live streaming is the easiest and fastest way. Increase the engagement of your audience and build relationships with your target group by live streaming an event.
Table of contents
- Why should you live stream an event?
- What kind of events can you live stream?
- How to set up a live stream for your event
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most event organisers didn’t think about hybrid and virtual events. As circumstances changed, interest in live streaming grew. Today, live streamed events are among the most valuable measures marketing teams can take.
If you haven’t started live streaming yet, now is the time. Even as the impact of the pandemic recedes and events can once again be held in person, events are being broadcast online so larger audiences can participate. Live streaming an event dramatically increases its impact and helps your brand connect with people you couldn’t reach before.
Why should you live stream an event?
Live streaming takes advantage of two established marketing channels: live events and social content. The benefits of live streaming are:
- A sense of urgency: With live-streamed content, viewers have only a short window of time to watch and engage with the video. This sense of urgency creates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and entices people to watch your live event.
- Greater reach: You can showcase your event on social media to many more people than you could accommodate in a venue, whether with COVID restrictions or not. With the ability to stream on multiple sites at once, you can increase your viewership even further.
- Cost efficiency: Your event live stream can be as advanced and expensive as a television broadcast, but it can also be as cheap and authentic as a stream from your smartphone. Live streaming is so flexible that it fits into any budget.
What kind of events can you live stream?
Live streaming creates more engagement without compromising the original purpose of the event. On the contrary, it contributes to the overall goals of your event. Here are just a few ideas of how you can take advantage of live streaming:
- Conferences: Conferences with interviews, panel discussions, or other events on a fixed stage are very suitable for a live stream. You can answer questions from the audience, which increases engagement.
- Product launches: Live streaming can be an effective sales tool. The immediacy of live streaming a product launch is a boost to sales in the first week. Customers can ask you questions about your product or request demonstrations in real-time.
- Trade shows: Trade shows and exhibitions don’t seem to be transferable to an online format because hundreds of exhibitors set up their booths in the same location. However, exhibitors can go virtual and run online stands in addition to their physical ones, allowing visitors to interact with their products and services online too.
- Concerts and festivals: Imagine how many more fans can experience their favourite artists if you live stream a concert or music festival online! You can sell discounted tickets for the live stream to generate more revenue and cover the cost of filming and live streaming equipment.
- Internal events: Successfully live streamed events don’t always have to be public. If you work for a large company, you can stream staff meetings, training sessions, and team-building events for your employees.
You can live stream anything from a team meeting to a Q&A session and turn it into an engaging event that brings you closer to your business goals. All you need is some creativity and the knowledge of how to live stream an event.
How to set up a live stream for your event
A very simple live streaming setup comprises several components, including video and audio equipment, video mixers, encoders, and the internet platform for output. For each of these components, you can choose between several options depending on the type of event, your budget, and the venue. Let’s start with the most important component: the internet connection.
1. Check upload speed and reliability
The internet connection you use plays a crucial role in the success of your live stream. An unreliable connection or low upload speed may prevent your live stream from being viewed.
Check the internet speed at the venue. This is the actual upload speed of the venue’s internet connection, not the stated bandwidth. The speed should be 35% to 40% higher than the bit rate you need, but at least 7 Mbps.
If your venue does not have the required upload speed, there are two things you can do:
- Reduce the quality of your stream.
- Set up your own network.
If you choose the latter, you have the option of setting up your own internet connection via cellular. This is the solution we use for almost all projects. We build a 5G or 4G internet connection and are thus independent of the network infrastructure on site.
We would still like to warn you that many Wi-Fi networks cannot provide the necessary speed, especially if there is an audience on-site in the same room.
2. Choose your cameras
For a small event at your company that takes place behind the scenes, a smartphone may be sufficient for streaming. If you can cover the entire event in a single shot, you can use just a static camera. However, your event will look better if you use a second camera for on-site shots. Even for small venues and events where only one person is speaking, you will need more than one camera.
In general, live events require more sophisticated video equipment to create live stream content. Consider which transmission path you want to use to transmit multiple camera signals. Additionally, if you plan to play a PowerPoint presentation or videos during the event, work out how these will be live streamed.
We use HDMI, SDI (professional version of HDMI) and latency-free wireless connections for our video cameras. In our standard projects, we connect up to seven different video sources (cameras, video sources, presentations, etc.) With HDMI wireless links, while these are very convenient, consumer devices (under CHF 1,000) have a video latency of 120-250ms. This means that the sound and the video from the camera no longer arrive at the same time. One example of how desynchronisation presents itself is the mouth movement no longer matching the spoken language.
3. Choose your audio equipment
For audio, you have several options. Avoid streaming audio from your camera’s built-in microphone at all costs. Internal microphones are not of the same quality as external microphones, and your audience will expect good quality audio.
Audiences are more likely to forgive poor video quality than poor audio quality.
If the venue has a sound system, the sound technician should be able to give you access to the master sound. If there are frequent speakers or bands at the venue, this should not be a problem. Keep in mind that live streaming requires “ambient sound”, i.e. your virtual viewers will also want to hear the clapping of the audience on-site.
If there is no main sound system, you will need to bring external microphones. However, if you do not connect the microphones to the cameras, you will need another solution to synchronise the sound into your live stream.
Depending on the project setup, we either bring microphones for the room sound or we bring microphone radio links that we can combine with lavalier or headset microphones so that each person speaking in the live stream has their own microphone and is well understood.
4. Use the right video mixer and encoder
With mixers and encoders, you have two options: hardware and software. Hardware encoders tend to be more expensive, but you don’t have to use a computer for them. Software encoders cost less, but you need a powerful computer to run them on.
The good thing about software encoders is that they are free. OBS Studio, probably the most popular encoder, is free and supports multiple camera inputs.
Software encoders and mixers are also prone to problems. An unforeseen update can interrupt the stream, or the computer’s hardware is not fast enough after all, or overheats. Hardware mixers are usually more reliable and produce better video quality.
We rely on video mixers from Blackmagic Design. We have these mixers already installed in a pre-configured housing, ready to stream within a few minutes.
5. Choose good lighting
Video cameras need amazingly bright light for the resulting video image to look good. If you use cheap LED lights or neon tubes, your participants will appear in very strange colours on the video image.
If the live stream cannot be produced in a studio or event location with suitable video lighting, we bring our own studio lights to illuminate the scene.
6. Choose the right streaming platform
If your business already has a social media presence, you can leverage it by streaming on that platform, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.
Livestreaming platforms are suitable for different types of content and target groups:
- Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are aggregation platforms that appeal to both general and niche audiences.
- Instagram is ideal for audiences that like to follow and build relationships with brands and influencers.
- LinkedIn is the social network for businesses and professionals, so content that relates to your industry is particularly well-suited.
- Twitch is a streaming platform that is particularly popular in gaming culture, although Twitch has also become a home for general topics in the last year.
You also have the option of offering a live stream on your own website. You can use one of these platforms to create an embed code for the website. A more expensive option would be to use paid live streaming platforms to host your stream.
For internal streams or streams where you want the audience to interact via video, we recommend software services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
In our experience, YouTube and Zoom are the best choices for Swiss needs. Both platforms enjoy a high profile and the people watching find their way directly into the programmes’ interface.
7. Set up everything
Set up the live stream on your chosen platforms a few days before the event.
On the day of the stream, you must make sure there is enough light, then set up your cameras on tripods and assign camera people to them. Connect their cameras and microphones to the mixer and encoder.
You should create several layouts or scenes for the stream. You create a layout by combining audio and video sources with graphics and saving them in your video mixer. Creating and saving scenes allows you to switch quickly between different layouts during your stream.
Once you have everything connected, do a test run in private mode. Then do a few more. You won’t have much room for ad hoc adjustments during the stream, so you need to be well-prepared – test everything.
The most important thing to remember is to allow enough time to figure things out and do tests. While live streaming can be complicated, it allows you to exercise your creativity. So start small and simple, and take your time to learn.
Thanks to its reach-enhancing capabilities and audience engagement, live streaming has become a popular tool for marketing teams. The benefits of live streaming are immense, but you have to go about it the right way. If you’re preparing to live stream an event for the first time, leave nothing to chance. Prepare yourself with checklists, powerful hardware, and reliable software to make sure everything goes well. Alternatively, you can hire a service provider to do all the work for you or advise you on how to proceed efficiently and flawlessly. We are happy to help.