Professional broadcasters have high standards for video production. There are good reasons for this. When you’re investing a great deal of time, money, and effort into video productions, you want to be absolutely sure things go off without a hitch. This article addresses one particular aspect of live video production–the question of when and why you might want to create a live stream recording of your event.
You can do successful live stream recording in a variety of different ways. Likewise, there are a wide range of reasons you might choose to record a live streamed event. In this essay, we’ll look at common approaches to recording your live broadcasts. We’ll also briefly cover the offerings from major OVPs (online video platform) for live stream recording of events. Finally, we’ll discuss possible reasons for recording while live streaming, as well as uses for your recorded events.
Why do live stream recording of events?
There are a number of advantages to live stream recording. We’ll introduce them briefly here, then discuss them in more detail later in this post. These reasons include:
- Saving footage for backups
- Using recordings for promo reels, advertisements, etc.
- Continuing engagement after live events have ended
- Generating revenue via on-demand video
With those motivations in mind, let’s turn now to a discussion of methods for recording live broadcasts.
Methods for live stream recording of events
One of the simplest ways to record live stream events is to do so on-site directly via your encoder. (You can read more about live stream encoding software, if you’re not familiar with how encoders work.) How you do live stream recording for your event depends on the encoding method you choose.
Direct recording via encoding software
If you’ve chosen a software encoder package running on a laptop or desktop computer, you can set-up stream recording on your internal or networked drives. However, this approach requires that you have two things: spare processing power and disk space. Let’s look at each of those components briefly.
First, streaming solutions require a good deal of processing power. Simultaneously transcoding your stream into a commonly recorded format (i.e. MP4) can tax mid-range computer hardware. A powerful machine should be able to tackle this task. At DaCast, we recommend eight or more GB of RAM and a modern i7 processor if you intend to record directly.
The second thing you will need is disk space. Video recording takes up a great deal of space. Depending on the encoder you use, recordings saved directly to local drives will encode in the format sent from the camera.
Often, this file is at a much higher bitrate than the online stream. As a result, you’ll need considerable storage space. For a multi-hour event, that’s easily hundreds of gigabytes. Multi-terabyte hard drives may be necessary. Factors affecting this requirement include recording resolution, audio quality, frame rate, and other settings that affect the bitrate.
Live stream recording via a hardware encoder
With a hardware encoder, live stream recording may be a somewhat different process. You’ll need to explore your encoder settings to determine if this is possible.
Some hardware encoders feature internal disk space to which you can save content. Some, like the Matrox Monarch HD, are optimized for this usage. Others may require you to plug in an external hard drive on which to record your content.
Some hardware encoders don’t support simultaneous live stream recording at all. Before depending on a hardware encoder to record your live stream for you, consult the manual to make sure it’s possible.
Recording via online video platform (OVP)
The other main way to do live stream recording is to record via your online video platform (i.e., streaming provider, like DaCast). Your streaming platform may or may not offer this feature. For exampe, some video hosting platforms either don’t offer live stream recording, or don’t offer live streaming solutions at all. Make sure to review all the features for the platform and plan you have before trying to record your live streams.
When available, the ability to record live streams via a streaming service is usually as simple as enabling an option via your settings menu. You may also need to enable streaming for the specific live stream/channel that you plan to record.
There are a few advantages to recording via one of the professional live streaming platforms (like DaCast). For one, the processing power for transcoding locally isn’t required, nor is the storage space. This approach also means that you don’t have to worry about local disk failures. Why not? OVPs record to redundant RAID-based servers.
Potential disadvantages of live stream recording via an OVP
However, there are disadvantages to this option as well. The main disadvantage is that your OVP can only record live streams in the highest quality of content you send to the platform. Since you’re likely significantly compressing your video between the camera and streaming to the internet, you can lose a great deal of quality here. This is especially true for broadcast-quality cameras, which may record at 30+ Mbps. From there, video files must be compressed down to 5 Mbps or less for streaming.
However, for most users these aren’t insurmountable issues. Unless you’re worried about doing a lot of video editing in post, files recorded online should be of sufficient quality for many uses. Even professional broadcasters who are recording locally may wish to enable cloud live stream recording to have an automatic off-site backup.
Auto-archiving via the DaCast platform
Let’s look at one specific example of the DaCast OVP. DaCast is an online video platform that offers hosting for both live streaming and on-demand video content. We also offer a beta-version of an auto-archiving feature. This great feature makes it simple to record live stream events with minimal extra effort.
To use this feature, simply sign up for a DaCast account, if you don’t have one already. Within your DaCast account, turning on the auto-archiving feature is easy. Here’s how:
- Log into your DaCast account, which automatically re-directs you to your Dashboard.
- Create a new live streaming channel. For existing channels on which you’d like to enable auto-archiving, click “Publish Settings.” [Note that only channels with the following settings are supported at this time: HTML5 channel type, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, maximum bitrate 3.5 Mbps, and channel status set to “on.”]
- Click the “Auto Archiving” slider to toggle it to the “on” position.
Your account will now automatically record each live stream you do, unless you decide to disable this feature.
Note that live stream recording counts toward your bandwidth usage equal to one user at your maximum bitrate. Also, individual files must be two hours in length, or less. If your stream runs over two hours, our system will divide your stream into multiple parts.
Auto-archived live stream recordings save to the “Video On Demand” portion of your account. These files are in mP4 format. Once recorded, you can share, embed, monetize, and download to advance your broadcasting goals.
To learn more about how to record your live stream with DaCast, check out this auto-archiving video tutorial:
Live stream recording with other OVPs
Other platforms, including Vimeo Live (Livestream) and Wowza, also offer live stream recording functionality. Both of these providers also output files in the MP4 format, and files are archived in your account. IBM Cloud Video has a similar functionality.
When it comes to the ability to record live stream video, however, each platform is a bit different.
Some have unique features, and some are easier to use than others. For most users, pricing plans also factor into the equation. For example, a highly powerful feature isn’t helpful if it significantly undercuts your bottom line.
The takeaway: make sure to investigate your OVP provider options fully before committing to a given video platform.
How to make the most of live stream recording
In today’s world, video is a significant asset. In fact, we recommend that any business, organization, or individual think of high-quality previously recorded video content like solid gold. You need to manage it properly to get returns, yet you don’t want to simply toss it out. Instead, put it to focused and advantageous use.
For example, consider the NBA. The NBA generates the majority of its revenue via live broadcasts on TV. However, it also records all live streamed content and makes it available to subscribers. This extends its revenue and makes true fans very happy. Live stream recording allows fans to watch every game from their favorite teams on their own time.
On that note, we highly recommend not skimping when it comes to video backups. Storage is cheap these days, and we strongly suggest that you save all of your video broadcasts. It’s a pretty simple rule, one that pays off in the case of unexpected issues or file losses.
In short, live streams are just the beginning of the assets of video. Once you’ve recorded a live stream, you can do so much with that recorded content. We’ve already mentioned some of the options above. Now, let’s dive into some other applications of live stream recording in more detail.
Reach new audiences
Perhaps the biggest advantage to live stream recording for events is the ability to reach new audiences.
With live events, this becomes especially valuable. Due to scheduling conflicts and other issues, it’s likely that no more than a small portion of your total potential audience can tune in to a given live event in real time. Given that reality, you can easily double, triple, or quadruple your total audience by creating a recording.
Furthermore, recordings allow you to reach people whose internet isn’t fast enough to handle live streamed events. With proper buffering, download offerings, or even DVD/USB stick-based files, you can expand your reach to almost everyone.
Give viewers a second chance to watch
Another key reason to do live stream recording is to give viewers a second chance to watch. Case in point: a fan of a non-profit at which I volunteer recently contacted me. He told me that he had watched one of our programs more than 20 times! All of these views took place after the initial live stream of the event in question.
In fact, making live streams available is particularly beneficial to your biggest fans. Cultivating these dedicated followers is an asset; they are the viewers most likely to watch your live stream recording multiple times. True fans can be extremely powerful, and live stream recording can help you to capitalize on this potential.
Extend revenue generation
Of course, one of the main goals of many video creators is to generate revenue. If this is your approach, making video recordings can greatly impact your bottom line.
As we noted above, it’s likely that the majority of views for any given program will occur after the live event. However, that’s only possible if you make the content available. To extend your revenue generation (both in terms of time-span and total sales brought in), it makes good business sense to do live stream recording.
There are a number of ways to generate revenue through video monetization. Most common is the rental/download model, by which viewers can watch your content if they pay a one-time fee (pay per view). It’s also possible to give out sales, coupons, or free viewership tokens to individuals of your choice. Finally, a third option is to bundle access to multiple past programs into a subscription model. This can be a great approach to capitalize on the fan base you do have in order to generate a sustainable revenue.
Last but not least, other great use cases for previous footage include commercials, promo reels, and demonstrations of your past work. Even if the old video footage is worthless in its own right, it can be valuable as “b-roll” or background shots.
In my own video editing, I often use footage from previous events to create a montage. This way, I can illustrate the efforts of a certain company or organization. A rapid series of cuts showing various events, speakers, gatherings, and other pre-recorded content can communicate a great deal in a short time.
Yes, it may eat up storage space, but video is valuable! We can’t over-emphasize this point enough. The more viewers want to watch your video content, the more valuable it becomes. If for no other reason than the possibility of future use, we highly recommend keeping old stream recordings around for the long-term.
After reading this article, I hope it’s clear that live stream recording for events is a smart move, in multiple ways. As we’ve discussed, video recordings are adept at reaching new audiences, extending engagement, and galvanizing your true fans. They can also improve revenue generation and impact your bottom line.
We’ve covered this value proposition, and we’ve also discussed the various ways to record live streams. Live stream recording approaches differ depending on whether you use a pro OVP, like DaCast, or an encoder. However, no matter what method you choose, recording is important. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “set it and forget it.” That way, you’ll have a high-quality recording waiting for you after every broadcast.
Are you recording your live streams? Why or why not? Which method(s) do you use? Have you had any notable successes or failures? We’d love to hear from you! After all, we know that many of our readers are experienced live streamers themselves. Drop us a note in the comment section, and we’ll get back to you.
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Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your broadcasts and recordings!
By Max Wilbert.