Advanced/professional live streams are carefully planned productions that result in a professionally produced video feed that is broadcast via an encoding device direct to multiple social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter (Periscope), and YouTube.
Selectivity in which events are live streamedGiven the complexity and large number of staff required to produce an advanced/professional live stream, College Communications is very selective in which events are professionally live streamed. Here are some of the criteria that are reviewed and evaluated for any live streaming requests.
- speaker (and speaker permission)
- topic – is the event topic of interest to a broad audience; is it relevant to current events
- potential audience reach – will the room or theatre be filled to capacity and reach a large, remote audience
- event type and format
- length of the event
- copyrighted content
Complexity of an Advanced/Professional Live StreamAdvanced/professional live streams cannot be completed by one individual with a smartphone. These streams are high tech, high quality and require the direct involvement of 2-5 College Communications and department staff.
Number of People Involved
- Event speaker(s)
- Event manager/coordinator
- Onsite social media manager Producer and on-site social media manager may be completed by the same person depending on complexity and needs of the event.
- On-site or off-site social media monitoring and response
- Professional lighting
- Professional audio
- Professional video equipment
- Fully reliable internet (dedicated Wi-Fi or hard-lined Ethernet)
- Identification of individuals to fill roles and availability of equipment
- Obtaining speaker permissions/copyright permissions
- Integrated real world and digital marketing plan
- Includes promotion leading up to the event and day of communications (text/copy to go in the live stream social media posts)
- Logistics/planning meeting and site visit
- On-site video/audio/reliable internet check
- Setting up system for live internal communications plan during event (text, radio, slack, email)
- Event scheduling and live production plan
- When during the event will the live stream begin and end?
- Are there special elements like graphics or lower thirds that need to be inserted into the video? Who is providing the data/graphics?
- What should the camera(s) and audio feed(s) capture?
- How and when will the video recording be captioned?
Important Questions to Ask and ConsiderBefore moving forward with any advanced/professional live stream plan, the following factors must be considered:
Do you have the staff?
It takes 3-5 staff members from College Communications to do an advanced/professional live stream.
- Responsible for operating the professional camera(s) equipment to provide a professional quality video production from start to finish.
- Responsible for planning ahead to ensure quality audio and video feeds from start to finish.
- Includes working with venue A/V to ensure audio and video logistics are set up.
- Agrees to complete an on-site visit in advance of the event.
- Will be on site, at minimum, an hour before each streaming event, remaining 30 minutes to an hour after the event.
- Responsible for taking the raw camera and/or audio feed(s) and sending it out to the social media streams via Wirecast or another encoding device. This may include the addition of items like lower thirds, intro/outro graphics, slides, recorded video and other relevant media.
- Responsible for gathering or creating all additional media content for the live stream in advance.
- Will be on site, at minimum, an hour before each streaming event, remaining 30 minutes to an hour after the event.
- Social Media Manager on Site
- Responsible for making the decision as to when to start/stop the live stream and for monitoring the quality of the live stream through the duration of the event.
- Works with venue and/or ITS to ensure reliable internet is available on site.
- Coordinates with videographer, producer, event planners and College Communications to ensure seamless operation for:
- Advanced planning
- Obtaining agreements to live stream
- Promotional integrated real world and digital marketing plan
- Day of / live operations
- Post-event real world and digital marketing plan
- Coordinates with social media monitoring and response team member to ensure comments and questions are responded to in a timely and appropriate manner.
- Will be on site, at minimum, an hour before each streaming event, remaining 30 minutes to an hour after the event. Depending on the complexity of the live stream, the producer and social media manager roles may be accomplished by one person.
- On site or off-site social media monitoring and response
- Closely coordinates with the social media manager to monitor social media traffic, comments, and questions and providing responses on social media when appropriate.
- Works with the event manager and social media manager to feed appropriate questions and comments to the event speaker for a response.
- Will be on site (or available to monitor offsite) at minimum, 30 minutes before each streaming event, remaining 15-30 minutes after the event.
- This position may come from College Communications or be provided by the hosting department if the department is able to provide someone experienced in social media monitoring and has access to the departments social media accounts.
Department-Provided Staffing/AssistanceIt takes a minimum of two people, from the department hosting the event to complete an advanced/professional live stream:
- Event Speaker(s)
- The event speaker(s) must all agree to permit the live stream.
- The event speaker(s) will be encouraged to engage the social media audience when appropriate to:
- Recognize/refer directly to the audience during the live stream
- Encourage the social media audience to share the live stream and to comment
- When appropriate, Respond to questions, comments or other engagements from users on the social media live streams.
- Uses their own social media presence to share the live streams through promotional content in advance of the event and sharing the stream live during.
- Event manager
- Communicates directly with the event speaker(s) and College Communications to ensure that the speaker(s) agreement/permission is obtained before the live stream event is planned or advanced and coordinates how the speaker will engage with the social media audience during the event.
- Participates in advanced planning including aiding in a site visit.
- Supports and helps design the promotional marketing plan.
- Agrees to use their department’s social media presence to share the live streams through promotional content in advance of the event and sharing the stream live during.
Do we have the Technology and Logistics to Support the Live Stream?
In order to professionally pull off a “complex” live stream production there are a number of logistical and technical requirements that must be met specifically regarding the venue.
AudioThe venue must be able to provide a reliable “house” audio feed and if this is not possible, the venue must allow the videographer(s) appropriate access to ensure all speakers and elements are picked up clearly via microphone. This includes any question and answer session or other unique audience engagement elements involved in the event.
VideoThe venue must allow for a camera (or cameras) to be placed in a location that will be able to pick up all the elements of the event. This must take into consideration distance from the speakers, mobility of the speakers (are they sitting/standing/walking etc) lighting, presentations/props/slideshows and how the studio audience will show in the shot(s).
- The venue must provide reliable hard-lined internet that can handle the bandwidth of a live stream. If hard-line Ethernet is not available, the venue must have access to dedicated Wi-Fi that is set up specifically for the live stream and is not accessible by other users at the event.
- Minimum internet speeds must be 5-8 MBPS upload for 720p and 1080p HD.
- Verizon or other mobile-data networks should be avoided for a “complex” live stream. If wireless data is required, significant testing should be completed to ensure that a quality signal is maintained even when a large crowd of additional users are in the area pulling data from the same cell-towers via their own phones and other devices. Often there may be sufficient data to pull off a stream when no one else is in the room, but once 50+ others join the signal strength may be severely impacted.
Do we have Permission?
For any event involving a speaker, particularly a paid speaker, permission must be granted by the speaker(s) before the live stream can be planned and promoted. Any event involving music may involve copyright concerns. Care shall be taken to obtain permission to broadcast the music during the live stream.
Do we have advanced notice?
Barring exceptional circumstances, a minimum of two weeks advance notice is needed to plan an advanced/professional live stream. The ideal advanced notification time is a one month out. Any requests inside a month will likely be turned down simply due to staffing concerns.
Is this a good event for live streaming on the primary Davidson College accounts?
Just because an event may be an ideal event to stream for any given department does not necessarily mean it is an event that the college can or should live stream to the broader Davidson College community.
Factors to consider
- Student sponsored vs College sponsored?
- Popularity of speaker and event theme/topic. Will this speaker/topic engage viewers online for more than 30 seconds?
- Does the event raise the reputation of Davidson College on a national level?
- How many people will attend in person? If you can’t fill the room, is there another justification to live stream the event? Live streamed events with lots of empty seats don’t represent the college well when seen and shared online.
- What audience does the event interest? Does this include an audience that cannot make it to the college campus? Students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, other institutions, niche audiences
- How is this event being advertised? The hosting department must show an interest in proactively advertising the event, including the live stream, via their own social media platforms.
- Is the President’s Office involved? Are the president or other high profile Davidson community members attending?
- Is the event in agreement with the values of the college including the Statement of Purpose and Honor Code?
- Are there opportunities, and is the speaker(s) willing, to engage the social media audience via question and answer periods or other means?
- Are their visual elements to the event beyond just a podium and a speaker? Events that involve visual elements, e.g., videos, PowerPoint presentations, etc., require advanced planning and work to load slides in live streaming software and additional advanced testing and coordination.
- Is this a “named lecture” recognized by the college?
Is there a willingness and enough time to create a communications and marketing plan for the event?
The department requesting the live stream event must commit to working closely with the College Communications team to develop a comprehensives marketing plan around the live stream. The plan will include:
- Month out notice ideal
- Minimum two-weeks notice
- Integrated real world and digital marketing and promotion plan
- Scheduling of live event
- Promoting the live event through email, social media, fliers, word of mouth, mailers etc.
- Copy developed for use during the live stream
- Live, during the event, communications plan
- Text, radio, email, slack
- Run sheet
- Post-event real world and digital marketing and promotion plan
- Team debrief – lessons learned
Is there a commitment to providing closed captions for the event video after the conclusion of the event?
All prerecorded and live stream videos posted to college social media accounts must include closed captions to be in compliance with federal website accessibility standards. Arrangements must be made before the scheduled live stream to provide post-live stream support for adding closed captions no later than two days following the date of the event. More information about closed captioning workflows, including free and paid services is available on the Davidson accessibility website.