“Virtualize” Your Event
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak we are fielding an abundance of requests for help from businesses and organizations who are scrambling to “virtualize” their events using live streaming tools and services. Our main product is full turn-key on-site live streaming production however if you are looking for a do-it-yourself option and you are willing to dive under the hood (technically speaking) there are two basic considerations: (1) the delivery platform & (2) the hardware/software tools to capture your event.
PLATFORM – Here are some options to consider:
- Social Media – YouTube and Facebook offer free live streaming distribution.
Pros – Free, great for maximum exposure, scales well for
Cons – no customer service, copyright restrictions (most
noticeable if you use music), restricted privacy. Not a
good choice if you want to charge subscription or
- Vimeo Premium – Private network that offers live streaming and video on demand for a flat $900/year
Pros – unlimited number of users, password protection,
private or public viewing, easy to use, cloud
recording, customer support
Cons – Requires embedding the player on a website
- Dacast.com – Private live streaming network with enterprise class distribution. Plans start at $125/month
Pros – secure and most reliable delivery (using the Akamai
network), built-in paywall or password protection,
customer support, good for subscription based
Cons – bandwidth limits (number of users), more difficult to
set up, requires embedding the player on a website.
- Zoom Webinar – Webinar / meeting platform as opposed to the live streaming options above. Plans start at about $60/month for up to 100 participants
Pros – Has more interactivity with Q&A widgets, remote
presenters, screen sharing. Good customer support.
Easy to use, registration system.
Cons – Scaling up for larger audiences is expensive, pay
wall option is complicated – Requires Zapier API
Many possibilities to consider that depend on balancing ease-of-use, production quality, and cost.
- Laptop with webcam and browser
>> YouTube, Facebook and Zoom all support browser-based
software to connect to their platforms.
>> Low cost, easy to use but lower quality. Browser-based
video encoders are not as good as dedicated software
applications. Built-in web cams are limited to one or two
presenters. Requires an external USB microphone to
- Computer/laptop with streaming software – These products
are meant to work with multiple cameras and offer titles,
video effects, and high resolution local recording. They
support all of the above mentioned streaming platforms.
>> Vmix – https://www.vmix.com/purchase/ – this software
starts at $60 (buyout) for professional quality production
>> OBS, Xsplit – Free open source streaming software. Limited support but good quality.
>> Livestream Studio – Excellent streaming software that is included free with a Vimeo Premium account.
- Dedicated Streaming Appliance for live streaming platforms.
No computer needed to operate. Simple to use once set up
properly. You connect a camera or video switcher to the
input, set up the log-in information for your streaming
platform and start streaming. Here are three examples:
>> Magewell UltraStream – $400
>> Matrox Monarch HD – $1000
>> AJA HELO – $1300
>> USB external webcams – 2 good ones are:
>>> Logitech c930e – $130
>>> PTZoptics – $98
>>> Canon VIXIA camcorder – $219
- Capture Devices – USB cameras can plug directly into the
laptop but the higher quality camcorders need a capture
device to accommodate the HDMI signal. The best value on
the market is the new Black Magic-Design ATEM Mini. It has
4 switchable inputs and connects to your computer via USB
- Pre-Built Systems – Webcast & Beyond offers pre-built,
ready-to-go systems with technical support to guide you
through installation and troubleshooting. If you are interested
you can take a peak here:
Finally, you can have a streaming production company provide onsite service for you. You can get an idea of what to expect by visiting our site here: https://webcastandbeyond.com/live-webcasting-services-events/
Hopefully this information will be helpful and not confusing as you consider your options.