Live Streaming Solutions to Help Deal With the Coronavirus Crisis

live streaming solutions to virtualize events instead of cancelling them
“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
    large audiences
    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
    access fee.
  • 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
    content
    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
    integration.

HARDWARE/SOFTWARE OPTIONS
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
    sound decent.
  • 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
    http://www.magewell.com/products/ultra-stream-hdmi
    >> Matrox Monarch HD – $1000
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/…/matrox_monarchhd_monarch_hd.…
    >> AJA HELO – $1300
    https://www.aja.com/products/helo
  • Cameras
    >> USB external webcams – 2 good ones are:
    >>> Logitech c930e – $130
    https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/c930e-webcam?crid=34
    >>> PTZoptics – $98
    https://ptzoptics.com/webcam/
    >>> Canon VIXIA camcorder – $219
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/…/canon_1960c002_vixia_hf_r800…
  • 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
    for $295:
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/…/blackmagic_design_swatemmini…
  • 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:
    https://webcastandbeyond.com/produ…/video-streaming-systems/

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.

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