Trick to Successfully Live-Streaming an Event?

Hire professionals!

No kidding.  For a while, my previous startup ran a few live-streamed events and can tell you it’s hard stuff to get right.

A few months ago, my team was asked to capture HD video and live-stream the entire day for an “Access to Capital” event in Downtown LA.  Theoretically, my team could have tried to take this on, but we were super busy with the event and didn’t have the experience to do it right.

I reached out to some video folks who reached out to some folks who connected me up with the Livestream team.  I have been using the Livestream for a long time to host our live video streams, but didn’t know they had the ability to handle the production side of things.

Anyway, they rocked the boat.  While they’re may be cheaper options out there, I’ve never dealt with a live-streaming team that was so professional and on top of all the details.  When they asked, I was more than happy to throw a positive testimonial their way… which a friend just pointed out to me in an email is now live on their site: Livestream Plans.

Livestream testimonial

If you’re curious to see the quality level they we got from the Livestream production team, we chopped up the video to highlight the various panels from the day and posted them here: Want Funding? Let The Experts Guide You!

What’s Behind a Successful Interactive Video Event?

I’ve had a blast over the past year putting together the CredibilityLIVE events with our team at DandB team. We’ve been able to bring some great guests to our small business community including:

As I prepare for this Thursday’s event with Brian Tracy (How to Overcome Professional Obstacles and Grow your Business), I’ve been thinking (and documenting) the different pieces that go into creating a successful interactive video event…  and thought it might be interesting to share some marketing and production tips that go into making a successful event. .

 

Marketing/Promotion

Of course, getting people to show up for an event is not as easy as you might think, even for free events with great guests.  So what have we been doing that works? 

With each event, we always look for our strengths.  Does the guests bring a natural audience?   Is it something that would appeal to the DandB email database?  Is this something we can get people excited about through social outreach and/or social ads?   Is there anything unique we can bring to the marketing?

For example, for this upcoming event, Brain Tracy recorded an intro video.  Because he has a great studio at his offices, this was a no-brainer for his team to create and I think makes a great case for joining us:

This was a great “extra” piece of marketing we did for this last event and something I know we’ll do more of in the future!   Of course, developing the marketing/promotion plan is not all that hard… It’s all about executing to get people to show up and that’s something that should never be discounted!

Productions

The production behind these events isn’t trivial either… especially as our events have grown we’ve increased the quality of each event as we’ve progressed.   While early events were recorded over Skype, our last round have all been done in studios… most done with multiple cameras, teleprompters, green screens and often streamed on location!

The real trick with the production of a live-streaming event is to test, test and test some more. Test (and retest) the upload speed of the internet connection.  If you’re running multiple cameras, test that your “hub” can handle it during event settings.  If there’s natural lighting involved, make sure to test the lighting at the time when you’ll be streaming. If you’re in running a green screen, test what everyone is going to be wearing. During a live event, you can’t always know what’s going to go wrong, but at least you can minimize the chances of technical problems if you test, test and test some more!

While running a live video event isn’t trivial, it also isn’t nearly as complex as you might expect.  I’ve got some great software (Wirecast) that runs on my Macbook Pro and can create quality video shots (including shots from multiple cameras, screen grabs and more) and push them directly to our streaming service providers (some popular ones are LiveStream, uStream and Justin.tv).   Throw in a tool like Facebook’s Live Stream that lets people chat in real time while watching the video and you’ve got yourself a very compelling set up!

The best part of these events really is the interaction with prominent educators, thought leaders and business executives.   It’s always fun to see where the audience is going to take a conversation!

Hope that gives just a taste of some of the marketing and production work that goes into creating our events.   If you haven’t seen one of our live events, then definitely sign up to attend our next event with Brian Tracy.  He’s a great speaker and we’ll be running it out of his studios near San Diego, so there’s sure to be tons  of great value (and did I mention it’s free?)…

Photos from my CredLIVE trip to DC

I’m just finishing up a great trip to Washington DC where I came out to manage the production of a CredibiltyLIVE event with the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

Since I mentioned how much I enjoy taking and editing photos with my iPhone 4S in my last blog post, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from this trip.

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
"In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever"
Lincoln's Stare
Lincoln
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Behind the Scenes with the AP Video Production team
Behind the Scenes with the AP Video Production team
Hutch Hutchison & Steve Cox on CredLIVE
Hutch Hutchison & Steve Cox on CredLIVE
Washington Monument
Washington Monument #1
Washington Monument #2
Washington Monument #2
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
White House
White House

Capturing the Hallway Conversations at NAR

Last Friday one of my companies, Spinnio, ran a live video chat with David Arquette at his Propr Clothing store that was hosted by Shira Lazar. It was so much fun with the two of them (and the many guests that walked into the store during the event) that it’s inspired me to do something similar at NAR this year.

Spinnio at NARMy hope is to create a place to capture some of the most interesting banter of a conference… i.e. the hallway conversations…and then invite you’all to take part. So, I recruited a partner in crime with the plan being that we’re going to stream live video conversations to Spinnio.com throughout the weekend (starting at RE BarCamp San Diego).

And if you want to take part in our conversations, I’ve set it up so you can ask questions and leave comments directly on the Spinnio page using either Facebook or Twitter. In other words, we’re not only going to do mobile video, but we’re bringing in the two most popular social networks so you can take part from anywhere in the world.

The only catch with this operation, is that I have no idea when we’re actually going to turn the cameras on… (although I expect it to be often). So if you want to be notified, make sure to follow Spinnio on twitter, where we’ll do our best to give some head’s up! (Won’t hurt to also make sure you’re following @tyr and @ribeezie since I’m sure we’ll be letting people know through those accounts as well)

And finally, if you know someone who should get some time on Spinnio (maybe you!), let me know. As I “confirm” guests for specific times, I’ll update this post!

UPDATE
Ricardo and I are going to use a shared google calendar in order to track guests and allow you to see who we’ve scheduled and when. Here it is:

Having way too much fun with Facebook video streaming…

RCG screencapture
I’ve been playing pretty hard with Facebook streaming video this week… including an interesting movie promotion. However, because I’m playing with a new Facebook chat feature through RCG’s Facebook Connect, I decided to post about it over there, so please check out this post on RCG: Live Video Streams on RCG? With Facebook Chat?

Geeking with Gmail

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately as I’ve been just swamped with work.   The work is really good stuff and I’ve been getting my hands dirty in all kinds of interesting projects.   I’m not ready to say who any of my clients are, but I’ve currently got some really interesting clients (almost none of whom are in the real estate space) and loving the work.

Anyway, for reasons I’m not ready to get into, I’ve been playing with Seesmic for the past few days and having a lot of fun with it.   If you don’t know, Seesmic is an online video community where folks get together to chat.  The potential is pretty darn high and it really doesn’t take long to connect to other folks.

All of which leads me to the video that I just posted on Seesmic…    I called it Geeking with Gmail and spend a few minutes talking about how I’ve been using gmail to keep my email-life organized.  Maybe you’ll find it interesting/helpful.

Geeking with GmailGiving some tips… and looking for your ideas.

And because I mention it in the video, here’s a link where  you can sign up for the free hosted version of Google App.

By the way, if you have a webcam and want to test Seesmic out, things are set up so that you only need to leave a video comment on this post to take part! (Click on the “Add a video comment with Seesmic” option at the bottom of this post!)