March 31

Online Videos – Are You Ready to Go Live?

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Streaming live video has evolved from the early days of setting up webcams as silent, digital witnesses. While it’s fun to see the weather at the beach or keep an eye on your toddler’s preschool class, today’s streaming online videos serve many business purposes ranging from educational to promotional. However, setting up a live online video stream is more involved than simply turning on your webcam. Just as you carefully produce your traditional online videos, you must do the same with live videos on Smart IP TV.

Common Uses for Live Video Streams in Business

As the Gulf oil spill has demonstrated, businesses use live online videos as information delivery systems. Hopefully, you’ll never have a disaster to document, but you may have an online audience interested in what’s going on at your company. For example, if you’re a manufacturer, customers may enjoy watching live video streams of your assembly line. If your company hosts prominent speakers, broadcasting a live lecture with the speaker’s permission may be smart.

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Recently, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California, held its annual open house for the public. While those present could tour the campus and view displays, virtual attendees could tune in and watch lectures and demonstrations online. With a simple click of a button, thousands of virtual visitors could watch live streaming videos of scientists discussing the latest Mars rover plans and other current JPL projects. Different camera angles provided alternative views.

Another use for live video streams involves interacting with your customers. For example, you could hold a virtual press conference and take questions directly from your customers via a chat feature. You could also use live online videos to hold seminars, demonstrate how to use your product, or conduct live focus groups with consumers as you develop new products. The possibilities are endless.

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Technical Considerations before You Go Live with Online Video

Sites like UStream certainly do make it easy to stream video online. However, if you want to look professional, you’ll need to consider your feed’s production value carefully. While it’s possible to use a laptop with an integrated webcam and go live with a click or two, results may be disappointing. Consider the following:

  • Location – Where will you be shooting the video? Is it well lit? Is the background distracting? Are there sounds that will interfere?
  • Video quality – The online audience is sophisticated. While a low-resolution webcam may be fine for chatting with friends online, professional live videos online should look professional. Besides, HD online video quality is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
  • Sound quality – Some live video feeds don’t need sound. For example, if a viewer wants to check out snow conditions at your ski resort, they don’t need to hear the ski lift sounds in operation. On the other hand, sound is necessary for a live seminar discussing the latest ski and snowboard equipment. Like a regular video production, individual microphones for each speaker allow for better sound quality.
  • Preparation – As a live online video format, everything you do or say in front of the camera goes out live and unedited. While this allows for spontaneity, it could also make you look unprepared. Approach your live video production just as you would any other speaking engagement. You should have a prepared presentation, and you should rehearse before going live. Notes and teleprompters are lifesavers.
  • To chat or not to chat – Many live online videos incorporate chat and Twitter features so that viewers can comment, ask questions, and interact throughout the presentation. Suppose you’ll be chatting during the presentation. In that case, it’s wise to have a second person monitoring the chat stream so that you can concentrate on the production and answer relevant questions without distraction.
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Going live with online video allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. While it may be tempting to power up your webcam and wing it, you’ll produce a much better video if you pay attention to production values. Consider hiring a video production company and project a professional image.


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