In this three-part series, we’ll be breaking down the details that all APAC leaders should know in order to plan a successful webcast from start to finish – and how Kaltura can help turn a technical nightmare into an employee branding success story.
In our last article, we explored the purpose of a webcast and how APAC business practices have adapted to video as a new normal. Now, we’re diving into the technical details of video conferencing to help you and your teams uncover the best option for your business needs.
Choose Your Weapon
The events of 2020 forced business leaders across the region to scale up their video conferencing infrastructure fast, even if some aspects of remote work have been easier to adapt for some markets than others.
So, if you’re ready to shed the big production team, read below to get a view of your options and what factors you should consider!
Video Conferencing Integrations
First up, some good news: you can use your existing video conference solutions and infrastructure (including licenses, rooms, cameras, and equipment) for your webcast.
That said… most video conferencing solutions are not set up to thousands of attendees in mind, and may not provide tools designed to help manage events at scale.
With Video Conferencing Integrations (VCI), you get all the benefits of a full webcasting solution on top of video-conferencing capabilities. This means you can live stream events from your regional APAC hub to local markets, switching between different presenters and locations directly from your video conferencing solution. This has the bonus effect of allowing the less tech savvy amongst your executives to leverage tools they already feel comfortable with.
You can also use integrations to create a cool broadcast experience for your viewers, with interactive features like moderated Q&A, announcements and polls, and an interactive player which lets the audience control their viewing experience. You also get access to advanced real time analytics beyond those that come with the conferencing solution, both during your event and after it.
Want something even more stripped down? Never fear – you can actually manage a full-blown town hall meeting from a laptop with self-serve webcasting.
That means no complicated technical set-ups and no production team. Nothing but your laptop and the right webcasting platform, from the comfort of your condo building while you hide from your kids. This set-up is ideal when dealing with a packed events calendar, as it dramatically reduces the lead time for each webcast.
Set Your Stage: Tips for Presenters
Lockdown may have reduced demand for dry cleaned dress shirt and caused houseplant stocks to soar, but this doesn’t reduce the importance of ensuring your presenters come across as casual yet professional. Read below for some relatively easy steps you can take to ensure your presenters make a good first impression:
Avoid sitting in front of windows, and aim for natural light if you can get it. A table lamp is an acceptable alternative, but no sitting in front of a window – the audience wants to see a face, not a black silhouette (advice that is relevant during both monsoon season and the drier months!).
Last but not least: always remember to do your test shots and make necessary adjustments before going live.
Reasonably professional. No gaps at the buttons and nothing too sheer/transparent. Also: avoid small stripes and patterns, they really don’t work well on camera.
Getting hold of good-quality audio is even more important than video – poor quality visuals are workable, but bad audio will make the webcast unintelligible. Ensure your speaker is situated in a quiet, echo-free room and (if possible) using a mic – headsets and earbuds with a built-in mic are also acceptable.
Less is definitely more when it comes to backgrounds. A plain wall might be boring, but it’s not distracting. Bookshelves, a plant or a low-key piece of art can be quite soothing. Do a quick sweep for any personal (and potentially embarrassing) items and lock the door. But if you do get interrupted… well, at this point most of us are pretty understanding of the fact that webcast guests can sometimes arrive unannounced.
Behind the Curtain: Tips for Production
Standards have not dropped for moderators and the production crew, even if the locations (separate rooms, and maybe even separate countries) have.
Another option is to be brave and go it alone with self-serve webcasting run by a single person if you want, though this is best saved for lower pressure scenarios serving smaller audiences – presenting and handling a Q&A at the same time isn’t for the faint of heart!
Gathering some questions ahead of time can help kick things off if you’re worried people will be shy, and also set the tone if you’re expecting a lot of questions.
Include a call for questions in your invite or during the broadcast, and ensure there’s some live interaction to avoid your presentation feeling stiff and artificial – use polls and accept live questions to preserve a sense of authenticity and openness.
Important but often overlooked detail: establish a back channel with your speaker so you can check on questions you’re not sure of. Nobody likes to be ambushed!
Real-time analytics are your friend. Keep an eye on your stream health. Ideally your dashboard won’t just give you information, but will also offer insights to help address any issues.
A constant bit rate will produce a more consistent stream than a variable bit rate.
You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t get disconnected or try to stream into insufficient bandwidth. For example, trying to upstream high quality on a slow connection may cause frame loss. In that case, you’ll want to move to a more stable connection or reduce the quality of the stream to match the network conditions.
Make use of preview functions – you want to make sure you’re happy with everything, and that your speaker is all set up before you push live.
Close all programs that might be using excessive bandwidth – we’re looking at you, Google Chrome – and make sure you close all tabs except the ones you need for the broadcast and… make sure that the rest of the house isn’t using much bandwidth during your broadcast. This is not the time for junior members of your household to be livestreaming a mukbang video or esports livestream!
Whether you’re pulling out all the stops or looking to string something on a tight budget, we’ve got you covered. Take your understanding of video conferencing to the next level in our third and final article, and contact our Sales team to find out more now.
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