As social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have developed live recording, it has been common for anyone to simply grab their cellphone and start rolling during an event. The results are usually a shaky picture and subpar sound.
Working in broadcast I went live via satellite or captured microwave shots when I was at WXMI FOX17 on a daily basis for two years. Fast forward five years: now when I see what cell phone users are doing with this new technology, I usually cringe at the results, and keep scrolling past those Facebook pages that have bad streaming content. Not many will stay on a page and watch a livestream unless it has clear video and crisp sound.
At Sabo PR, I’ve found a new tool for streaming live, with HD quality video and clear sound using a portable HDMI connection called Elgato Cam Link,which connects our videocamera to a laptop. The results are stunning for going live via Facebook or Twitter with a stable 1080 HD quality picture with high-quality sound that rivals any professional broadcast.
Here are some tips for shooting live:
Promote before you broadcast: It’s important to let your audience know about your upcoming live video with advance news feed posts. Facebook Live allows you to target your personal network, the fans of a business page (if you’re an admin), a group or an event. If your live video is important enough, you can boost your announcement posts as paid Facebook ads. Then be sure to remind your audience again right before you go live.
Prepare and Practice:
Before you broadcast your live video, you need to do some preparation to ensure that viewers will be able to hear you clearly without distraction. Scout your location ahead of time to listen for background noise, observe lighting conditions and finalize the shooting location. Also make sure you have access to a strong broadband connection.
Day of event:
- Always mount the camera on a sturdy tripod.
- Tap into the sound board or mult box if there is one. Otherwise mic the podium if there are multiple speakers or use an individual wireless mic if there’s one speaker who plans on moving around.
- Always monitor your sound and watch your levels to make sure they aren’t too low or too hot, or distorted.
- Always use an AC connection on your camera and laptop to make sure the battery won’t die in the middle of a broadcast. Always record in camera as a backup while going live. You might want it later.
- Always try to use a real videocamera instead of a DSLR. This is mostly due to their flexibility when it comes to focal length and their ability to record long durations without stopping.
- If you simply must shoot on a DSLR, do your research. Some modern DSLRs will stop recording after a certain duration, which can have disastrous consequences. DSLRs are also pretty difficult to keep steady while zooming, focusing and tracking a subject.
- Always set the correct white balance. Funky color is never fun to look at.
- Zoom sparingly. No one likes to watch crazy camera work. Plus, editing zoom-y footage after the event is never fun.
- Only use manual focus. Using autofocus during live events may seem like a good idea in theory, but cameras are notoriously bad at focusing on subjects under stage lights. If you leave autofocus on, it will search every time your subject moves.
- Never trust the auto exposure setting. Camera meters can be fooled by event lighting, which has a tendency to blow out the highlights, so you need to make sure everything looks correct and stays that way.
Facebook recommends that live videos last at least 10 minutes, but you can go as long as 90 minutes.
Before you stream from a videocamera to Facebook Live for the first time, consider doing a practice run. To get all of the practice time you need, set Facebook’s Who Should See This? privacy setting to Only Me. You’ll see the live video exactly as it will appear, but no one else will.
Remember, Facebook doesn’t allow business pages to post to a group or event, so you’ll need to use a personal account in those instances. You can remind your audience about your company association in posts and during the video.
To launch your live video, open the Facebook app and go to the personal, business, group or event page that you want to target. Tap to start a new post and look for the “live” icon at the bottom of the screen. In Android, the “live” icon is at the far right.
Tap the “live” icon and then provide a short description of your video. Put on your SEO hat and create a catchy description that humans and bots will like – and that algorithms will be able to parse successfully.
Android users launch a live video through the icon on the far right of the Post dialogue screen. Don’t forget to change the setting back to Public when you’re done.
Hopefully these tips will elevate everyone’s viewing experience when you want to go live for your event. Of course, if you’d rather just give us a call we can do all this for you.