Information - Webcast & Beyond

15
May

2017 NHA Symposium

Link to webcast: https://livestream.com/wab/nha

This year’s NHA Symposium is sure to be the best one yet! Located at the beautiful Bahia Resort in sunny San Diego, attendees gather valuable information about rotary wing aviation by day and socialize with friends by night.

Broadcast Schedule:

Tuesday May 16, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Wednesday May 17, 8:30 AM – 4:45 PM

Thursday May 18, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

 

24
Mar

Master Contractor Seminar

Link to Webcast: https://livestream.com/wab/thegreenlawgroup

Free Seminar sponsored by the Green Law Group, LLP

Broadcast Date / Time: Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 / 7:00 am – 10:45 am Pacific Daylight Time

2
Jun

Genetic Genealogy 2016

Genetic Genealogy PosterLink to webcast: http://streaming.webcastandbeyond.com/scgs/

2016 Genetic Genealogy: The Future of the Past ONLINE Conference for Genetic Genealogists – Registration & Viewing Portal

Live Streaming on Thursday, June 2, 2016
8:30 am to 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (Los Angeles)
Archive recordings available until July 5th, 2016

Here are some last minute tips and suggestions to help you have a successful experience:
  1. REFRESH YOUR BROWSER if the video freezes or does not start playing when the broadcast is supposed to begin. This is especially true if you keep the viewing page open for a long time before the event begins. The refresh process varies slightly depending on the device you have but typically it involves pressing the F5 key, or the circular arrow icon or better yet, just closing the browser and re-launching it.
  2. The webcast will have two streams for each session; one high quality (for people with fast internet) and one medium quality (for slower connections). Normally the player automatically selects the best stream based on your internet speed but you can manually choose for yourself by clicking on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the player. “720P” is the high quality setting and “360P” is the medium quality. If your video stops frequently and buffers select the 360P option.
  3. If you need help your best bet is to click the “Contact Support” button on the main page. Using social media or other SCGS communication channels will not be very effective.
  4. It is not uncommon for a small percentage of users to experience poor performance due to network conditions in their local area. Remember that you can re-watch all of the sessions you paid for up to 30 days after the event (July 5th deadline), so when the issues  that caused the complications are resolved you will be able to have a pleasant viewing experience.
  5. As a reminder, this is the link you go to to access your viewing pages: http://streaming.webcastandbeyond.com/scgs/
  6. From there click the “Watch” button to access your session. If you haven’t already done so you will be prompted to log in with your username and password.
  7. Remember to switch to each session you paid for at its scheduled time. If you say on the page after the session concludes, you will miss everything else that follows.
  8. If there is a technical problem on our end or you can’t get onto our streaming website, try this alternate website: https://livestream.com/wab/alt
  9. The recorded archives will be posted on the same pages used for the live broadcast. Please allow approximately 24 hours after the live stream for this to occur.
17
May

How to Watch Live Streaming Video – A Primer for Beginners

Close-up Of Young Man Lying On Sofa Watching Video On Laptop At HomeStreaming video is pervasive in everyday life. We use the technology to watch Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, video-on-demand from the cable company, Skype, Face Time, webinars and various live special events. Depending on the application, the technology varies with respect to the devices and types of connections used. In this tutorial we will focus on live streaming (also known as “webcasting”).

According to Wikipedia …

“A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webcasting is “broadcasting” over the Internet.”

This is what Webcast & Beyond does. We go to an event with our production team and equipment and broadcast the experience live to a global audience. We also provide a platform where the audience can “tune-in” to watch. Typically the platform takes the single feed from the event and distributes it to a web page with a video player embedded. This way the web page address acts like a TV channel to “tune-in” to a particular webcast.

Example of a webpage for watching streaming video

Example of a webpage for watching streaming video

Access to the viewing web page can be public or private, and may be free, require registration, involve a fee, or a combination of these. To watch a public webcast all you need to know is the web address (usually in the form of a link that was sent to you in an email or posted on a website) and the broadcast time. Be careful to note the time zone in which the broadcast is originating from. Unlike television stations, internet broadcasters usually don’t time shift the broadcast to the viewers local time, so you will need to determine the correct time adjustment for your geographical location. Private webcasts require a password and sometimes a username as well in order to access the viewing web page. Passwords are issued by the hosting organization or automated through a registration system. If a fee is required the password is issued after online payment is completed.

Live Streaming Features

In addition to the video player, which is the window there the video is played, there are other features and controls that are sometimes included on the viewing page:

  • Playback Controls

    Playback Controls - Usually located at the bottom of the video player, by placing the mouse cursor near the bottom they pop up.

    Playback Controls – Usually located at the bottom of the video player, by placing the mouse cursor near the bottom they pop up.

    • Play/Pause – (the triangle icon on the lower left) to start and stop the live stream.
    • Volume – (the speaker icon) for audio.
    • Full Screen / Pop-out – (the dotted square icon on the lower right) expands the viewing screen size.
    • Quality – Some webcasts have different quality streams to choose from with numbers such as 270p, 432p, or 720p HD. The higher the number the better the quality in terms of picture clarity and audio fidelity. The reason for offering these choices is to accommodate the different viewing conditions each person is limited to. The most common limitation one has is the speed of the internet connection. Fast connections support the high quality streams whereas slow connections can only handle the lower quality streams. There are other factors involved such as the type of device you are using as to whether it is powerful enough to process the higher quality stream. General Rule-of-Thumb is to select the highest quality possible until the stream begins to buffer (stall as it waits for more data).
  • Live DVR

    Some live players have this feature and it is truly fantastic! You can literally go back in time by dragging the slider bar at the bottom to the left. This is common in recorded video but less so when the event is live.

  • Chat Box

    chat boxThe online audience can participate in a group chat environment using a chat box which is often displayed on the side or below the video player. People use this to communicate with the onsite participants, usually to pose questions during a Q & A session as well as to interact amongst themselves.

  • Social Media

    Public webcasts often include widgets (tools) to share the experience with your friends. You will find icons for Face Book, Twitter, email and others that will post notices or send the web link to your friends and followers.

Devices

There are many devices capable of presenting a live stream broadcast. These include:

  • Desktop computers (Mac and Windows)
  • Tablets (Android & iOS)
  • Smart Phones (Android & iOS)
  • Smart Televisions (units with internet browsing capability)

Generally a desktop computer is best as it can support a hard-wired internet connection, has a bigger screen, and often has sufficient processing power to playback the highest quality stream. Older computers with older operating systems are not the best choice.  If your PC can smoothly run Windows 7 or later you should be good to go. If you are on a MAC it is recommended that you have an intel processor (not the older Motorola models) with OSX software.  You will need a browser which supports  live streaming. On the PC we recommend the latest version of Chrome.  On a MAC we recommend the latest version of Safari.

Tablets and Smartphones are a popular choice due to their mobility but require either a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection for streaming video. Wi-Fi is preferred in most cases because cellular data is expensive and often not fast enough. If you are using cellular then make sure your connection is 4G(LTE) for the best experience. When it comes to best performance on a mobile device, the Apple iOS iPhones and iPads are preferred over Androids (generally) because streaming platforms are set up to be compatible with  Apple products. The minimum requirement  is to be running iOS version 3.0 or later.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has helped you get oriented with the process of live streaming video.  If any of this seems too technical don’t worry. You can run a simple test to get an idea whether your set-up is up the task. We have embedded a video from our portfolio to try out. Try playing this on the same device, with the same internet connection you plan to use for watching live streaming. If it works well then your equipment and internet connection are in good shape. Keep in mind that this test is using a recorded video which is a little different than a live video stream. Nonetheless, if this video is working chances are you will be able to watch live streams as well.

26
Apr

Professional Live Streaming on YouTube!

youtube logoYour Event on Your YouTube Channel

Our expertise and high-end broadcast equipment can now be utilized to captivate a whole new audience on the YouTube Live platform. Imagine the leverage and extended reach your event will have on the world’s largest video platform. We can help you set up your own live feed channel, or use one of ours. YouTube live streaming can also be embedded on your own web page. Call us at 818-456-1052 to find out more about this exciting new opportunity.

26
Apr

Live Stream to your Facebook Page

Facebook logoProfessional Live Streaming Now Supported on Facebook!

Webcast & Beyond has the latest software app allowing us to broadcast your event with our professional audio/video equipment to your Facebook page! This is good news for those who want to leverage their message using live video.

6
Apr

Bell Canyon Broadway – Peter Pan

PeterPanflyer
Link to Webcast: https://livestream.com/wab/BellCanyonBroadway

Bell Canyon Broadway is a children’s musical theater group hosted by the Bell Canyon Community Center in Bell Canyon, California.
Showtimes are (Pacific Daylight Time):

Saturday 4/9/2016: 5:00pm
Sunday 4/10/2016: 4:00pm

20
Nov

Bell Canyon Broadway – Alice in Wacky Wonderland


Link to Webcast: https://livestream.com/wab/BellCanyonBroadway

Bell Canyon Broadway is a children’s musical theater group hosted by the Bell Canyon Community Center in Bell Canyon, California.
Showtimes are (Pacific Standard Time):

Saturday 11/21/2015: 5:00pm
Sunday 11/22/2015: 4:00pm

11
Sep

Tailhook 2015

Hook15_Logo_FinalTailhook 2015 annual symposium and reunion live from the Nugget in Reno Nevada.

Link: https://livestream.com/wab/tailhook2015

Both active and retired naval aviators converge in Reno every year for this popular event.  The theme of this year’s symposium is “Junior Officers — the Tip of the Spear.” We are recognizing our most valued asset, those that lead the way into combat, while reinforcing the crucial roles we as leaders, veterans, industry experts and warfighters have in supporting and preparing these junior officers (JOs) for the challenging missions ahead.

Broadcast begins Friday September 11, 2015 @8:00 AM and concludes Saturday September 12th @ 3:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Webcast archives will be available immediately after the event.

 

13
Jun

How to Capture Audio from the House Sound System

mixer
Many of the larger events that we handle for live streaming or recording involves capturing the audio from the venue’s sound system. Crisp, clear audio is vitally important to the success of any event so it is imperative that the techniques used to interconnect with the house sound system be thoroughly understood. To do this, we use balanced XLR mic cable to run between the sound board and our video equipment. We bring various adapters to handle the different possible connection types including, XLR, 1/4-inch TRS, and RCA. Typically we request the program mix output at line level and bring it in to our own sub-mixer where can can fine tune the levels from our position as well as add in an ambient mic to capture the natural sound in the room (also good as an emergency mic in case there is a problem from the house system). Then we adjust the gain structure from our sub-mixer to our encoder for unity gain.

The final step is to listen to the noise floor of our audio feed. If there is a hum or buzz present we will have to eliminate the ground loop which is causing it.  This is a rather complex subject but suffice to say that a ground loop occurs when two or more electronic devices share a common signal cable (such as an audio XLR cable) and are plugged in to different electrical outlets. The result is a noticeable hum/buzz at the receiving end (camera input). This phenomenon exists because there is a slight difference in the voltage levels of the grounding pins of each device. The audio cable has a shield that directly connects the sound board chassis to the receiving device (camera or remote mixer) and thus a circuit is created (a loop) which carries the buzz and hum signal.

ground loopIf this situation occurs there are a few remedies to fix this:

  1. Plug into the same power source if we can get power from the same strip as the house sound system.
  2. Float the ground to our video station.  This is accomplished with a 3-pin to 2-pin ground lift adapter that is attached between our extension cord and the wall outlet.
  3. Use a DI box to interface with the sound board. The DI box takes the line level output of the sound board and converts it to a mic level signal using an impedance matching transformer. This transformer has the ability to “lift” or isolate the grounding connection in the XLR cable, thus breaking the ground loop.
  4. Run on batteries. A simple webcast with say, one camera may not require the use of external AC power thus eliminating the ground loop by not attaching to the wall receptacle.

Our webcast team uses these techniques to ensure that your event audio sounds clean, clear, and professional.

 

13
Jun

Realcomm 2015 – Conference Live

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Link to Webcast: https://livestream.com/wab/realcomm2015
The webcast ended June 10, 2015 but the archives are available. Each interview has been edited as a stand-alone clip. In addition you will find complete coverage of the General Session.

12
Mar

Skype Group Call Featured During Live Webcast

Webcast utilizing Skype Group call. Video feed on the left / Skype call on the right.

Webcast utilizing Skype Group call. Video feed on the left / Skype call on the right.

Lately there has been a lot of interest to incorporate Skype interviews during live webcasts. In this situation, Instantly Inc. wanted to have all of their field offices from around the world participate in the opening segment of their global meeting. This was accomplished using our Skype integration system while taking advantage of Skype’s new and improved group calling feature. The local audience could view all of the remote participants on a projection screen and their audio was piped into the house sound system. The webcast audience saw a dual feed of the headquarters on the left and the Skype callers on the right. The Skype participants were able to see and hear the corporate officers who were on camera in front of the live local audience.

Admittedly this is somewhat tricky to pull together. We had a rehearsal/test call a few days before to make sure all of the participants had their Skype systems set up properly. The day of the webcast, we had everyone connect an hour early and remain on standby until they went live. We had their video and audio muted while on standby except that there is a push-to-talk microphone to allow private communication with them. Skype has an IM chat feature which is useful during this standby period, especially when someone is experiencing internet bandwidth restrictions.

In the end the effort of linking the whole company together live really paid off.  The remote participants had a much stronger sense of “being there” and the home office had a chance to feel like they were one united team.

8
Feb

Dick Gregory – Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

 

Dick Gregory addresses the onlookers with his wife Lillian at his side

Dick Gregory addresses the onlookers with his wife Lillian at his side

Comedian, activist, civil rights leader Dick Gregory received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 2nd, 2015. Webcast & Beyond was hired by the Dick Gregory Foundation to document the event including the ceremony and interviews with celebrities, family and friends. The 82 year old honoree addressed the audience with his wife of 56 years, Lillian Gregory by his side.  Mr. Gregory is revered by comedians, musicians, actors, and political leaders as a strong voice and leader throughout the civil rights movement.  On this day many celebrities were in attendance including Stevie Wonder, George Lopez, Nick Cannon, Rob Schneider, and Roseanne Barr to name a few.  To see more pictures check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/webcastandbeyond

George Lopez & Rob Schneider being interviewed by Michele Jaber of the Dick Gregory Foundation. Video services provided by Webcast & Beyond.

George Lopez & Rob Schneider being interviewed by Michele Jaber of the Dick Gregory Foundation. Video services provided by Webcast & Beyond.

31
Dec

Amani Children’s Choir – Joyful Africa Tour – Highlights

Amani-choir_thumbnailFor those who missed the live webcast we have created a channel showcasing the performances on December 28, 2014 at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. Please follow this link:

https://vimeo.com/channels/amanichoir/

18
Dec

How to Set-up a Multi-camera Live Webcast with a One-man Crew

Authored by Gregg Hall, owner/operator Webcast & Beyond

One of the big advantages of live streaming today is the ability to affordably broadcast all kinds of events to specific target audiences.  The availability of low-cost broadcast equipment and online streaming services has opened the door to practically any organization wishing to produce live content.  In the quest to minimize production budgets whilst maintaining production quality I will discuss one approach to webcasting an event wherein one person wears the hats of many; namely 2 (or more) cameramen, the technical director, the sound engineer, and the encoding engineer.  Mind you, this approach does not work for every situation but there are many events where this is totally feasible and opens the door to more business opportunities by keeping production costs to a minimum.

Let’s start by specifying the design requirements for this one-man webcasting system.  First, it must be high definition.  These days it is easy to acquire affordable cameras that shoot at 1080i and output either an HDMI or HD-SDI signal.  I can’t overstate the importance of shooting in Hi-Def even when you are streaming at standard definition bit rates.  The fact is HD sources look far superior to SD sources when encoded at lower bit rates.  Secondly, it must be portable.  By that I mean one person can transport the whole system by themselves when travelling by plane.  Thirdly, the layout must be ergonomically efficient to allow one person access to all of the controls.

Here then is a list of the basic components needed:

  • Cameras – We need two or more HD cameras with HDMI or HD-SDI outputs.  Many options in the $2k – $5k range are readily available.  Check out the Canon XA25 HD camcorder priced at $2.5k.  This camera has a 20x zoom lens, XLR audio, HD-SDI & HDMI outputs and is compact enough for travel.  Make sure to select fluid head tripods that fold up compact enough to fit in a suitcase.
  • Switcher – Seamless switching between the various cameras along with the ability to add transitions, effects and graphics is a must.  Options include software based products such as Telestream’s Wirecast, hardware switchers including the Black-magic Design ATEM Television Studio, or all-in-one streaming boxes such as the Livestream HD500.
  • Audio – For some events you may end up bringing a few wireless mics and that will be sufficient.  More often than not there will be a live sound system to connect with.  I recommend bringing your own small audio mixer to control the level being feed to you and also to add your own ambient mic, which captures the audience and venue sounds not picked up by the PA system.  Another consideration is maintaining sync between the audio and video.  Typically the video switcher introduces a delay of 2-3 frames which means your audio needs to be delayed by the same amount.  Sometimes the solution is to route the audio output of your mixer through one of your cameras.  That way the audio becomes embedded with the video inside the camera and is brought into the switcher through one of the video inputs.  The switcher then maintains the audio/video sync.  But if you bring the audio directly into the encoder, you will need an audio delay unit to compensate.
  • Encoder – We will need a hardware or software encoder with an HD input to create your video stream.  I prefer software encoders such as Flash Media Live Encoder or Wirecast running on a laptop.  A video capture device with HD-SDI or HDMI inputs will be necessary to bring the video into the computer.  Black-Magic Design and Matrox offer many low-cost solutions for this.
One-man Webcast Set-up

One-man Webcast Set-up

Shown here is one of our portable systems deployed at a trade show. I was the one-man crew controlling the 2 cameras, switcher, audio mixer, and encoder. In this configuration 2 cameras are connected to a Black-Magic Design ATEM Television Studio Switcher. The switcher is very compact and affordable with a list price of only $1000. To use it, a laptop is employed as an external control surface, and a field HD television is used as a multi-view monitor. The ATEM has 6 inputs, a real-time H.264 output for recording an archive of the program stream and HDMI / HD-SDI outputs. The HDMI program out is routed to a Matrox O2 Mini external video capture device connected to a second laptop which acts as the encoder. A Mackie 1202 mixer receives a feed from the house PA system. The output then goes to a Behringer DEQ2496 processor which delays the audio 2 frames then converts it to a digital AES/EDU signal for input to the ATEM switcher. Also part of this system is a Matrox DVI convert which transcodes the screen of the host’s computer into an HD video signal that we can switch to as a video source. A pair of studio headphones monitors the audio from the Mackie mixer and also the encoder laptop. The encoder laptop also serves to monitor the webcast.

16
Dec

5 Reasons Why you Should Consider Live Streaming

chris-knowlton-160x200

Chris Knowlton, VP of Wowza

Here is an excerpt from a recently published article on Techzone360.com entitled, “It’s Time Your Business Jumped on the Live Streaming Bandwagon: Here are Five Reasons Why.” by Chris Knowlton, VP of Wowza Media Systems. Wowza is a leading software developer specializing in streaming media server technology. According to Knowlton, there is a case to be made for embracing live video streaming as it has unique advantages over pre-recorded on-demand video streaming. The 5 key reasons are:

1. Streaming extends reach – Streaming a live event provides an opportunity to connect in new ways, whether we are talking about sports matches, church services, concerts, company all-hands meetings, or university lectures. You can reach people who could not otherwise attend in person, which, depending on your goals and business model, typically translates either to positive membership impacts or new customers.

 

2. Streaming boosts engagement – Live events are compelling for users. There is an immediacy to them that can’t be matched with on-demand viewing, especially for live games. According to Ooyala, the average live-streamed video is viewed as much as 10 times longer than on-demand. Social media only bolsters the engagement, making us part of a larger real-time conversation around the event.

 

3. The live experience has drastically improved – Live streaming now provides a better user experience than ever. Over the last 15 years, we’ve gone from low-resolution, stuttering, postage-stamp sized viewing experiences on desktop computer monitors to HD (and even Ultra HD) streaming on computer screens, mobile devices, and connected TVs. Thanks to increasing bandwidth, more-scalable Internet infrastructures, improved streaming technologies, and a plethora of devices that support HD playback, our streaming experiences now can rival or surpass those of traditional television delivery.

 

4. Cost is no longer an excuse – The prices for computer hardware, storage, and bandwidth continue to drop. Cloud-based infrastructures and services make streaming even more affordable for many people, providing the flexible low-cost computing and scalability you need, and for discrete events, only when you need it. As an example, you can stream an hour of high-quality video to 100 users for about the price of a latte.

 

5. Higher quality is now possible with less complexity – In just minutes, you can be online and streaming live events globally. The more advanced your requirements, the longer the first-time setup may take, but streaming products and services continue to abstract away more of the complexities and reduce the learning curves.

 

Live streaming has come a long way, and it will only continue to advance; however businesses that continue to wait for the next best thing will likely find themselves playing catch up to those embracing it today. We’ll likely see these types of battles ensue across industries in the years to come.

I would add to this that a live-streamed event that is archived and available for immediate viewing is the best of both worlds. The fact that a video was streamed live gives it a sense of authenticity that a pre-recorded video can’t compete with. We have seen viewership of a live event increase by a factor of 10 within the first week after its initial broadcast!