How to Video and Stream Graduation Ceremonies
The spring season always brings another class of students graduating from schools of all types. For many people, this season marks the end of a long journey, an incredible effort, and a turning point in life. For students and their families, everything afterward will be different from what came before. Of course, most schools mark these momentous annual events with graduation ceremonies. These special events provide an opportunity for students to receive praise for their efforts and achievements. In addition, family and friends can participate in welcoming new graduates to the next phase of their lives.
As with all live events, however, a longstanding issue with any graduation ceremony is that some loved ones will be unable to attend. Whether due to financial hardship, physical disability, prior commitments, or distance, some people are bound to miss the ceremony. And that’s why knowing how to stream graduation ceremonies live is such a game-changer! In short, live streaming can ensure that no one misses out on the big day.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of how to live-stream graduation ceremonies. First, we’ll cover special considerations for this particular kind of event. In addition, we’ll cover technical requirements to ensure a successful live broadcast for all your viewers. Finally, we’ll briefly mention the role of pro streaming solutions (like Dacast) for getting the job done right. Let’s jump right in!
Filming a Graduation Ceremony: Camera Considerations
With a camera and the right setup, even low-tech users can learn how to stream graduation ceremonies live over the internet. In fact, the ability to stream live video has changed a great deal in recent years. In part, this is due to ever-faster internet speeds and the availability of high-definition cameras for mainstream users. Today, live online video streaming is not only feasible but also affordable.
In addition, broadcasters can now stream graduation ceremonies’ lives using relatively simple technology. In short, it’s becoming more and more common and accessible to use live streaming at graduations.
With all that said, a graduation ceremony is generally a large, confusing event. As such, it can be difficult to film effectively if you’re new to the game. To capture good quality footage, you’ll want to consider a few major factors. Let’s examine these in turn, starting with visibility.
The first consideration relates to the sightlines to the stage for your camera(s). As this is where most of the action takes place, you may also want to be able to swing your camera or have a second camera in place. That way, you can cover the audience as well as graduates walking up to the stage to receive their diplomas.
Furthermore, this setup will allow you to cut away during the ceremony (if you have a live mixer) or during editing (for the on-demand, recorded version of the show). In other words, you can capture audience reactions, applause, and other interesting details that help set the scene. This will give your ultimate broadcast a much more lifelike and engaging feel.
To locate good sightlines and camera setup locations, you need to scout out the event venue beforehand. In fact, it’s best to arrive well before the event begins (we’re talking days) in case you need to purchase any additional equipment. When choosing camera locations, consider the issue of crowds. For example, the location may appear as an open corridor now. But when hundreds or thousands of people have arrived, will it still be accessible?
One of the main challenges when it comes to recording large events like a graduation ceremony is the audio component. Unlike filming in a small room, recording audio using the built-in microphone on your camera probably won’t yield good results at a large-scale event.
Instead, you’ll need to connect your sound input (or a separate audio recorder—or both, for redundancy) to the PA system. This is the system through which the master of ceremonies and any students who speak during the event will project.
In general, you can jack into a PA system for recording purposes using XLR cables, which are the gold standard for professional audio.
When you’re planning your audio setup, don’t forget to consider crowd noise. You may want to keep it as absent as possible from your recording. Alternatively, you may want to add some of the sound—applause and cheering especially—for flavor and authenticity.
To successfully stream graduation ceremonies, you’ll also need a location to stage your equipment while you film. This includes not just video cameras and tripods but also a computer or encoding device for live streaming, cables, storage cases, and other gear. It can be hard to track down open space during big events, so plan ahead (and make friends with the event organizers)!
Live Stream Graduation Ceremonies: Key Components
That’s enough on the basics of camerawork for a graduation ceremony. Next, let’s examine issues around live streaming in particular.
In any live streaming situation, perhaps the most important consideration is bandwidth. For a standard video connection, you will need an internet connection capable of reaching sustained upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps (that’s megabits, not megabytes).
Generally, you’ll want your internet upload speed to test at about double the bitrate of your planned broadcast. Also, you’ll want to consider issues like network congestion. For example, let’s say you plan to use the public network to broadcast a graduation ceremony. In that case, chances are that hundreds or thousands of people in the audience are using the same networks to post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as to send emails and videos to other family members.
All of this concurrent activity can clog the connection and slow speeds to a crawl. And this, in turn, can completely ruin a live stream graduation experience for viewers.
Internet Connection Recommendations
But not to worry! There are ways to mitigate these potential internet traffic concerns. First, create an alternate plan for live streaming instead of simply relying on 4G cell networks or public Wi-Fi. We recommend that you look into the possibility of running an Ethernet cable from a nearby dedicated network access point. This will provide high speeds (provided that the network can handle the traffic) with low latency.
Another option to consider is a cellular bonding device. In fact, many broadcast television stations use this approach for outdoor live streaming to their stations. These devices do require that you subscribe to data plans from a variety of cell providers, which is expensive and time-consuming. However, they can aggregate multiple network connections (including Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections) to provide a fast and robust network connection in nearly any location.
Whatever internet access option you choose, make sure to test it thoroughly before the event begins. We can’t emphasize this enough! As with all live-streamed events, significant prep work and backup plans can make all the difference.
Choosing a Live Stream Video Host
Finally, you’ll want to consider a live streaming video host for your live stream graduation ceremony. There are lots of different streaming platforms out there, and it pays off to do a little research into features, cost, and tech support.
Your chosen host will provide the technical backend for delivering your video via a network of high-speed, worldwide servers like Dacast does with Akamai CDN (content delivery network). That way, you can be guaranteed your viewers have the best possible experience (with minimal buffering, jittering, or dropped frames).
And there you have it! In this blog post, we’ve walked you through equipment considerations and key live streaming components to stream graduation ceremonies live. We hope you’re feeling confident and ready to try out your new knowledge in the real world.
If you’re looking to narrow down your list of possible streaming solutions, we recommend that you check out our services here at Dacast. We are proud to offer some of the most professional, affordable, and full-featured in the live streaming industry. But you don’t have to take our word for it. In fact, we offer a 14-day free trial (no credit card required). Sign up below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes!
Also, for exclusive offers and live streaming tips, you’re invited to join our LinkedIn group. Finally, leave your comments and questions below and we’ll get back to you. We love to hear from our readers!
Thanks for reading, and congratulations to all the 2019 graduates!