10 STREAMING MEDIA April/May 2017
How to Start and Finish
Your Live Streams Right By Paul Schmutzler
While readers and contributors to Stream- ing Media magazine are all about “the business & technology of online video,”
and we often cover the technical side of the business and the business side of the technology, we
don’t often step back and consider aesthetics. A
stream is only as successful as its appearance,
whether it’s a healthy bitrate, crystal-clear resolution, or polished graphics.
Making a stream look good from a technical
standpoint requires expensive equipment and
services, but making it look good artistically is
nearly free. However, it does require planning
and some creative skills. For this article, we’re
going to concentrate on two often-overlooked
portions of a live stream: How to start and stop
a live stream. This would present the good, bad
and ugly of what a live stream should be before
the event and after. Tips like having a plan for
what will show until the event starts, whether
it’s a nice shot of the venue or a pre-made slide
show. Then what should happen at the end?
Perhaps a final slate with links for viewers to
learn more, follow on social media, contact the
Before and During
When you plan out all of the technical as-
pects of your live production, take some time
to think through what your audience will see
before and after your stream. Here are some
questions to get you started:
• Who is the audience? What graphics, b-roll,
or music would appeal to them while they
wait for the stream to begin?
• How long is your stream? Will there be an
intermission that could use something to
maintain interest between sessions?
• What is the content of the stream? Is
there sensitive information that should be
disclaimed at some point?
Now let’s tackle some of these with a hypothetical shoot. The production is an all-hands
meeting at a large corporation. There will be
three executives giving three separate presentations. The stream will be broadcast to
desktops across all five of their international
headquarters. The audience will be workers in
the banking industry; their average age is 42.
The total run time of the meeting is expected
to be about 90 minutes with a 7-minute break
between speakers to allow time for them to
cue up each presentation. The presentations
are confidential and contain sensitive “
internal use only” information.
Sure, you won’t always have this much information for a shoot, but if you do, here’s how
you can use it to your advantage to improve
the quality of your production. Since the audience members are approximately 42, find
some music from the 1980s and early 1990s (or
a copyright-safe, royalty-free facsimile), right
from the heart of their youth. Create a looping playlist that can be brought up for the audio stream before and after the broadcast and
during the 7-minute breaks.
If the client has some commercials or other
interesting videos that they’ve produced, consider looping them along with a lower-third
saying “Our broadcast will begin soon.” If you’re
not using music, you can cut back to this video
montage during the breaks also.
It’s also helpful to include a countdown tim-
er (see Figure 1 on the next page). But keep in
mind that no one likes a timer that isn’t accu-
rate. If you expect the broadcast to begin late
or early, it may be best to skip the timer and
just replace it with a general note, such as, “Our
broadcast will begin soon.”
To remind your viewers that they need to be
discreet with the sensitive information in the
video, consider adding a static, lower-third ti-
tle reminding them that the information is not
to be shared, and that they may not take any
screenshots or screen captures.