So you've decided to record your conference talks, you've answered these 3 important questions but don't know if you should make the jump to livestreaming?
We chatted with Cooper, of Administraitor Video, who has recorded thousands of talks for conferences around the world. He breaks down what questions you should ask your venue, what you need to livestream and benefits of a slight delay.
💻 Connection, Consistency & Priority
Cooper: Usually the big question that organizers have is about livestreaming because it’s perceived as a sexy thing.
Nobody’s going to remember a successful livestream. But everybody’s going to remember when it went sour.
Taylor: How do you decide if livestreaming is possible or not? Is it just a simple bandwidth test?
Cooper: In my case, since I’m bringing a full PC into the room, I need 10-megabit uplink and a wired connection. I do not want to be on the Wi-Fi network, because that means I become dependent upon the attendees not using a lot of internet.
I usually recommend the event prioritizes the traffic from my machines over the rest of the traffic because my traffic is real-time sensitive. For them to be able to do this, they need to know the MAC address of the network adapter that you’re using, so that on the network they can identify the traffic as being from me.
One conference they bought a fixed internet bundle and couldn’t prioritize my traffic over the rest, so the audience being excited about a talk meant the livestream went down.
Taylor: The better the talk, the worst the livestream went?
Cooper: Yep. Sometimes with some fun conferences they make a point of putting me on a separate network, away from the hackers, because people might go and scan and say, “Hey, that’s an interesting box. Let’s see what we can do with that. Oh, hey, it’s the video rig. Nice!”
Taylor: Is that 10 megabit per stage? So if I have three stages, I have to ask for 30 megs?
Cooper: Yep and that is continuous. Consistency is the important bit. There was a conference in Luxembourg that had really good network but not stable.
✨ Benefits for Livestream Delay
Cooper: For the Luxembourg conference I suggested as soon as the talk was over I immediately start editing it on my laptop. My workflow only takes me about five to ten minutes - and then I’m uploading before the next talk is over. For most people that is more than good enough.
If you livestream there is no time to really clean up the signal. If you’ve got like a professional setup, with a professional audio engineer, and some proper video people, they can do all that on the fly but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg and five people running the show. If it’s just me and the audio signal isn’t very great, well, that’s what’s going online.
But with a delay, I can edit it, clean up the audio, that it all sounds good, and upload it. That means you walk off the stage having given a talk, and within an hour your talk is online and exactly as it’s supposed to be.
That is, for pretty much every conference, if they’re not entirely sure that they can deliver the network, this is more than good enough.
💡 Get Creative When Problems Occur
Taylor: Are there any troubleshooting or ideas to prevent a poor livestream experience?
Cooper: I’ve had an experience with a hotel that charged the equivalent of a modern sedan for a day of network, at not even spectacular speeds and the event planner wasn’t willing to pay that. So instead we worked out who the admin was and bribed him with alcohol.
Taylor: You gotta do what you gotta do! So how do event planners find out ahead of time that they can properly support livestreaming? Do most venues know this ahead of time?
Cooper: It’s a normal question to ask. You say, “We need this amount of bandwidth reliably. Can you give it to us?” And they will say, “Well, yes, and that will cost you so much.”
In one case at a conference in Singapore, we said, “Well, that’s too much money,” and we went out to a telephony store. Turns out in Singapore, the 4G network was much more advanced than landlines. I tethered my phone to the 4G network and livestreamed over that because it was that reliable.
Taylor: Wow! That’s amazing. And that went pretty well?
Cooper: It went flawless.