Photo by Paul Einerhand / Unsplash

1:5 Live streaming your event

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

Since launching my conference, some members of my global community have asked if we will offer a live stream of the event, and so we already had an offsite engagement strategy in place for this year. I’m glad we did since I’ve received a few concerned emails from a minority who have said they are expecting to not be able to travel and would like to benefit from the live stream. In this episode I’ll unpack how we planned it and the tools used, demonstrating that the whole strategy was far easier than I expected.

We will unpack:

  • Equipment
    • Vision
      • Cameras
        • Smartphone
        • Mevo
        • Professional camera
    • Sound
      • Microphones
        • Rode mic
        • Lapel mic
        • Sound system hook-up
    • Live mixing
  • Streaming
  • Internet connection
    • Best practices
      • Wired connection
      • Separate internet to delegates
      • Testing the runsheet
    • Backup service
      • Terms
      • Recording
      • Data plan
  • Monetisation
    • Digital tickets
      • Members area
      • Private group
      • Unlisted stream
    • Recordings
      • After show sales
      • Ticket upgrades
  • Software/apps


Welcome to the Event Martech Podcast. This is your host, Lee, and today let's unpack live streaming for your event. Now, since launching my conference, some of the members of my global community have asked if we can offer some form of livestream of our conference in response. Response to this.

We already had an offsite engagement strategy in place for this year, and I'm really glad we did because we've had a few concerned emails from a minority of attendees who've said that they're expecting they might not be able to travel due to the current news and current climate and would like to benefit as well from the live streams that we have to offer. So in this episode, I'm going to unpack how we planned our livestream, add on that's the equipment that we used, the streaming services that we've used, internet connections that we've had to consider, as well as monetization and software. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Our first consideration is equipment and we want to look at vision, sound as well as mixing, starting with vision. We are so lucky to be living at a time where we can get access to really high quality cameras at very low prices.

If you want to dabble in live streaming for the first time, then a smartphone is actually a perfectly acceptable solution. Most smartphones will do four K and will even allow a feed in from a sound system as well, which is phenomenal. So have a look at the potential of using a smartphone. One of our options was to look at the Mivo. There'll be a link in the show notes and Mivo is something that you can situate at a position in your event or conference and it will operate at 4K, but it will have a whole load of automated programmes that will crop in at certain points and follow people's faces.

So it's almost like having a mini camera crew at your live event, which is really clever, but it can also be controlled by an app. So you could actually have somebody live mixing from that one central Mivo camera. So this means you could enter the live stream game with something a little bit more professional than a smartphone, but you've not had the extreme budget you may consider with multicameras mixing desks and so on. And finally, the option that we went for was to have a professional camera team in. So we've commissioned Ares Productions and they will be bringing in cameras of which we're hiring, as well as people to operate those cameras.

And we'll be going through a session together where we work out where they will be best positioned, who will be following, what, so on and so forth. This is allowing us to stream at high definition and to ensure that we have humans who are actually following the action. And we will have a person who will be live mixing the content throughout the day. So you've got three levels there of vision that you could explore. There is a static smartphone at the front, which is capturing what's going on, perhaps with an audio feed.

In, you have your mivo, which is a little bit more advanced, which gives you that feeling of a camera crew. But a lot of that might be automated or controlled with an app that will be going out at Believe. Or you have the option where you would have a professional camera crew. You don't have to buy the cameras, but you can actually rent those cameras and the crew to come on site and to follow your event. And obviously you get a little bit of extra advantage because that's a physical human being who can follow the action.

So they're the first three options there. Now, next is sound. You could have the most beautiful imagery at definition, video with the best lighting ever, and terrible sound. And if you have terrible sound, this is something that I experienced a year ago, then that can ruin a video. Unfortunately, there was an issue on site at our venue where the sound local sound recording was not working and it didn't get passed through.

So all we had to use was the sound from the inbuilt microphone of the cameras at the time. And it was absolutely awful and heartbreaking to know that we had all of this footage, but we had audio that was practically unusable. It was really hard to hear what people were saying and we had to spend a lot of money trying to clean up a lot of the audio and it didn't work very well. So there are a couple of options that you can go for here. The first, most reliable option would be to ensure that you have some sort of connection into the sound system.

So if you're using a smartphone, Mivo or professional camera kit, then there should be the ability for you to hook into that sound, whatever. The microphones that are being used by your speakers will be going through a sound unit at the back of the venue. So you should be able to get a feed, and I would ask for that feed way in advance. Remember, if you're using a smartphone and some of those devices you can buy online, you may need to get an adapter for that sound feed to be coming into the relevant device. That will then be pushing your audio and your video out through the live streaming services.

Now, other options if you can't do that would be to look at a couple of different types of microphones. The first one would be a road mic and this would be a directional mic that would plug into the phone or the Mivo or whatever it is that you've got hooked up. And that would be positioned on the stage or as close to the stage directly at the speaker or as close to the general area that the speaker is going to be speaking that will hopefully get as much directional audio from them as possible and minimise the amount of sound or noise that's filtering from around the rest of the venue. Now, I must say that it's super, super important that you test these. So if you have to go for a road mic, do test and see what sort of quality of audio that you're getting and then try and test the sort of environment that will happen at your event.

So maybe background noises, et cetera, and see whether or not they're getting picked up because you want to know that your live feed is going to work well. And then finally your other option would be to look at something like a lapel mic which is then connected to your phone or to the app. You can get lapel mics that will wirelessly connect via Bluetooth to the relevant app so that you could then be feeding that sound through. That does mean, of course, you will need to switch that lapel mic to each and every speaker. So like I said, the ideal scenario would be a sound system hookup to whatever device you are streaming through.

This puts the responsibility of good audio and ensuring that all audio is being captured on the sound technician rather than you as the organiser, trying to worry about everything and making sure that everybody is miced up. Now that we have the visual and the audio aspect nailed, we do need to be able to mix the content together. Now, if you're going for a smartphone or a Mivo solution where you just have the one camera, you've presented audio into it and you are then streaming out, there's very little left for you to do. However, if you have gone for a multiple camera setup so that's different angles, different stages, et cetera, then you will need to look at some sort of mixing desk that will allow you to bring all of those feeds in and then put them back out through the relevant social streaming service. And there's a couple of recommendations we have if you're looking at that.

The first one is the blackmagic atem mini and the second one is the corsair stream deck. Now, both of these are available to you in the show notes. These are going to allow you to receive the feeds in from audio and from the different cameras, as well as be able to put them out on social media and potentially put in graphics and other elements that covers our initial equipment. But how should we go about streaming our conference or event? Again, we are very lucky to live in an age where there are countless streaming services and you need to look no further than Facebook or YouTube as well as Twitter and other platforms for the ability to stream your content for free to your audience.

If your social media reaches out across multiple platforms, you could also use a service such as a Restream IO which would allow you to stream into their platform and it push out to the multiple social media profiles that you have. This means you're not having to invest heaps and heaps of cash back et cetera. You're actually able to use the freely available bandwidth that's out there on social media using those platforms which are designed for live streaming. Now there is a paid service as well. If you take a look at live streaming from Vimeo, they will give you a live streaming service which also plugs into some software which allows you I believe hardware, sorry, as well, which will allow you to do some really clever tricks with regards to camera changes, lower thirds and all of that good stuff.

So again there will be a link to this in the show notes. You can go ahead and cheque both out but if you are bootstrapping your live stream then there is a whole load of free social media connectivity that you could be taking advantage of right now. At this point you might be worried about your internet connection and it's very wise to invest in the internet connection at your event location. So let's share with you some best Practises and also some backup plans. First of all, if you are going to use some of these online third party services for streaming then a lot of the bandwidth is going to be looked after by their service.

You will be feeding your output to them and then they will be what your viewers will connect to. So it would be their responsibility to worry about the power of their internet. What you need to make sure is that you have a decent upstream at the venue that can handle pushing out the video to your streaming provider. The same applies if people are watching via Facebook et cetera. It's Facebook that will be reserving your content out to all of those relevant viewers.

So you don't have to panic thinking that you need hundreds of meg of internet connection. What you do need is a really reliable and hopefully a dedicated connection. So if you think of the free WiFi that the venue may be offering, you don't want to be sat on that free WiFi also streaming. So what we would recommend is that you have a wired connection of some sort so that's into a network and preferably into an internet connection which is separate to the freely available internet connection that your delegates will be connecting into. We'd also recommend that you test your streaming beforehand.

So test that particular internet connection and actually do some testing of changing cameras and all of that good stuff and streaming it out and watching it via the service that you're going to be using on the day. So run through those tests making sure there's no obvious glitches. Do you need to increase the amount of internet connectivity that you have? Do you need to change anything on the network. So make sure that all of those are done in advance.

Now the backup would be to make sure that you have a data plan of some sort. So can you temporarily use a tethered option using a data plan if the internet was to go down where you are or if the internet just isn't performing and with the advent of they should be pretty capable of allowing you to live stream your event. Make sure though that as part of your backup you have it in your terms for your live streaming that you can't promise it will always be perfect or always be accessible. And also you can then provide copies of the recordings at the end of your livestream anyway to anybody who did sign up to be able to watch the live stream, especially to those people who paid payment perfectly segues into the monetization aspect of live streaming. So let's take a look at first of all your digital tickets and then let's also unpack recordings.

First of all digital tickets so you will be able to sell digital access to your live streams. This is particularly useful for those who can't travel the distances or perhaps are travel restricted for whatever reason. To do this, practically you'd need to set up some sort of members area that only people who have purchased tickets will be able to log into and will then be able to access the page that has your live stream on it. There are a few other ways you can do this. Again to cut costs.

That could be a private Facebook group that you would stream inside of, or it could be an unlisted stream that would be available on YouTube and then again placed on some sort of membership page or private page that only those ticketed people will get access to. There are definitely some advantages for going down the social media track again because that would allow people to interact and have conversations whilst the live stream is happening. The other element of monetization would be the recordings. When you're doing the live streaming, if you are using one of these mixing desks then you have the advantage of good quality video with good quality sound and live mixed video. This means these videos are ready the minute they are finished to package up and then sell as content that people who couldn't make the event nor the livestream for them to enjoy.

This is also a wonderful value add to the people who did attend the event and also the people that did pay for live streaming because this will allow them to go back and draw more value from the content. This also doubles as a really good USP and offer on your registration page. People know they will attend the event either physically or virtually and they will then get access again on demand to the quality content that you'll be providing. Finally, let's look at some of the apps that you can use to live stream your event with. First let's describe how it works and then we'll talk about the software.

When you are presenting your live feed, you'll be presenting it out on a particular path to your streaming provider. Therefore your software needs to be able to take the video feeds and then push it out on that particular path. If you are using your smartphone or Mivo, all of that can be done within the smartphone or in the Mivo product. So there's no need to go any further or worry about any further services if you are presenting those on general social media. But if you are using a combination of cameras, your sound desk and a mixing desk at your event, then you'll need to consider what software to push your content out and to push it down that particular path.

I mentioned earlier that there is software that comes with the live streaming service and hardware from Vimeo. With a Vimeo live streaming service, there'll be a link in the Show Notes. There are also other options, for example OBS. Now, OBS is a free and open source piece of software that will run, I think, on multiple platforms and that allows you to take in your feeds and your audio, mix the two together. You can layer on images, graphics, et cetera, and then feed that out again to your social media service via the necessary path.

So this means you can push that out onto Facebook. If you're using Facebook Live, using the path that they provide you. What that does mean however, is you have to have set up all of the necessary protection either on your website or set up the private group that you're streaming to. So you can ensure that if you are locking your live stream down to only particular people, that you've got that covered. There are third party platforms online such as Hop In again a link in the Show Notes where you will be able to present your feed into their platform and you can then sell those tickets through their platform or provide access to people so they can enjoy your live feeds.

They work very similar to the social media platforms, but your content is going into their infrastructure and they are looking after the rest for you. If you want to use software that you already have, you could look at Zoom, maybe a Zoom webinar set up and having it your attendees join that webinar using the feed, setting up a virtual camera that will then broadcast that through your zoom software. And that gives the added benefit of people being able to have conversations and ask questions. Perhaps the most cost effective method would in fact be to use one of the free social media platforms, for example, an unlisted YouTube live feed, and then simply embed that on your website and use a password to protect that page. So for example, in our software event engine.

You can set a page to either require login or you can set a page to require a particular password that you will share with all of your attendees. So this just gets around having to use third party software as well as worrying about integration, et cetera, et cetera. So folks, this episode was all about giving you a flavour of how you can livestream your event. We've shared with you some of the stuff that we are doing, but also some of the alternatives that you could use. So let's do a recap.

We first of all talked about equipment and we covered Vision Sound as well as our live mixing. For vision, we talked about the options of a smartphone for your kind of entry level Mivo, which is a step up or having a professional camera team. For sound, we talked about some of the options for microphones or being able to hook into the sound system that is available at your venue. For live mixing, where you might be mixing multiple cameras and sound together to then stream out, we talked about a couple of options. One includes the Black Magic ATM mini as well as the Corsair stream deck.

Remember, all of these are linked as well in the show notes. For the actual streaming we said hey, take advantage of the free streaming that is available out there through the social media platforms, but alternatively as well, if you want to pay for something and get a little bit more of a guarantee, then we talked about the live streaming services that are available from Vimeo. We covered internet connection, we gave you some of those best Practises, as well as giving you an idea of what you could do for backup and also covering yourself should your internet go down and you can't fully live stream the whole thing. Then we moved on to monetization the selling of tickets, creating an area for people to access the stream as well as the USP of giving those recordings away to the people who had attended the physical event as well as people who had watched the live event as well. And there's quite a few different variations you can do on that.

You could allow people to watch the live for free and then sell recordings afterwards. There's a whole load of different monetization options, but they are there for you should you wish. And then finally we talked about some of the software that will enable you to do all of this. We talked about OBS, which is the software product. We talked about Hop Hidden which is an online service to allow you to do this.

We talked about using things that you might already be experienced with, like Zoom. And then finally we gave you a very easy to implement option which would be to embed your live stream on a page on your website and password protected. If that is going to be something you need to do for your ticket holder. So do you have questions? Please hit me up over on

Come and join me in the comments. Share with the community software that you have had experience with, third party streaming services you've had experiences with as well as hardware. All of that technology would be great to have this conversation. This episode was meant to get you thinking about what you could do to start livestreaming your event to add value, to get recordings to further monetize and so on. Folks, if we do not see you in the comments, we will see you in next week's episode.

Season 1

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs