Video link presentations matters
Presenting from a remote location in a live streamed production is fun and in most cases easy. You might face (sic!) a few technical challenges and you must consider some special things. But, if you prepare well and test the connection in advance, the result will most likely be a success!
Some basic on-stage stuff also applies when you’re online. Your visual and oral apperance is equally important. (Advantage online – if you control the camera, who cares about what can not be seen ;)
If you will share presentation slides and other material, make sure they will be readable on small windows. Rehearse and test, well before the event.
Check your internet connection
Internet connection issues include port blocking, bandwidth requirement, and app installation limitations. The simplest way to circumvent these challenges is to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device, e.g. your private laptop, smartphone, or tablet) and connect directly to the public internet. Test before the event with your normal equipment and connection. If that works, fine. If not, discuss with your IT department and the live stream producer.
A decent video link typically requires a bandwith of at least 2 mpbs, both up and down. Less might work, more is sometimes necessary. We recommend testing your internet speed with Speedtest.net. Make sure to manually select a server that is close to where the live stream is produced. For example, our studio is in Stockholm close to Sunet’s server.
Use a headset
For video, audio is actually more important than the visual elements. We can endure a grainy video that perhaps stutters a little. But if the audio is noisy, cracks, or disappears, you will probably be dumped – or at least asked to fix.
The best way to guard yourself from audio problems is to use a headset, and to be in a quiet room/place. In-ear headsets, like those for mobile phones, are typically very good if you stay away from the cheapest ones. Black cables are more discrete than white ones. A wireless headset may work, just make sure you have enough battery left for the whole meeting. AirPods and earbuds reeeally need a quiet room, as they are relatively more sensitive to background noise.
Know your settings
The ambition here is not to give courses in how to use different video services. With few exceptions they all provide excellent help files and video instructions. Make sure to learn what you need, in particular when it comes to setting up your camera, speaker, and microphone. Do this before you test, and definitely before you will go live.
Some browser based services, like vMix Call, are perhaps a little bit tricky when it comes to selecting the right camera and microphone. Here are some useful links for:
- Chrome: in English and Swedish
- Firefox: in English
- Edge: in English (or better, don’t use Edge)
- Internet Explorer, don’t use
Note! After making these changes you probably need to dis/re-connect to the video server (e.g. reload the web page).
A good position
These are general instructions. The live stream producer might ask you to do it differently in order to fit in well with other aesthetic considerations.
Here we are assuming a wide screen production (16:9). If you are using a smartphone, tilt it horisontally otherwise there will be ugly borders on the sides.
Keep your face in the vertical middle, with your eyes about one third below the top of your camera view. In some cases the producer might want to crop the sides in order to combine your camera with a those from other participants. Make sure that those areas do not contain any important stuff (such as your face, or logos on your clothes ;)
Choose a neutral background and check that your face is well lit. Also, make sure that there are no secret or private stuff visible.
The bad (and ugly)
Hopefully you can figure out yourself what’s wrong with this one. If not, here are a few things.
There is a window with bright light coming in from behind. That makes it hard for the camera to balance the light on your face. Furthermore, what’s happening outside will get the viewer’s attention – instead of listening to you.
The camera is positioned too low, so from the viewers perspective you will look down on them. Perhaps good if you want to appear to be superiour to the poor audience, but seldom appreciated by most people.
And by the way, what kind of interesting stuff to the left and the right. Here is the risk that the viewers will start to ponder about those items, again loosing attention.
Finer details for geeks (or if you run into trouble)
There are many video meeting/conference services available on the internet. These include Skype, Teams, Zoom, StarLeaf, Adobe Connect, Facetime, WhatsApp, and various WebRTC solutions. For a live streamed event, which one to use will most likely be determined by the producer.
For security reasons corporate networks (ranging from private enterprises to government agencies) use firewalls (compare thick brick walls) to prohibit unwanted internet traffic. These firewalls control which ports (bricks removed on purpose) may be used for different internet services.
In order to maintain internet security employees working from locations outside the corporate office/s are often forced to use a VPN-connection (secure tunnel into inside the firewall). This is all and well for all the employees when it comes to internal video communications. But problems may arise when they need to have video meetings with people outside their own organization. For example with us when we are producing a live streamed event.
Different video conferencing services need different ports to be open in the firewall. Typically a corporation decides which video conferencing service/s its organization’s members may use (e.g. Zoom). This implies that only the apps required for that particular service are pre-installed in the employees devices, and that the necessary ports are opened in the firewall. All this is managed by the IT department. Consequently the employee may not be able to install/use other services (e.g. Teams).
If installing an app is impossible, many services offer a browser based alternative. But that might not help if the firewall still is in the way, or IT-folks have turned off the use of any kind of camera devices.