How to Live Stream a Hybrid or Virtual Event Like a Pro
Video has disrupted the world, and there is no going back. More and more people rely on the internet to get their news, seek entertainment, and, more recently, attend events.
A significant impact of the Corona pandemic was that most events, including church sermons, tradeshows, expos, and even concerts, went virtual. As a result, there was a massive transformation in live streaming technologies, making it central to all types of events. Yet many businesses and even marketers find it challenging to understand the technical bit of live streaming.
Not everyone knows how live streaming works, and understandably so, many things happen in the background to broadcast a 4K live feed to your iPhone. Luckily, you can get the hang of it with the proper guidance. But first things first.
What is live streaming?
Live streaming offers a way to capture and broadcast content in real-time to your audience through the internet. It allows you to transmit live video to your audience anywhere worldwide so long as they have an internet-enabled device.
According to a report by Cisco, streaming live content is becoming popular and accounts for 13% of global internet traffic. And for good reasons.
Unlike TV, anyone can now create their content and share it with the world, where you can only be a spectator. Having immediate access to live stream events is also attractive to many people as all they need is the internet. Aside from that, live stream content is authentic as there are no edits, and you can comment in real-time.
The difference between virtual, hybrid, and physical event
Physical events had always been the norm before the Coronavirus pandemic that saw many lockdowns and travel restrictions. Event organizers had to find other ways to bring people together through virtual and hybrid events. Understanding the differences between these three and their benefits can help you pick the most appropriate event.
- Physical events– These are in-person events you can only attend if you are at the venue. Physical events are unmatched when building a community or relationships as people can physically interact. They are also attractive to attendees if you have a line-up of some revered speakers. In-person events offer a memorable way to connect with your audience and engage in activities such as team building.
- Virtual events– You can choose to host a virtual or live event online fully. Event organizers used live streaming and recorded content to create an immersive experience for their audience. Virtual events may take the form of webinars, conferences, online meetings, or webcasts. Hosts can allow attendees to the network by submitting questions to the speaker, creating chat rooms, or engaging one-on-one with each other.
- Hybrid events– You get a mix of virtual and in-person guests with hybrid events. Some of your attendees will physically attend the event, while others will tune in virtually through the internet. The main goal of hosting a mixed event is to offer your online attendees the same experience and engagement as your physical hosts. The physical can interact and network, but only if you use the right platforms.
The benefits of virtual and hybrid events
Both virtual and hybrid events offer unique benefits, and it is prudent to review the different benefits of each before choosing one that suits your needs.
Merits of virtual events
Perhaps one of the main benefits of a virtual event is its massive online reach. A physical event will limit your guest list depending on the size of the location, but a virtual event doesn’t know such limits. You need enough bandwidth to host all your attendees, and you can easily explore new frontier markets.
Virtual events also work well when you need comprehensive data collection and analysis. Yes, you have spent weeks, if not months, on your event. But how do you determine if it was successful? A virtual event allows you to capture valuable data and get instant feedback from your audience.
Another reason to consider a virtual event is its accessibility. Your hosts do not have to cancel their plans or travel miles to attend your event. Instead, they can do it in the comfort of their homes and still benefit from the event.
Merits of hybrid events
Hybrid events have better engagement as compared to virtual events. It is impossible to downplay the importance of personal contact during an event. Anyone who wishes to attend the meeting in person can do so with a hybrid event while others follow it virtually.
A combination of in-person and online attendance boosts the reach of hybrid events. You have to fill your venue with guests and have thousands of other attendees tune in online. The good thing is that you can set up an affordable and smaller venue for those that want to attend while getting enough bandwidth to accommodate your online following.
A hybrid event can also give you some flexibility in hosting your events. Flexibility is essential, mainly due to coronavirus restrictions that can arise at any time. Your guests or speakers can easily swap their in-person tickets for virtual tickets if there are any health concerns or restrictions.
How to live stream an event?
Live streaming allows you to broadcast the live feed of your event to your online community. You can sell tickets like a physical event and have your guests tune in online for an immersive experience. It can also come in handy when you need to build a connection with your online audience. About 75% of businesses use live streaming to engage with their client base, according to a BrandLive survey.
But live streaming is not a preserve for businesses only. Everyone can now fire up their cameras and stream a live event as long as they have an idea of what they are doing. Working with professionals is a sure way to ensure that your live stream event is perfect. They will help you set up, have the best equipment, and will even help you avoid common mistakes that novices make. Your event will be much better if you worked with people who have been at it for years.
What equipment do you need?
You probably won’t need much if you are a beginner setting up a live stream. A camera, an encoder, good lighting, quality mic for audio, and high-speed internet should be enough to start you off. You’ll also need to think about your live streaming platform that will broadcast your live stream.
Remember that your audience will judge you harshly if you have excellent camera quality and poor audio quality. Don’t just rely on the in-built mic from your camera, but get a high-quality microphone.
Live stream your event in 5 easy steps.
It is time to fire up your camera and reach your online audience now that you have everything you need to live stream an event. Following these steps will get you up and running in no time.
Set up audio and video sources–The first step to take is to connect both your video and audio sources to your setup, which is often your PC. You will then link to a hardware encoder or a capture card for software encoders.
Calibrate your encoder setting- It is crucial to configure your encoder setting before you even start shooting. This is relatively easy if you are using a software encoder, as you will change the settings in the software. For hardware encoders, get the relevant app or web UI. The three things to check include your video resolution, bit rate, and frame rate.
Link your live streaming platform–Now that everything is ready to go, you need to connect to your live streaming platform. You can do this by inputting your streaming platform’s streaming key and URL to your encoder. Your encoder will then know where to broadcast the video and audio that you capture.
Confirm you have stable internet–You don’t want to get everything in order just for a poor internet connection to interrupt you. Live streaming requires fast internet and a much larger bandwidth to upload data without interruptions. Be sure to test your internet before starting your live event.
Fire it up. Click start streaming on your encoder to get everything up and running. It’s okay if you don’t get the hang of it for the first time. Just practice till everything is perfect. You’ll start live streaming like a pro in no time.
Professional tips for live streaming
You need to put some thought into your live stream, just as you would in a physical event. Think about the set, speakers, lighting, and schedule you choose if you wish to have a successful event. Know who you are targeting and how to rope them in your event. Just ensure that all your plans align with your goal, and you’ll have a fantastic event.
Selecting a great platform that fits your needs will also determine whether your live stream will be successful or not. You can decide to broadcast your event through the different social media platforms, or you could take it a notch higher by using a professional live streaming platform. For example, YouTube Live is one of the most popular video streaming sites that people use. It has social-media like functionality, you can easily share or embed videos, and access much more people. A professional live streaming platform, on the other hand, offers more security & privacy options, monetization options, and allows you to customize your streaming experience with API. You are also less likely to be blocked if you use a professional live streaming platform unlike Youtube, which many educational and business institutions block.
Promoting your live event is also essential. It would be best if you let the word out that you will have a live stream hours before your event starts. Setting up a landing page is often a great way to get guests on your live stream event. This will help you get their contact information that you can later use to email them on the day of your event, even if it is a private live stream.
Work with professionals for the perfect live stream event.
It can be challenging to plan for an event while still working on your business. You can always choose to set up an event on your own, but you may end up making costly mistakes on the D-day. Working with professionals is excellent if you want to have the perfect live stream event. We offer a unique, professional live streaming service that will take your events to the next level. Just take the first step and reach out today for a quick consultation.
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