Is attendance at your local government events suffering?
What if I told you there was a low cost solution to increase the turnout?
Welcome to the world of live video streaming. It’s a great way to engage your community in all kinds of government events. Low attendance is a thing of the past after you get started live streaming. To get you ready, I’ll tell you how to stream live video for government events in 7 easy steps.
Step 1: Choosing a professional streaming service
Step numero uno (one) on our journey starts with choosing a streaming service. A professional streaming platform is important for a number of reasons.
First, it will allow you to purchase bandwidth from them, a key component of streaming. If you don’t know what bandwidth is, it’s basically the level of traffic and data allowed to transfer from the internet to your site. You can never have too much bandwidth.
Signing up with a professional streaming service will allow you to purchase bandwidth. Sometimes it’s a set amount you chose from or you can buy as much as you need.
Some services will shut off your stream when you run out of bandwidth. Other services will charge based on the amount you go over or allow you to setup protective measures to buy more.
DaCast for example allows for an optional feature called overage protection which will automatically purchase bandwidth when you run out. Make sure you know what type of policy is in place for your streaming provider in the event you run out of bandwidth.
Second, depending on the service, you want to be live streaming over a professional Content Delivery Network (CDN). This will allow you to stream around the globe on a secure network.
Also, thanks to numerous servers located throughout parts of the world, it greatly reduces buffering and lag issues. A CDN is like your local outlet of Domino’s, you order from one place but it’s delivered from the nearest location. Servers won’t become congested with a large amount of viewers because once a server gets too full, it switches to another one.[Tweet “A CDN is like a local Domino’s, order from one place but it’s delivered from the nearest location.”]
Even if you have a world class CDN you need to make sure you have solid upload speeds. A slow upload speed will cause your live stream to be slow, choppy, and have poor quality. It’s always recommended you have 1 mbps (megabytes per second) upload to 2 mbps download speed!
The last thing I’ll mention about streaming service providers is the features. Most come with added characteristics that give your live stream more professionalism and can make your job easier. Some of these features include geo restricting, referrers, and social media embedding.
Step 2: Download and install encoder
An encoder is a program that takes inputs, like your camera, microphone, capture card and turns it into video that can be streamed. There are two types of encoders, software and hardware.
For your live stream, the encoder will be essential in capturing the proper movements and bring the quality of the audio up to a professional level.
Some encoders that I would recommend using for your live stream would be:
- Flash Media Live Encoder
- A free audio and video software encoder that stream audio and video in real time.
- A professional multi-format encoder software to live stream over integrated streaming services and CDNs.
Step 3: Test your equipment
One of the most important steps on the list, testing your equipment will greatly increase the success of your live stream. Always test your equipment, encoder, and other components before you hit the location.
Set up your computer first and run a test on your internet with testmy.net to make sure you have a solid upload speed.
For instance, you could find out the connection speed is too low of an upload speed to stream. Sometimes the network you are using is a shared connection, meaning the upload speed will only be a portion of what you want to use. Identifying these problems in advance will keep your finger off the panic button as you come up with a solution.
Next, you should test all of your equipment exactly how you will be live streaming. Use an end-to-end test which includes using the bandwidth, testing video and audio, and equipment. This is also a great time to test any backup plans you have to ensure that any problems can be thwarted and the broadcast isn’t compromised!
Step 4: Set up equipment
Now that you’ve got your professional service and encoder ready, it’s time to get your equipment set up. Try to stake out a comfortable spot, and one big enough for all the equipment (camera especially).
There are tons of different methods to setting up equipment. I’m going to explain one of the most preferred methods below.
Using the Flash Live Media Encoder and an external webcam is a simple setup but can stream good quality video. Plug in the webcam into your laptop’s USB port and launch the encoder. The encoder should pick up the webcam, and you are almost ready to go. Log in and open the streaming service platform you chose to finalize the process.
If you need an even more professional approach, you can use hardware encoders. These are a lot more expensive but are used by some of the pro’s in the industry. Teredek VidiU and NewTek TriCaster are two high-end encoders that come to mind.
Step 5: Wired connection & WiFi
Finding the best connection can sometimes be a difficult task when preparing to live stream. I always recommend connecting with a wired internet connection to greatly increase your internet reliability and connection strength.
Live streaming over a wired connection will prevent certain issues from occurring during your broadcast. On WiFi the signal can be blocked by a number of things leading to the connection fluctuating greatly.
Your laptop is also regularly searching for a WiFi connection even though it’s already connected! This can cause unstable signal strengths, which is the last thing you want when live streaming.
Step 6: Engage audience
Now that you have everything set up you’re ready to live stream. One of the most important parts of broadcasting is audience engagement.
A great way to engage your audience is through Q & A (Question & Answer) sessions after your live streams. Viewers will learn more about what’s important to them while feeling important by asking their own question. This can be especially useful in local government events. There are always people ready to ask questions or give their comments or concerns on policies. Give the floor to your audience and you will both learn a lot from the engagement.
If Q & A isn’t for you, or you’d like to add more; polls and surveys can be another great way to keep the attention of your audience while collecting key data. Poll questions can be created before the event and administered throughout the broadcast.
Surveys are generally completed at the end of the broadcast. Administering them at the end allows minimal descriptions during the event. The survey allows you to ask more in-depth questions and usually take longer to complete than the polling questions.
Step 7: Create Video on Demand (VoD) packages
Even though you finished your event your job isn’t over just yet. Saving the live video to convert them into VoD packages will let you keep track of all your events. . The videos can then be viewed at your audiences convenience. It will also be easy for your viewers to watch the streams over again in case they missed something or their a new follower.
It’s a very easy process with an encoder and streaming service platform. While live streaming in the encoder, save it to your hard drive. Then using a platform like DaCast you can upload the video and it will be converted in a VoD where you can then embed it in to your website. You can also create packages if you have lots of videos at your disposal.
Now armed with the appropriate steps for live streaming, your local government can properly cover community events. Live streaming can help keep your community informed and hopefully keep them more engaged in what is happening.
A professional streaming service will be key to setting up and running a successful live stream. Bandwidth, a real CDN and tons of features are all important reasons for using a streaming service platform. Don’t forget, testing your equipment multiple times is a must! Create ways to get the audience engaged and give feedback on your broadcasts.
Good luck and as always leave some comments below with any questions or concerns.
By: Nick Small. Want more? Add me on Google+.